New study finds teens are not over-medicated

A new study finds that approximately 14 percent of teenagers with mental illness in the United States are treated with medication for the condition, contradicting the popular belief that teens are over-medicated, according to Businessweek.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness says that 4 million U.S. children and adolescents have a serious mental disorder, which affects their ability to function.

“It’s reassuring that the utilization seems to match the needs of these kids,” Benedetto Vitiello, the author of the study. told Businessweek. “This paper does not suggest that there is an excessive use. If anything, it may suggest at times medications are used fairly sparingly and other treatments are used instead of medications.”

He also told Reuters Health, “Most of the adolescents who met the criteria for a condition were not receiving medication, which suggests that they were being treated with something else, maybe psychotherapy, or maybe they were not even treated.

The study, which was sponsored by the National Institute of Health, looked at data from children ages 13 to 18-years old. Researchers found that of the children who had been diagnosed with a mental illness or illnesses, 14.2 percent were treated with medication, including stimulants, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics. According to Reuters, of the population who did not have signs of a mental disorder, 2.5 percent had been prescribed a psychiatric drug.

But the data was from the years of 2001 to 2004, and NIH researchers said that additional studies are needed to make sure that teen use of these medicines has not changed.

For those interested in reading the study, click here.

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