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Kids With ADHD May Not Need Anti Psychotic Drugs


pills adhd kids drug treatments Children who are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and show acts of aggression are often put on anti-psychotic drugs in addition to stimulant medications. A recent study, done at the New York’s Stony Brook University School of Medicine, indicates that aggressive behavior can be minimized or eliminated completely by careful tweaking of stimulant medication.


Why Kids With ADHD Aggression are Treated With Anti-Psychotic Medications


Second generation anti-psychotic drugs, also known as atypical anti-psychotic drugs, are often prescribed to treat aggression in individuals. The Vancouver Sun states that approximately 6,000 youth in British Columbia are on anti-psychotic drugs.

Atypical anti-psychotic drugs can be used to treat patients suffering from mood disorders, attention deficit, aggression, developmental delays, autism, bipolar disorder and early schizophrenia.

Atypical anti-psychotic drugs include:

  • risperidone (Risperdal)
  • quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • clozapine (Clozaril)
  • ziprasidone (Geodon)
  • aripirazole (Abilify)
  • paliperidone (Invega)

Anti-Psychotic Medications Used to Treat ADHD Aggression Has Side Effects


As with all prescription drugs, side effects are possible when taking anti-psychotic drugs to treat aggression. Some of the side effects may be an inconvenience to the child and will pass within a couple of days, while others may be more serious and have the potential to pose serious health risks.

Some side effects of anti-psychotic drugs are:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • vision problems
  • increased heart rate
  • sun sensitivity
  • skin rash
  • menstrual problems for women
  • weight gain and metabolism changes (which can lead to diabetes and high cholesterol)
  • rigidity
  • muscle spasms
  • tremors
  • restlessness

Treating ADHD Kids’ Aggression with Stimulant Medications


Lead author Joseph C. Blader, an assistant at New York’s Stony Brook University School of Medicine, indicates use of anti-psychotic medications to treat aggression in ADHD children may be avoidable in many cases.

The recent study, published in the October edition of Pediatrics involved 65 children between the ages of six and 13 years of age who all had ADHD and severe aggressive behavior. The kids were all started on the stimulant drug Concerta (a long lasting form of Ritalin) and the dosage was tweaked until the child’s symptoms were well controlled. Children and parents attended weekly therapy and learned how to control behaviors and establish a “rewards based” system. At the end of five weeks, 32 of the children showed a strong reduction in their aggressive behavior.

Each child responds to medications differently and not all children with ADHD aggression will be able to control their symptoms with stimulant medication only. Study research now indicates that many children may be able to be treated for their ADHD aggression without using anti-psychotic drugs that may have serious side effects and health risks.

Further Reading:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Natural Remedies

ADHD and ADD: Misdiagnosis and Uncertainties

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

References:

The Vancouver Sun. “ Children on antipsychotic drugs more prone to diabetes: Canadian study ” (accessed September 17, 2010)

U.S News Health. “AggressiveKids with ADHD May Not Need Antipsychotic Meds” (accessed September 17, 2010)

National Institute of Mental Health. “Mental Health Medications” (accessed September 17, 2010)

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