Children and Medicine

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Therapy or Prescription February 6, 2011

Filed under: Miranda — macasey7 @ 9:35 pm

With adolescent medicine comes the controversy of how to treat children and teens. The issue is whether or not to treat them with medication or with therapy. In an article from The New York Times, Satel reviews the different methods that the United States takes compared to Britain when it comes to adolescent depression. The U.S. are more likely to prescribe medicine than Britain. They take more of a therapy treatment first before prescribing medicine (Satel, par. 5). The New York Times states that, “American doctors are five times as likely as British doctors to prescribe antidepressants to children” (Satel, par. 5). The reason for this is because Britain believes that the risk of self-harm and suicidal thoughts is too high. The article also talks about how the patients in the U.S. have more opportunities and ways to get the medicine they want than patients in Britain. The way Britain’s health system is set up doesn’t allow patients to order and/or choose their medicine (Satel, par. 15-16). I believe that Britain has a better approach to treating their patients because while antidepressants have shown some evidence of improving symptoms in patients, they are not proven to completely make a difference. I think that  having sessions with a therapist to find the root problem of what is causing depression in adolescents would be more beneficial to the patients. This method would allow there to be communication and to fix the problems without prescribing medication that could have even worse side-effects. Dr. David Healy, a psychiatrist, said that, “Britain are more skeptical of advances in general” (qted in The New York Times, par. 11). The article states that Britain is much slower to start using new medications and technology like CAT scans and MRI’s. Their reasoning behind this is because they want to make sure that it will not harm their patients; they want to make sure that the products are sufficient and really make a difference (Satel). I personally think that the U.S. prescribes medication too soon and should have more sessions with their patients before giving them medicine, especially if there are chances of suicide. It is important to remember that adolescents are different from adults and have not fully developed yet, therefore there should be caution when prescribing them medicine. This is why a separate branch dedicated to adolescents is so important.


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