Little Evidence on Effectiveness or Risks of Antipsychotics in Young People


Evidence-Based Mental Health reviews studies (from 1987 to 2011) of antipsychotics in people under 24 years old, finding weak evidence on comparative effectiveness of antipsychotics or on adverse effects. There was a high risk of bias in 90% of the studies due to industry funding. Little attention was paid to dosages in relation to adverse effects, and the short median study duration (8 weeks) was not long enough to fully assess risks. There were no studies that examined the use of antipsychotics in OCD, PTSD or anorexia nervosa.

Abstract → 


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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Let me tease some research that I think will come out in the next year or so.

    “Adults with serious mental illness whose treatment included psychiatric medications when they were 12 years old or younger die about 45 years earlier than Americans overall.”

    A fiction? Sadly, I think not.

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