Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia found that the prescribing of psychotropic medications to Australian children, adolescents and young adults “increased markedly” from 2009 to 2012. In the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry study, they identified that “the dispensing of antidepressants, antipsychotics and ADHD medications showed overall increases of 16.1%, 22.7% and 26.1% respectively.” The most rapid increases were in antidepressant and antipsychotic prescribing to children aged 10-14, and ADHD medication prescribing to those aged 20-24.
The researchers wrote that “concerns exist regarding… the likely overmedication of persons with mild psychological distress, and the increasing use of powerful psychotropic medications in younger populations despite uncertain risk-benefit profiles.”
Longitudinal trends in the dispensing of psychotropic medications in Australia from 2009-2012: Focus on children, adolescents and prescriber specialty. (Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2014 Jun 13. pii: 0004867414538675. [Epub ahead of print])