Running Head: Overmedication of Foster Children

The Overmedication of Foster Children in America

Alexandria Martinez

University of Texas at San Antonio

but instead they are silenced with strong drugs that could possibly cause long term effects in most adults. Many of the listed medications were for ADHD which is one of the most diagnosed mental illnesses in America.Overmedication of Foster Children 2 Summary Many children that are in foster care are being given medication for supposed behavior problems without a follow up. they instead went with a drastic disorder that can only be diagnosed on a fully developed brain. found help a different way. One of the doctors interviewed admitted to diagnosing a child as young as 3 years old with a disorder that can only be diagnosed on a brain that is fully developed. Many of the children shown were suffering from minor problems that could be helped with something as simple as on-going counseling. Some of the children that were interviewed were prescribed medications that cause negative effects in a brain that is fully developed and these children’s brains are still developing. The documentary exposed how the state doesn’t give these children a real chance to thrive. Some of the doctors didn’t even observe the children long enough to see if their problems might stem from something else. This documentary shows just how many pills some of the children are being prescribed. Many of these children are traumatized and needed some tender loving care. or second thought to the side effects that come from psychotropics on their developing brains. so the some of the effects caused the children to be extremely unstable. . and were doing better than when they were on prescribed psychotropics. A few of the kids stopped taking their medications. They covered the problems that are abundant in our foster care system and the need to change how it is currently being run. but they instead opt to over medicate and shut down any active behavior instead of trying to work to heal these children.

(Karnik. Per Lisa Hutchinson. Moving from placement to placement can often leave these children broken and feeling worthless or unwanted. 2013). Karnik reports.000 children in foster care at any given time in the United States. inpatient care. 2013). Taking such strong medication can often lead to problems getting worse because of the sudden change in brain chemistry and the fact that the children’s brains are still developing. just how common is it for children in foster care to become the target of a doctor who’d rather prescribe drugs than counselling? Research in the state of Washington shows that children in foster care are 10 times more likely to be given psychotropics than other children on public assistance (Karnik. and long term thinking skills. This is a very serious problem. There needs to be a . “there are approximately 400. actions. but not many people are aware of just how bad it really is for some of these kids. or a stable guardian to keep track of the child's mental health changes. 2000). to group homes in a vicious cycle that can leave the child with lifelong issues (Hutchinson.000 children entering and exiting the foster care system each year. feelings. 2000). a Resident in child pediatrics and child psychology. which in turn can have negative impacts on that child’s mental health. Medications like these can have profound effects on moods.Overmedication of Foster Children 3 The Overmedication of Foster children Overmedication in America has been one of the most growing problems in recent times. many of the children diagnosed with a disorder were taking Ritalin(methylphenidate) for ADHD and Tofranil(imipramine) for depression. With so many child in foster care it is clear to see how many of the children fall victim to the Pharmaceutical industry.” (Hutchinson. The problem is significantly worse for children in foster care due to their lack of a stable placement. with 250. Many of the children in foster care are observed constantly bouncing from home. But.

and prescribing something as strong as ADHD medication can potentially make them more unstable. Children’s brains are still developing all through adolescence which means behaviors that are displayed in childhood could potentially go away into adulthood. with hyperactivity. thinking. these stimulants have adverse effects on many developing children’s emotions and thought process. but they are not ADHD. and are already so broken and overwhelmed. The increase of dopamine production can make a world of difference to someone who has problems with dopamine production. or their chances of finding a family to call their own. but an individual who does not have a dopamine production problem can experience effects similar to the drug Speed. with unstable emotions bursting out. can greatly help an individual lead a semi-normal life. and working memory. When prescribing psychotropics like amphetamine salts doctors should be sure that the child is displaying characteristics of ADHD. because often there are other problems that mirror ADHD symptoms. and other similar symptoms. they can suffer from all kinds of negative changes to their emotions. TBI. Anxiety is a possible cause for a child in foster care to act-out. Anxiety is one of the main problems that mirrors ADHD. This means that children who are given stimulants for hyperactivity are going to have even more hyperactivity. Stimulants when taken by people with ADHD. mood swings. who already have so much going on at a young age.Overmedication of Foster Children 4 change implemented to our foster care system that benefits these children. If the child is prescribed a stimulant. and even sometimes Alzheimer’s disease. The children who are given medication that harm them more than help them are . For doctors to get an accurate diagnosis they need to observe the child not only a few times. but over an extended period to be positive that the diagnosed child isn’t given a medication that would negatively impact them. inability to focus. Many ADHD medications prescribed are often stimulants.

The doctors who are causing these problems are not feeling any of the negative effects like the mood swings. but there is hope that the medical home model can provide a way to begin making the care we provide more effective. if not. “We have failed for generations to adequately care for the needs of children in foster care. but their behavior is often too much for some families to handle so the children are turned back over to state care with an even slimmer chance of being adopted out. angry outbursts. More time and care needs to be given to the children in foster care. these children are suffering immensely. Lisa Hutchinson sums up how society has handled this problem and how the future can change. more than any child should ever have to suffer. Something needs to change within our society.” (Hutchinson. we must take care of the ones who cannot take care of themselves our children. There needs to be strict guidelines put on doctors in regards to them prescribing such strong medication so freely. For a society to truly thrive. they may also grow up with low self-esteem due to no family wanting to adopt them. These children may grow up suffering from severe mental disorders due to the overabundance of medications. 2013). violent behavior. .Overmedication of Foster Children 5 the ones who suffer all around. because not only is there brain changing which they don’t understand why. then some of the children are doomed to remain victims of our broken society. or the loss of a family. which comes with even more problems.

L. 199-214. Brown University Child & Adolescent Behavior Letter. Karnik. 21(4). (2013). 8. Journal Of Medical Humanities. N. S. and Institutional Power. (2000). 29(11). .Overmedication of Foster Children 6 References Hutchison. Foster Children and ADHD: Anger. Addressing the mental health needs of children in foster care: The medical home model. Violence.