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Prescription drugs for children skyrocket; integrated healthcare offers solutions.

The number of children who are taking prescription drugs has skyrocketed, and now parents are seeking treatment options for their kids that don’t involve medications. HEALTH ATLAST has created a new type of practice model focused on effectively treating every member of the family while avoiding unnecessary prescription medications.

As more attention is paid to the rates at which American adults consume prescription medications, focus is also turning to medication use in people 18 years old or younger. Up to 23.5 percent of all children under age 18 take at least one prescription medication each month,1 including opioids, antidepressants, and other psychotropic medications.

Parents dealing with children acting out, yelling, screaming, failing in school or causing trouble in school, withdrawn and even sometimes anxious, depressed, or hurting themselves are needing solutions. Visiting the doctor often results in “mild” anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, ADD, or ADHD meds in hopes to help the situation. The observed behaviors are real but the medication solutions may not be the best.

Most parents are unaware of limited drug trials on children and that there are no or few drug trials on multiple medications. When asked, parents don’t know that ADD/ADHD medications are similar chemically to amphetamines with similar results that amphetamines cause on the body like heart problems or system stress.

Though anti-depressants are prescribed to help with depression few parents are told or made aware that the anti-depressants can actually worsen depression and cause suicidal tendencies.

As more parents seek treatment alternatives that do not involve the use of medications, integrated healthcare facilities such as HEALTH ATLAST stand ready to help families heal while avoiding drugs as much as possible.

As the number of children taking prescription medications grows, eight percent of teens report abusing prescription opioids previously prescribed to them by their doctors.2 In addition to increased rates of opioid abuse among America’s youth, there has been a five-fold increase in the number of children prescribed psychostimulant medications, along with a six-fold increase in the number of antipsychotic medications prescribed.3 Due to higher rates of prescription medication use, the number of children who die from drug overdose has more than doubled over the past 10 years.4

Stephanie Higashi, founder of HEALTH ATLAST says, “We have a serious problem in America, with our youth being so heavily medicated. Currently, there isn’t enough research to determine the long-term effects of having our children on so many drugs, not to mention the heartbreaking number of children who accidently overdose on these prescriptions. We have to address our kids’ medical problems in safer, drug-free ways that don’t just mask symptoms, but actually target and fix the problems causing those symptoms.”

Many medications are being fast tracked and used in the population without sufficient research and proper safety validation.  The actual effects aren’t usually seen until the drugs have been used for longer time periods than most trials and later large class action lawsuits show up.

Higashi’s message to parents is: “Listen to the TV ad list of side effects and don’t get distracted by the pretty music and pictures playing while they are being listed. Do not get tricked into thinking 'new medication' means better. Protect your babies when you are told the side effects are slight or very unlikely. It becomes your whole world when your child is the one that experiences the side effects that may occur. Side effects wouldn’t be listed if they didn’t occur. Therefore, search high and low and find and try other solutions other than medications as the first solution for your kids.”

The answer to effective treatment for many children lies in alternative treatments such as pediatric nutrition, exercise, chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, social interactions, and the good old advise of playing with friends outside. Many parents have already discovered the benefits of regular chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, nutritional treatments for their children from professionals specially trained in caring for this unique patient population. Children and their families see improvements in musculoskeletal injuries, sleep issues, and behavioral problems—even infants and toddlers can benefit from such therapies, with many having fewer problems with issues like colic or nursing dysfunction.5

Acupuncture has also been shown to be an effective therapy for issues regularly experienced by children, such as headaches, stomachaches, back pain, and depression. Many children who receive acupuncture treatments at integrated healthcare facilities like HEALTH ATLAST report significantly less pain after treatment.6

Sources:
  1. Health, United States 2015: With Special Feature on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf#079
  2. Most U.S. teens who abuse opioids started with a prescription. Digital Journal. http://www.digitaljournal.com/life/health/most-usa-teens-who-abuse-opioids-started-with-a-prescription/article/488360#ixzz4cv2I6ids
  3. Post by Former NIHM Director Thomas Insel: Are Children Overmedicated? National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2014/are-children-overmedicated.shtml
  4. Drug Overdose Rates Soaring Among U.S. Youth. U.S. News & World Report. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2015/11/19/drug-overdose-rates-soaring-among-us-youth
  5. Safety and Effectiveness of Pediatric Chiropractic. American Chiropractic Association. https://www.acatoday.org/News-Publications/ACA-News-Archive/ArtMID/5721/ArticleID/165/Safety-and-Effectiveness-of-Pediatric-Chiropractic
  6. The Benefits of Acupuncture for Children. Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. http://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2015/01/21/benefits-acupuncture-children

(Source: PR Web)

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