Mental health prescriptions for rising Australian children

Despite the known risks of side effects in children and adolescents, and the potential consequences for the body and brain during childhood development, researchers have steadily increased prescribing psychiatric drugs to adolescents by Australian physicians. I found that.

Studies published in Australian and New Zealand Psychiatric Journal We examined prescriptions for more than 500,000 children under the age of 19 used to treat mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorders, mental illness, and sleep disorders.

From 2011 to 2018, prescriptions for melatonin used to treat sleep disorders increased by 600%. Prescriptions for drugs used to treat attention deficit disorder almost doubled, with antipsychotics up 63% and antidepressants up 43%.

The increase was most rapid at ages 10-14.

There is also growing concern that this number could be even higher due to the blockade and anxiety of the pandemic after the Australian Institute of Health discovered the pandemic. Rapid increase By the number of mental health-related drugs dispensed in March 2020 compared to March 2019.

Epoch Times Photo
Prescription of melatonin to children increased by 600 percent. (Jochen Schoenfeld / Shutterstock)

“Many people think melatonin is harmless, but it’s a hormone and there is limited evidence of long-term safety,” said John Juledini, a research leader and professor at the University of Adelaide. He said in the announcement.

“Antipsychotics are associated with weight gain and metabolic problems, including diabetes. And antidepressants are associated with suicidal behavior in particularly vulnerable teens. In the United States, the FDA ( The Australian Department of Metabolism in the United States) has included a strong “black box” warning about this risk for all antidepressants since 2004. “

Julie Clau, lead author and doctoral candidate at the Robinson Institute at the University of Adelaide, has few psychiatric drugs approved for children and teenagers in Australia and is approved for depression. Said not.

according to Research According to Therapeutic Goods Administration, published April 2021, the past five years have not produced further support for the efficacy or safety of antidepressants in children and adolescents.

“But in 2018, we found that one in ten teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 was prescribed antidepressants,” Klau said.

Pediatrician Meg Meeker believes the problem is due to a deeper cause and states that the problem needs to be addressed radically rather than prescribing a drug.

The best we can do for our children is to try to control things in an environment that drives them into depression. You can do this. You can boldly identify what works against them and get rid of them, “Meeker said.

“Do what you can to prevent your child from being emotionally isolated. Gradually reduce your child’s screen time and increase your face-to-face time with your child. Encourage your children to meet their friends directly. Tell them that you need family, friends, and God. Show them how to truly connect with your family. Spend time together on the weekends and talk to your children. Listen to the people. Laugh and play the game with them. “

Jesse Chan


Jessie Zhang is a Sydney-based journalist who reports on Australian news. She holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce and music. Contact her at [email protected]