Well, it looks like Dr. Biederman and colleagues are successful in their desire to make dollars off of kids. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the federal government, has just released a study that shows that mental disorders are the greatest cost for children's health care.
"Child mental disorders cost $9 billion in U.S."
"Mental conditions are the most expensive to treat for kids report shows"
This would be great news, if only I was not painfully aware of the over-diagnosis of mental illnesses in children, and painfully over-aware of the over-prescription of medications versus talk therapy for kids.
We have a good body of evidence indicating that these pills have quite limited efficacy. Contrastingly, we have a good body of evidence indicating that talk therapy is very effective for kids and their mental health problems.
Clinicians can only do so much about this current cultural preference for "treatment." Policies can have a good effect, however.
In Florida, legislators were concerned about the over-diagnosis of antipsychotic drugs to kids. So, they controlled this where they could: kids getting treated under Medicaid. Florida instituted a policy where a physician needed to seek approval before Rxing kids on these heavily promoted under-patent drugs.
Here is a link to TampaBay.com's coverage of these results:
The use of these drugs plummeted 75%.
What happened to all of that enthusiasm from the docs?
Kids, I have news for you: your doctor does not even care enough for you to either
1: avoid prescribing serious drugs
2: go through the additional steps to get that drug approved for you.
The results are in: the docs are prescribing what Biederman and the pharmaceutical companies are pushing, and the docs' commitment is so shallow, they give up very easily.
Multiply Florida by the other 49 states.
How much inappropriate, unethical, harmful use could we cull out of that $9 billion per year?