Psychotropic Medications in Adolescents
When children and adolescents experience negative symptoms associated with mental or emotional disturbances, psychotropic medications can be seen as a valid course of treatment. While this is true for some diagnoses, it is important to remember that these medications should only be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. The medication itself does not alleviate the problematic symptoms associated with the diagnoses; the medication removes the obstacles in place that can keep the symptoms from being correctly identified and addressed. When used as part of a well-developed, inclusive treatment protocol, and when prescribed after a thorough and exhaustive evaluation of the child’s psychosocial health, psychotropic medications can be a valuable tool to improve the child’s quality of life.
When making such a prescription, research is to be done about the child’s diagnosis and the various treatment options available. Then, guidelines as issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should be adhered to, as these are based on ample research and investigation into the efficacy of various chemicals. The benefits and drawbacks of various medications should be considered; the risk for abuse of the medication should also be taken into consideration. By analyzing each of these elements, taking into account the feedback of physicians, clinicians, and parents/guardians, an appropriate prescription can be made. This should be followed by frequent and regular measurements of impact; the manner in which the child’s behavior is impacted by the drug should be recorded to determine if alterations need to be made to the current treatment plan. In doing so, the best options can be identified and implemented and the best results achieved. While some might be reluctant to use psychotropic medications in young people, particularly those who are still undergoing the formative years of childhood and adolescence, they can be used safely and successfully if done correctly.