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One in 13 U.S. Schoolkids Take Psych Meds

More than half of parents say the drugs are helpful

One in 13 U.S. Schoolkids Take Psych Meds

FRIDAY, April 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- More than 7 percent of American schoolchildren are taking at least one medication for emotional or behavioral difficulties, and more than half of the parents said the drugs are helping their children, according to an April data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

Data for the study came from the National Health Interview Survey, which continually collects information about health and health care in the United States. All of the information on children is obtained through parental (or other guardian) responses. None of the information comes from medical records.

Overall, the researchers found that 7.5 percent of U.S. children between the ages of 6 and 17 were taking medication for an emotional or behavioral problem. Significantly more boys than girls were given medication -- 9.7 percent of boys compared with 5.2 percent of girls. Older females were more likely than younger females to be given medication, but the age difference among males wasn't significant. White children were the most likely to be on psychiatric medications (9.2 percent), followed by black children (7.4 percent) and Hispanic children (4.5 percent).

In addition, the authors found that 55 percent of parents reported that these medications helped their children "a lot," while another 26 percent said they helped "some." Just under 19 percent said they didn't help at all or helped just a little. Parents of younger children (between 6 and 11) were slightly more likely to feel the medications helped a lot compared to parents of older children. Parents of males were also more likely to feel the medications helped a lot -- about 58 percent of parents of males reported that they helped a lot compared to about 50 percent of the parents of females.

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