Expert: U.K. children given too many drugs

Jan. 21, 2011 at 3:48 PM

LONDON, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Children are being prescribed mind-altering drugs for conditions such as shyness and mild social anxiety, U.K. behavior experts warn.

Health and education experts say young people in Britain are routinely being given medication to treat normal childhood conditions despite fears over their long-term health, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

A recent report by Britain's National Health Service says the number of 8- to 13-year-olds on drugs such as Ritalin, used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has increased seven-fold since 1997, the newspaper said.

A senior educational psychologist who works in schools in the West Midlands warned children are increasingly prescribed drugs for "normal" conditions.

"I feel very strongly that the time is right to challenge the growing practice of medicating our children for displaying behaviors and thought processes that until recently would have fallen within the normal range," psychologist Dave Traxson said.

There is growing use of drugs to treat conditions such as shyness, Traxson said.

He called for an urgent review into the use of drugs to treat children in school, noting teachers were often not consulted before doctors prescribed drugs.

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