WASHINGTON, April 25 (UPI) -- According to a new health study, some 7.5 percent of children ages 6 to 17 are being prescribed psych meds for emotional or behavioral problems.
The study is based on information collected as a part of the National Health Interview Survey, designed and carried out by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
Informed by interviews conducted in 2011 and 2012 with the parents of more than 17,000 children, the new look at America's medicated youth indicates the drugs are apparently working.
"We can't advise parents on what they should do, but I think it's positive that over half of parents reported that medications helped 'a lot,'" said report author LaJeana Howie, a statistical research scientist at NCHS.
Although the study was not able ascertain info on specific diagnoses, it's estimated that a large majority of these prescriptions are meant to treat ADHD symptoms. The study may lend credence to critics who say America's children are over-diagnosed with ADHD -- and subsequently over-prescribed and over-medicated.
While the American Psychiatric Association suggests that just 5 percent of U.S. kids have ADHD, CDC studies shown that more than 11 percent of American schoolchildren are now diagnosed with the behavioral condition.
“Over the past two decades, the use of medication to treat mental health problems has increased substantially among all school-aged children and in most subgroups of children,” report authors explained.
The study also found that children from poorer families were more likely to be medicated than more well-to-do children, and that boys are more frequently prescribed psych meds than girls.