The wider trend to medicate has affected millions of children, according to Medco: 3.6 million American children to age 19 take substances to treat attention deficit disorder; nearly 2 million take antidepressants, and 605,000 take antipsychotics. Even pre-schoolers have been touched. Prescription of stimulants, clonidine (to counter the effects of stimulants) and antidepressants for 2- to 4-year-olds "increased dramatically" during the first half of the 1990s, according to one of the first studies to note the trend in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"There is a concern kids are being mislabeled and mistreated," said a lead author of the Archives study, Dr. Mark Olfson, a psychiatry professor at Columbia University Medical Center. "There's evidence of misdiagnosis in clinical settings."