An autism diagnosis can throw parents into a state of panic. They do not know how to proceed, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to ease things for their child.
In Wales, children are currently being treated with psychiatric medication to help them with their autism, and the numbers are steadily rising. These numbers do not reflect the total amount of children being treated with psychiatric medication throughout Wales because several health boards in the country refused to submit their personal numbers.
According to reports published on WalesOnline.co.uk, “three of Wales’ seven local health boards, including Cwm Taf, Cardiff and Vale and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg, are now treating around 3,000 children [with autism] with the drugs and the numbers are rising.”
The drugs being used to treat children with autism are wide ranging. They include anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, and anti-anxiety medications. Some of the drugs being used are: Risperidone, Prozac, Melatonin, Ritalin, and Strattera.
Parents and professionals are having immediate concerns over what the side effects could do to the children, and parents who are turning to drugs to get answers over working with their children.
The psychiatric medication being prescribed to these children is known to have side effects such as: heart disease, strokes, diabetes, depression, liver problems, and slowed growth.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has stated their official opinion. They advocate that the initial steps taken during the intervention process should be parental support, and not drugs.
Judy Hutchings, who is a professor in psychology at Bangor University, has reinforced NICE’s message, stating: “Parents struggling to cope and overstretched community adolescent mental health teams are increasingly opting for the quick fix of drugs. I’m reluctant to comment about the numbers though they do personally concern me. If you’ve got a challenging child obviously you want to find a solution for that child.”