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Poorer Children More Likely To Get Antipsychotics 334

krou writes "A new study by a team from Rutgers and Columbia has discovered that poorer children are more likely to be given powerful antipsychotic drugs. According to the NY Times (login required), 'children covered by Medicaid are given powerful antipsychotic medicines at a rate four times higher than children whose parents have private insurance. And the Medicaid children are more likely to receive the drugs for less severe conditions than their middle-class counterparts.' It raises the question: 'Do too many children from poor families receive powerful psychiatric drugs not because they actually need them — but because it is deemed the most efficient and cost-effective way to control problems that may be handled much differently for middle-class children?' Two possible explanations are offered: 'insurance reimbursements, as Medicaid often pays much less for counseling and therapy than private insurers do,' and because of 'the challenges that families in poverty may have in consistently attending counseling or therapy sessions, even when such help is available.' The study is due to be published next year in the journal Health Affairs." The full article is available behind a paywall from the first link. The lead author of the study said he "did not have clear evidence to form an opinion on whether or not children on Medicaid were being overtreated."
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Poorer Children More Likely To Get Antipsychotics

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  • by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Sunday December 13, 2009 @07:15PM (#30426038) Homepage Journal
    That's B.S. Opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines* are where the money's at. Recreational abusers usually get their pills from their parents or from friends (I knew a healthcare worker who even took cuts from her patients' prescriptions) if not their own prescriptions -- as in, they sprained their ankle 2 years ago and still need meds for it ;)

    *Can't get behind the paywall to determine if benzos were considered to be antipsychotics
  • Re:Perhaps (Score:5, Informative)

    by krou ( 1027572 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @07:29PM (#30426138)

    Just because mental illnesses may be more common amongst poorer people doesn't explain why they are more likely to be given drugs. Please also note the line that says "Medicaid children are more likely to receive the drugs for less severe conditions than their middle-class counterparts". If they're less severe in nature, then why the drugs?

  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @07:32PM (#30426160)

    The article is actually normalized for one of your claimed possible confounds, the variance of psychological problems by socioeconomic position. The finding isn't just that the poor get more antipsychotics full stop, but that the poor with the same diagnosis as a wealthy person are more likely to be treated with antipsychotics for that condition.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2009 @07:34PM (#30426182)

    If you have firefox, download the RefControl extension. Set it so that all pages from have a referrer of [] and suddenly you don't need to log in. I suppose you could also enter the URL into google and then click the result.

    Personally, I hate the referrer and disable it for sites not absolutely requiring it. Sites absolutely requiring it get spoofs.

  • Re:Parent pushback (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @07:35PM (#30426194)

    The study found an effect even among poor v. wealthy children with the same diagnosis, though, which none of 1/2/3 could explain. 1/2/3 could plausibly lead to more psychotic diagnoses among poor children, but not to more prescription of drugs within the same diagnosis.

  • by Ironsides ( 739422 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @08:20PM (#30426412) Homepage Journal
    Medicair/Medicaid is the public healthcare insurance, not the private healthcare insurance. This data would seem to support the removal of the government run insurance plan and its replacement with a private plan.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2009 @08:26PM (#30426466)

    "Poor = Conspiracy of the rich"

    Except this one has abundant evidence. Government's are paid off by business to sit on their hands and not do anything their people request (disability, raise the minimum wage, etc).

    Then there was the Bailout. Socialism for the rich, market discipline for everyone else. I could cite numerous other instances, oh like workers being killed by coca cola? Not to mention workers WERE being killed here in north america all the way up into the 1930's, your middle-class life came from a concerted effort of the working class against the rich. Ever wonder why we call it the 8 hour day? []

    What's even scarier is most peoples total lack of knowledge about business history.

  • Re:Dumbass (Score:5, Informative)

    by icannotthinkofaname ( 1480543 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @08:34PM (#30426520) Journal

    No duh GGP was based more on Karl Marx than the Acts of the Apostles. But I need to know: Did you actually go and check Acts 2:44-45 before you told GP to check his sources?

    New American Bible, Saint Joseph Edition, from around 2003 or so, Acts 2:44-45 -

    All who believed were together and had all things in common, they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one's need.

    Marx was a philosopher, as we all know, so why shouldn't he have read up on his early Christianity? Acts 2:44-45 came before Marx, and Marx should have known his Christian stuff as a philosopher, and all this I would call evidence, though not proof, that Marx could have has his line inspired by the Acts verses.

  • Re:Dumbass (Score:4, Informative)

    by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @09:05PM (#30426726)
    and Marx got it from Mosses Hess, who taught both Marx and Engles, and who actually came up with most of the ideas and slogans that were later attributed to Marx. Of course, he didn't exist in a vacuum either.
  • Re:Brave New World (Score:4, Informative)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @09:11PM (#30426756) Homepage Journal

    Lets not forget the irreversible damage to the brain and pancreas and the only somewhat reversible damage to the liver and the nearly inevitable weight gain (and the problems that presents).

  • by macraig ( 621737 ) <> on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:03PM (#30427170)

    Are you a Scientologist? That sounded a bit like a CoS screed. I'm not a believer in TALK therapy, either, but I guess you've never heard of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)? That is classed as "therapy" too, but it appears to be effective for the people who need it.

  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:13PM (#30427236) Homepage Journal

    He's 15 now. He's still medicated. It'll probably be for life, bi-polar disorder runs in his family.


  • emupaul (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_orginal_emupaul ( 1699686 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:24PM (#30427296)
    I went through a mental psychosis episode after mixing music for a windows 7 party i was preparing to hosting & smoking some super strong weed. I peeked and It looked as though I broke enlightenment my room glowed a bright yellow I - then blacked out a few times and had realistic hallucinations even thought a Jay'z and Kayne was having a party out side my door, I told my dad I found jesus and I had him by the balls (was holding two silver zen balls) then eventually woke up on my bed to find my mom sitting on my coach with a bible in her hand. Anyway my mom and dad where very concerned I guess and for some reason or another they took me to the local hospital (Swedish American) then after-wards a cop drove me to the mental institution called H Douglas Singer Mental Health Center (Rockford IL) I was there 9 days but it felt like less I held against my will (its basically a huge prison) Anyway on the day of my release I was prescribed Risperidone 2mil 1in morning 3mil at night for sleep since I have trouble sleeping anyway that drug is not cheap! if your uninsured at walgreens 30pills cost $190. I stopped using cause it was making me feel worse and I was recently prescribed Seroquel 200mg in the morning and 200mg at night it slows my thoughts down so I don't think as fast (racing thoughts that usually focus and 1 2 or 3 words over and over again) anyway I also noticed a minor side effect...I noticed after taking it for a the first week I stopped dreaming it seems I never get to REM. Anyway I really don't know why im sharing this but I read slashdot everyday and never comment and since this was was kind of relevant to some events in my life i thought I would share. There is a lot more to the story I fail to mention only because it would seem to over the top for anyone to believe - "conspiracyish"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:53PM (#30427466)

    Your description of Abilify reads like an advertisement and makes me suspicious of whether you work for the manufacturer. My experience with anti-psychotics is not nearly as glowing. Fortunately, I've never needed to take anti-psychotics, but a family member did. It was a nightmare dealing with someone who was having strange side effects, yet the doctor kept saying they shouldn't be happening. Well they were.

    Any psychiatrist who's being honest with you will admit that prescribing these drugs is at best an educated guess. For some people they work, for others they can go horribly wrong. After these experiences, anti-pyschotics would be my last resort for anyone I cared about. What's more, I wouldn't even consider starting any of these drugs without in-patient hospital observation.

    My last gripe about these drugs is their expense. Around $400 a month for Abilify depending upon the dosage. And usually Abilify is prescribed along with one or more other drugs. Maybe add in some Seroquel plus Wellbutrin and now you're looking at about $600 per month. Plus the cost of counseling and/or in-patient treatment. It's no wonder the US healthcare system is screwed if poor kids are getting prescribed this 4x more than wealthier kids.

  • by barzok ( 26681 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @10:58PM (#30427480)

    Does this also happen with other public health care systems or is this mostly limited to Medicare in the US?

    Don't most public healthcare systems take care of everyone regardless of socioeconomic status?

    With poor patients on Medicare in the US, the physician has an economic incentive to get the patient out the door as quickly as possible. Under an all-encompassing public health care system, there'd be no difference between the poor and middle/upper-class patient.

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Sunday December 13, 2009 @11:56PM (#30427798) Journal

    This data would seem to support the removal of the government run insurance plan and its replacement with a private plan.

    Oh look the sheep has given up on competent government, and is serving himself up to the wolves for lunch in the hope that they'll protect him.

    All private health care is in business for is to take profit. They have have no more interest in providing a service than the government does. Privatization advocates are at best dishonest.

  • by TheMeuge ( 645043 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @12:22AM (#30427938)

    Wait a minute. Autism is not the result of parenting.

    I never claimed it was. But it's always easier to blame someone than to realize that a random recombination of your genetics may have resulted in an autistic child.

    Why do you frame this in the need to blame someone, anyway?

    That's the way most people see the world. It avoids having to take responsibility.

  • by ajlisows ( 768780 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:00AM (#30428376)

    I hate to admit it, but I know way too many people who buy and sell prescription drugs. That said, here is what I have seen as typical prices for various drugs. 30mg Adderal - $7-$8 each. 10mg Hydrocodone - $5-6 each. 1mg Xanax/10mg Valium/other Benzodiazepine equivalent - $1 each. Of course, your 80mg Oxycontin can probably score you $20-$60 each but those are a little harder to get a hold of. Basically, on a per tablet basis ADHD drugs have a pretty high street price. Benzos are relatively cheap.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:14AM (#30428424)
    Firstly, AFAIK correlation can NEVER show causation mathematically.

    Spoken like a true tobacco exec. Do you believe cigarettes cause cancer? Yes or no? Because they have never been shown to cause cancer mathematically. And to state that like it's an important thing about such studies is to imply the opposite.

    Except there's been ten million studies that examine individual components of the mechanism of how smoking causes cancer which complement the PROSPECTIVE statistical studies regarding the correlation between smoking and cancer.

    There is no "proof" of smoking causing cancer. Not even a little. Never has it been done. It's all correlational. Even the "proof" studies have been things like proof in mice and then correlating past experience with mice vs humans with the expectation that it will hold.

    You sound like the nuts that run around saying "but it's just a theory" as if that disproves it. "It's just a correlation, so not only is it necessarily wrong, but anyone that thinks a correlation is evidence is wrong as well."
  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Monday December 14, 2009 @03:45AM (#30428734) Homepage Journal

    I'm sorry, but medication does nothing for mental illness.

    Either you're drinking the Tom Cruise Kool-Aid or you've never known anyone who has taken psych meds. I have witnessed, first hand, how someone can be helped with medication.


  • RTFFAQ (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 14, 2009 @03:47AM (#30428746)
  • Re:Dumbass (Score:2, Informative)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Monday December 14, 2009 @12:56PM (#30432552) Homepage Journal

    KJV: "And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need."

    Not exactly the same; MY public domain bible doesn't say what your copyrighted bible says. I wouldn't trust a bible with a copyright any more than I'd trust a Christian preacher who wears five thousand dollar suits.

    Luke 18:22-23: "Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich."

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak