A group of 48 pediatricians and researchers warn of the strong growth in the diagnosis of attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the use of medication to treat it in children in Quebec.
They call for a collective challenge of parents, teachers, psychologists and doctors who are all involved in the decision-making process to medicate or not a child with behavioral problems.
In his open letter, health specialists regret that the whole society "transforms too easily into a pill to treat all illnesses."
To support the alarm cry, health specialists are based, in particular, on data from the National Institute of Excellence in Health and Social Services (INESSS) that show that prevalence rates of drug use to treat ADHD is much higher in Quebec than in the rest of Canada.
Between 10-12 years of age, 13.97 percent of young people use psychostimulant medications in Quebec. A rate that increases to 14.5 percent between 13 and 17 years. In the rest of the country, the rates for these same age groups are only 5.08% and 4.3%, respectively.
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For the pediatrician Dr. Guy Falardeau, the danger of prescribing any wind is to want to correct the behavior of a child by medication instead of taking the time to look for other causes related to mental health, the emotions of the child. boy or his social environment.
"The child has a behavioral problem, we want to call him an ADHD and give him a medication that is asked why he acts like that," he says, pointing out that anxiety is gaining ground in our society, both in adults and children.
"The danger is that in some cases we treat real ADHD, but in other cases, we mask a mental health problem, insists on who treats many teens who struggle with these problems.
Dr. Falardeau warns that by masking these anxieties or other disorders by a psychostimulant, we are only postponing the moment of the explosion of the problem. And often, it becomes much more difficult to act when mental illness has had time to progress.
"What we want is for children to be properly evaluated. Those who have emotional, emotional and social problems, should solve these problems and not change the child's behavior with drugs," says the pediatrician established in Quebec.
"A school adventure"
The parents who consulted The Canadian Press claimed that childhood medication is primarily a school affair.
As soon as he entered school, Eric's son was not in his place. Soon, the parents had knowledge of the problem and were advised to think about the medication.
"We did not put ourselves under pressure, but we felt that we had to do something," he remembers.
After a few consultations, the diagnosis of ADHD dropped and followed the medication. However, the pill only works during a school day. At night and on weekends, the child does not take medication and works well.
"Of course, you have to adapt, but he moves, he plays sports," explains the father, who questions the fact that children do not spend enough energy at school.
The same story with Claudia, whose daughter was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In the case of his daughter, a small medication under the minimum dose was enough to improve his concentration in the classroom and his qualities jumped.
The young mother, however, is surprised by the ease with which medication can be accessed. She also regrets seeing the school system intimidating children who need to move.
"They are 27 in the class of my daughter's fifth class, including a child that is isolated to the wall," he says, adding that he does not understand how children can be expected to learn. under these conditions.