Example Of Essay On Overmedicating Children

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Children, Family, Medicine, Drugs, Health, Body, Parents, Antibiotics

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2021/01/03

“Sometimes I say the medication is even tougher than the illness.” This quote by Sanya Richards-Ross can serve as an example of the current situation in the USA. One and the same drug, depending on its dose, can show the therapeutic properties and, on the contrary, cause harm to the body, which can often become irreparable. There are therapeutic (healing), toxic (poisonous), and lethal (deadly) dose of medication. The difference between the therapeutic and toxic doses of a number of drugs is very small. Therefore, people should be very careful about the doctor’s instructions and do not take the medication in larger doses or more often than the doctor had appointed. Hence, overmedication becomes quite a conundrum not only for the adult world, but especially for children. Of course, if a medication is used properly, it can improve one’s health, amend quality of life, and even save lives. If someone abuses a medicine, it becomes as dangerous as drugs. Even though many parents got used to treat their children with a big amount of medicaments, overmedication affects children's health because it weakens a child's immunity, influences the general evolution of child and can also be fatal. In addition, overmedication can put a serious health change in the future. In this essay, the two sides of one phenomenon of overmedication will be considered from two different viewpoints.


The new study, funded by the government, shows that American doctors prescribe to their school-age patients too many antibiotics. Their use in the United States is rapidly growing, and now about 80% of American children these take drugs occasionally by their parents’ wish (Harrington 211). Overmedication of children by antibiotics is one of the reasons that their use is becoming less effective, resulting in many infections that are much more difficult to cure. A report published by researchers provides the first detailed overview of the use of these drugs in each of the US states. The highest rates are reported in the northeastern part of North America, in the region of the Appalachian mountain range in the south. This data is very alarming according to the practicing pharmacist professors from the University of Illinois (Chicago). However, there is still no scientific consensus on antibiotics’ overmedication of children. Nevertheless, some experts claim that the concern is not only about an increase in consumption, but also the high percentage of pre- and school age children that can become invalid because of the large amounts of taken drugs. Experts argue (Gulli 42) that long-term use of any medicine, as well as their wrong appointment, reduce the possible chances of recovery, as these shortcomings both of parents and doctors give bacteria the opportunity to survive and adapt in a child’s organism. Currently, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found at least 20 strains of resistant bacteria. One plausible explanation is that the Southerners suffer from infections more than residents of other regions do. The highest rates of obesity and diabetes were recorded in the southern states, and diabetics are generally more susceptible to infections than other people, according to the statements of experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thus, some prescriptions were quite justified. However, this fact affected the parents’ paranoia about the possible disease probability of their children. This “campaign” started a new wave of overmedicated children, which have become victims of their parents’ will to protect them ("Are Children Overmedicated?" 21).
Moreover, during the swine flu pandemic of 2009 and 2010, which had come from the south, there were much more reported cases of the children’s diseases than in other regions of the country. Experts have found that during that time, both swine flu and also pneumonia were raging throughout the kindergartens and schools; in addition, all patients received both antiviral drugs and a variety of antibiotics to prevent all possible complications that lead to death. According to data obtained in a study conducted in 2012 by members of the University of Pittsburgh, the southern part of the United States is characterized by higher rates of the infectious respiratory diseases, including bronchitis, than the others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most commonly prescribed antibiotic is azithromycin, which is commonly used in the treatment of bronchitis. However, the problem lies in the fact that this disease is caused typically by a virus, against which azithromycin is powerless. Therefore, many prescriptions were not justified. Hence, the percentage of the overmedicated children increased dramatically to the historical maximum (Gulli 43).


Another potential danger of overmedication of children is a drug dependence. If children take some medicines in too large doses (in severe cases), or for other purposes, they begin to act like conventional drugs, i.e. they stimulate the pleasure centers in the brain, and a child develops a strong attraction to these substances. But pleasure does not last long; a child does not get real help, and only further can bog down in the problems. Stress and depression become stronger, interfere the normal work of body. Often all of these symptoms occur immediately. Inevitably, there are problems at home and school. Many drugs lose their activity when a child gets used to them. Then in the face of the arising true danger, a child is helpless. The usual drug intake of sedatives and hypnotics may have particularly serious consequences for impetuous children. When used incorrectly, these drugs quickly become ineffective. It is necessary to increase the dose to achieve the effect. These drugs affect the central nervous system of a child, changing mental state; an overdose causes mental disorders, which are the first signs of fatigue, irritability, depressed mood, and memory loss. However, parents, who give their children too much medication, tend to associate these states with different everyday difficulties, fatigue, etc.; and the hard cases of sleep disorders due to an overdose of sleeping pills are often regarded as a consequence of the “weak” effect of the drug on their too “impetuous” child (Harrington 212). And, they continue to increase the dose being a self-righteous, without consulting with a doctor. Abuse of certain sedatives and sleeping drugs can lead to addiction to them, accompanied by dysfunction of the nervous and other body systems. No less dangerous in this respect are the drugs that affect the central nervous stimulant and cardiovascular system, and improve physical and mental activity of a child’s body (for example, children-athletes) - the so-called doping. If the drug is used uncontrollably, without special needs, the addiction arises, requiring higher dosages to achieve the desired effect (Zuger 5). The harm caused to a child’s body by an unjustified use of drugs is huge. One cannot take them without talking to a doctor, “just in case”, or by the advice of random individuals or referring to the successful treatment of acquaintances.


Nowadays, the group of American scientists has found that private or excessive abuse of antibiotics can lead to irreversible disturbance of the balance of intestinal flora in a child’s body, which can cause serious and sometimes incurable diseases. To the researchers include obesity, diabetes of the first type, gut inflammation, asthma, and various kinds of allergic reactions into the list of diseases that can be indirectly triggered by the influence of overmedication. Each new tablet can literally disturb irreversibly the microbial flora in gut - the amount and composition of the bacteria in the digestive system can no longer return to the previous level ever after such instant drug take (Tanner 107). Overmedication of antibiotics is particular dangerous for children. A young body cannot cope with such a strong influence of medication; that is why the consequences can be disastrous. In addition, according to scientists, the present-day level of children’s abuse of antibiotics, the future generations may be born with lower baseline intestinal microflora. And what is surprising that antibiotics stay in the body of a child until their old age. This gives reason to think of the possible negative consequences for the future generations.


In spite of a large number of children’s specialists who insist, that children should not be stuffed with antidepressants and tranquilizers, there are those who are in favor of the fact that children would be subjected to medical treatment. To date, the parents and psychiatrists are blamed because of the problem of overmedication of children, and as half of children with a particular disease being treated with different drugs. Them what is the right way to treat the problem of children’s diseases? At a certain stage of development, a child's body is able to withstand even the most severe chemical stress, and therefore the use of various medications in the treatment brings to a child more good than harm. Some diseases (e.g. mental disorders) are not amenable to traditional treatments, and eventually give complications in a child’s body as a whole, negatively affecting his life. Every year, deteriorating environmental conditions and has a negative impact on a child’s immune system (Tanner 106). This leads to the fact that a child cannot always cope with illnesses that arise because of exhaustion. Especially they cannot do without medicines in an urban environment, where living conditions require a lot of energy. Based on the statistics for the NIH in 2014, every fourth child at a certain stage of his/her development has ADHD. From neurological point of view, ADHD is considered as proof and chronic syndrome for which a cure is not found. It is believed that children ‘outgrow’ this syndrome, or adapt to it in adulthood. Many parents believe the syndrome is a very serious problem, and when the family psychologist, therapist is unable to remedy the situation, they resort to drug treatments: antidepressants, psychostimulants.


Nowadays, the case of overmedicated children is the urgent problem of our society. It is impossible to disregard this important question, because it definitely leads to much more serious consequences for children, their health and our future generation. In general, the right to use prescription drugs means to follow doctor’s orders, familiar with your medical history. It is also important to take them according to their prescriptions, to comply with dosage and time of receipt in the right way. Even then, there may appear side effects or unintended consequences. In this case, parents must immediately consult a doctor and not to try to overcome a problem themselves. It especially applies to medicines of the OTC group.

Works cited

"Are Children Overmedicated?" American Journal Of Nursing 103.4 (2003): 21. 
Gulli, Cathy. “Overmedicated Children: Ill Or Immature?” Maclean's 125.21 (2012): 42-44. 
Harrington, John W. “Are We Overmedicating Our Children?” Pediatrics 122.1 (2008): 211-
Tanner, Jane. “Are Children Being Overmedicated?” CQ Researcher 14.5 (2004): 106-107. 
Zuger, Abigail. “Doing an About-Face on ‘Overmedicated’ Children.” New York Times 23 Feb.
2010: 5.

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WePapers. (2021, January, 03) Example Of Essay On Overmedicating Children. Retrieved August 13, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-essay-on-overmedicating-children/
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