Posted by Deborah Pujoue on November 11, 2011
It’s ironic that a prescription medication known to cause birth defects would be recommended as a treatment for children that have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), yet a new study suggests just that.
This is significant, since according to a recent study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, 1 in every 100 children has OCD. With kids, the condition is characterized by the same traits and behavioral patterns that are displayed in adults. Kids with OCD experience anxiety and a sense of impending dread when they don’t repeat a pattern of behavior, such as hand washing.
While it has been suggested that the medication alone may help treat children with OCD, John Piacentini, head of the Child OCD, Anxiety and Tic Disorders Program at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, says, “Most kids on medication still have symptoms. If you try medications and you don’t get the benefits you would like, if you can find quality (cognitive behavioral therapy) it should make a big difference.”
This study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and was conducted with researchers collecting data from three groups of kids. The first group consisted of kids who only took antidepressants, the second group was with kids taking a one-hour-long CBT session each week as well as antidepressants and the third group only had the therapy. After three months, the medical check-ins show that the kids who attended therapy did better than those that didn’t. In fact, 70 percent of those children’s OCD symptoms improved.
The clear recommendation here, doctors believe, is for children with OCD to use both therapy and antidepressants like Zoloft, Lexapro and Paxil to treat their condition. Knowing how dangerous SSRI medications are, I am not so sure that I agree. Medications like Zoloft, Paxil and Lexapro have been linked with severe adverse side effects including birth defects (cleft palate, and lung, brain and heart defects), aggressive behavior and suicidal thoughts and behavior. These medications are also highly addictive, and starting a young child on such medications could have serious side effects later on in their lives if they decide to have children or be weaned off the medication.