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Apr 25, 2014 04:32 PM EDT

More Than 7 Percent Of Schoolchildren Take Medication For Emotional, Behavioral Disorders


About one in 13 American schoolchildren are taking at least one medication for emotional or behavioral disorders, according to a new government report.

More than more than half of the parents of these children said the drugs used are helping their kids, HealthDay reported.

"We can't advise parents on what they should do, but I think it's positive that over half of parents reported that medications helped 'a lot,' " report author LaJeana Howie, a statistical research scientist at the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, said in a press release.

Howie and her colleagues said more than 80 percent of the children with emotional   behavioral difficulties were diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at some point in their lives. However, they were not able to identify the specific disorders the children were being treated for.

An expert not involved with the report said ADHD likely would be one of the most common conditions involved.

 "Although the authors don't really talk about the diagnoses, ADHD is likely the most overwhelming diagnosis. Oppositional defiant disorder, anxiety and depression are other likely diagnoses," Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, in New Hyde Park, said in the press release.

The findings were based on data from a study conducted by National Health Interview Survey that continually collects information about health and health care in the United States. The information on children was obtained through parental or other guardian response, HealthDay reported.

"It's encouraging that children who are identified as taking prescription medications are benefiting from those medications," Adesman added in the press release. "There are nonpharmaceutical treatments for virtually all psychiatric diagnoses in children. For households where a child has significant emotional or behavioral difficulties, counseling, behavior management and some forms of psychotherapy can be helpful as well."

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