2. The Decision to Medicate
3. Goodness of fit
5. Principles of medical ethics
This video shows us some of the ethical concerns faced when a practitioner is thinking about giving psychiatric medication to a child. Prescribing psychiatric medication to children raises a number of ethical issues. There is initially the concern around children as a vulnerable population, who can be manipulated by those with more power, such as parents, educators, and professionals, as well as the potential impact of medications on a child’s developmental trajectory, including their brain development. On the other hand, medications when given with sensitivity to the child’s presenting difficulties and context can be very helpful in facilitating adjustment and healthy functioning. Dr. Lachman offers guidance in weighing up the risks and benefits and assisting practitioners to make ethical decisions when working with young people.
Dr. Lachman discusses some of the topical issues around medicating children- such as off-label prescribing and neuro-enhancers. She debates the value of giving children medication in light of their environment, and further explores the ethical principles around the age of consent, autonomy and beneficence when looking at these issues.
This activity is relevant to mental health professionals, including psychologists and registered counsellors, who may consider whether to refer children for psychiatric intervention. It is very important for psychologists to be aware of these issues, as psychologists work closely with doctors and psychiatrists, and have an influence over treatment offered to children.