The risk-benefit calculation for any drug assumes a correct diagnosis of the disorder. Many investigators and clinicians feel the current epidemic of child psychiatric disorders is largely due to inappropriate diagnosis. Evaluate the risk and benefits of using psychoactive drugs in children correctly diagnosed with a disorder versus those incorrectly diagnosed with a disorder. Consider the risks and benefits of not treating (drug treatment) a child because he or she is not correctly diagnosed with a disorder. In your evaluation summarize the natural course of the disorder, the drug action on the neurotransmitter systems in question, and the likelihood of short-term, long-term, and permanent positive and negative effects of drug treatment. Make sure to take into account the ethical dimension of this risk-benefit calculation.
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