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Kids and psychiatric medications

(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - More and more kids are being given drugs to cope with psychological problems.

A new survey from the CDC shows that one out of every 13 children in the United States are taking at least one medication for emotional and behavioral problems.

Breaking down the numbers; that means 7.5 percent of kids between six and 17 are taking psychiatric medication.

Newschannel 3 spoke to doctors to find out why so many kids are being medicated.

The doctors we spoke with say that's not a surprising number because they are seeing more families reaching out for help and that they are actually trying to make sure kids get help without pills.

Dr. Lia Gaggino says she's noticed more parents going to their family doctor to address their children's psychological problems.

"They come in by the droves, it's overwhelming at times," said Dr. Gaggino. "There are some people who are looking for 'fix my kid and I'd like a pill to do that.'"

ADHD, depression and anxiety are the most common challenges.

Doctors at Bronson Rambling Road Pediatrics say it's often not as simple as the right pill.

"Social, family, what's going on at home is a huge piece of it, and as I sometime say, I don't have a pill for that," said Dr. Gaggino.

Dr. Gaggino says the first step is getting to the root of the behavioral and psychological problems with therapy.

"Transitional issues, relationship issues, academic struggles, parent-child conflict, those are the things that bring their kids here," said Dr. Larry Beer: Child & Family Psychological Services.

Dr. Beer says that people sometimes get frustrated and push for drugs because counseling takes longer.

"The medications can take care of the symptoms, but the symptoms are there for a reason," said Dr. Beer. "After some counseling and you're not getting the results, then maybe medication can be considered."

Dr. Beer says there needs to be a collaboration between therapists and doctors to get the best treatment.

Dr. Gaggino says that while over-prescribing may occur, more doctors are moving away from drugs.

"I don't think the issue is about over-treatment," said Dr. Gaggino. "I think the issue is recognition and figuring out what's the best treatment in a community."

Dr. Beer recommends that parents talk to therapists and their family doctor to come up with a treatment plan before making an appointment for their child.