The Ethics of Prescribing Psychiatric Drugs To Children

Dr. Anusha 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 ethical concerns faced when a practitioner is thinking about prescribing psychiatric medication to a child, or referring a child for psychiatric intervention. These include concerns around children as a vulnerable population, as well as the potential impact of medications on a child's developmental trajectory, including their brain development. 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 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 talk is relevant to health professionals, who may consider whether to refer children for psychiatric intervention.



  1. Introduction
  2. The Decision to Medicate
  3. Goodness of fit
  4. Pharmacotherapy
  5. Principles of medical ethics
  6. Neuro-enhancement

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