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On ‘Sound Medicine’: Giving stimulants to healthy children, mental health care as children age, and stressed-out millennials


INDIANAPOLIS — The award-winning “Sound Medicine” announces its program for April 7, including several pieces about mental health in young adults; “neuroenhancement” drug use by healthy children, mental health care for teens and young adults, and overstressed millennials. Please check local listings for broadcast dates, times and stations.

Is it safe to give stimulants to healthy children?: According to the federally funded Monitoring the Future Survey,  about 5 percent of high school students are taking stimulant prescription drugs to study and do better on tests. Stimulants are drugs that are commonly prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as Ritalin and Adderall. When these drugs are taken by people who don’t medically need them, they are referred to as neuroenhancers. William Graff, M.D., is the author of an article that looks at the ethical dilemma of prescribing stimulants to healthy children. According to Dr. Graff, there are studies that show these drugs don’t work for healthy children, and can actually cause severe side effects. Side effects include cardiovascular risks, anxiety, sleeplessness and changes in mood. Dr. Graff is a professor of pediatrics and neurology at the Yale School of Medicine.

Are teens and young adults getting access to mental health care? According to a 2009 study conducted by the Social Care Institute for Excellence, when children with mental disorders transition into adolescence and later into adulthood, they slip out of their health care programs. Kim Walton, M.S.N., chief clinical officer for behavioral care services at Community Health Network, says that access to mental health care is getting better but there is still a stigma associated with seeking treatment for mental disorders, especially in young adults. George Hurd, chief operating officer of Lutheran Child and Family Services, runs a residential home for young men with mental disorders. Hurd also runs the Trinity House, a residential home that focuses on life skills training for young adults with mental disorders.  According to Hurd, children can achieve success through mental health treatment. Hurd emphasizes the importance of family support and the correct treatment, they can become productive members of society.

What are the benefits of an expanded Medicaid program?: “Sound Medicine” health policy expert, Aaron Carroll, M.D., M.S., discusses the pros and cons of the upcoming Medicaid expansion. Last June the Supreme Court ruled that state’s participation in Medicaid expansion is optional, but if they choose not to participate they will lose all federal funding for the uninsured. So what does Medicaid expansion entail? According to Dr. Carroll, Medicaid will transition from being a program that covers only poor women, children, the elderly and disabled, to being a program that covers the majority of people that fall under the poverty line. Most states have decided to accept Medicaid expansion to fund their costs of caring for the poor, but there are a few states that have not decided. Dr. Carroll is an associate professor of pediatrics and the associate director of Children’s Health Services Research at Indiana University School of Medicine. He also is the director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research.

Why is the millennial generation so stressed?:The American Psychological Association recently released a report that young adults between the ages of 18 and 33, the millennials, are America’s most stressed out generation. According to Nancy Molitor, Ph.D., developmental and clinical psychologist at Northwestern University, the millennials have plenty to be stressed about. Some carry debt due to student loans, which they cannot repay. Many millennials are either unemployed or underemployed. Nearly 27 percent of college graduates move back in with their parents and 14 percent of the millennials say they are delaying getting married because it’s too expensive. Dr. Mollitor says that although coming of age is always stressful, the millennial generation is feeling symptoms usually related to a mid-life crisis. Dr. Mollitor also says that this is the first generation in a long time that feels they won’t be able to do better than their parents or achieve the American dream.

“Sound Medicine” covers controversial ethics topics, breakthrough research studies and the day-to-day application of recent advancements in medicine. It’s also available via podcast and Stitcher Radio for mobile phones and iPads and posts updates on Facebook and Twitter.

“Sound Medicine,” co-produced by the IU School of Medicine and WFYI Public Radio (90.1 FM) and underwritten in part by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, is aired on the following Indiana public radio stations: WBSB (Anderson, 89.5 FM), WFIU (Bloomington, 103.7 FM; Columbus, 100.7 FM; Kokomo, 106.1 FM; Terre Haute, 95.1 FM), WNDY (Crawfordsville, 91.3 FM), WVPE (Elkhart/South Bend, 88.1 FM), WNIN (Evansville, 88.3 FM), WBOI (Fort Wayne, 89.1 FM), WFCI (Franklin, 89.5 FM), WBSH (Hagerstown/New Castle, 91.1 FM), WFYI (Indianapolis), WBSW (Marion, 90.9 FM), WBST (Muncie, 92.1 FM), WBSJ (Portland, 91.7 FM), WLPR (Lake County, 89.1 FM) and WBAA (West Lafayette, 101.3 FM).

“Sound Medicine” is also broadcast on these public radio stations across the country: KSKA (Anchorage, Alaska), KTNA (Talkeetna, Alaska), KUHB (Pribilof Islands, Alaska), KUAF (Fayetteville and Fort Smith, Ark.), KIDE (Hoopa Valley, Calif.), KRCC (Colorado Springs, Colo.), KEDM (Monroe, La.), WCMU (Mount Pleasant, Mich.), WCNY and WRVO-1 (Syracuse, N.Y.), KMHA (Four Bears, N.D.), WYSU (Youngstown, Ohio), KPOV (Bend, Ore.) and KEOS (College Station, Texas).