Louis Theroux: America's Medicated Kids

Louis Theroux investigates the growing practice in the US of prescribing anti-depressants to young children.

Louis Theroux: America's Medicated Kids

What would you do if your child was prone to throwing a huge tantrum in the middle of the supermarket? Sit them on the naughty step back at home, or prescribe them psychoactive medication? In this documentary, Louis Theroux travels to America to follow several familes who have turned to prescription drugs for their children to help them cope with their challenging behaviour. The drugs themselves are controversial - as is the subject of whether they should be given to children.

Louis travels to one of America's leading children's psychiatric treatment centres in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to meet some diagnosed children and try to understand what drives parents to put their kids onto these drugs.

He meets Hugh, a 10-year-old who has been diagnosed with ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, Asperger's syndrome and bipolar disorder. Moving in with Hugh and his family, Louis learns more about his controversial diagnosis and gets to know a family where even the dog is on meds!

He also meets Jack, aged six, who has been excluded from school for his explosive behaviour and now takes antidepressant medication for his anxiety. And when 15-year-old Kaylee (diagnosed with ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder) takes a day off her medication, Louis gets a glimpse of what life for these children is like without the drugs.

As Louis explores the world of psychiatric medication for kids, he tries to establish the line between ordinary bad behaviour and something more serious, and answer the question of whether drugs are taking the place of good old-fashioned parenting.