Section A Introduction
Medication plays a key role in the treatment of many illnesses, such as epilepsy, diabetes or depression. People with a learning disability, autism or both are more likely than the general population to experience conditions that need medication. They may at times be prescribed too much medication or medication that they don’t need. We call this ‘over-medication’. There are concerns that people with a learning disability, autism or both, are getting too much psychotropic medication, especially if it is used to manage behaviour that challenges.
Over-medication – A term used to describe people with learning disabilities and/or autism being given too much medication as a group, as well as individuals being given too much medication or inappropriate medication.
Psychotropic medication – This is any medication which affects the mind and includes antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilisers, stimulants, anti-anxiety and epilepsy medication. These medications are usually given to help with mental health needs.
This resource is not about medication that is necessary for health needs. People with a learning disability, autism or both should receive the same healthcare treatment as anybody else, including taking medication that helps them. This resource is about psychotropic medication and its appropriate use for people with a learning disability, autism or both.