The Medicated Child

9 Jan

We watched this Frontline program last night, and sat rapt, staring in horror at what we’re doing to our child.

While I’ll never doubt that some bipolar is evident and needs to be treated in children, there needs to be a better way. Being on that many drugs before puberty cannot be good. One kid was 16, had tics that wouldn’t go away from the meds, and slurred when he spoke. Another kid was 4, and was on about as many drugs.

4. Years. Old.

It will be a cold day in hell before I put either of my daughters on psychiatric drugs before puberty.

If you have some time, go watch it online here. I don’t have the time to really get into the issues, but needless to say, I was rather horrified. I know what anti-psychotics do to me-I can only imagine the effect on a child who is just acting like a child.

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8 Responses to “The Medicated Child”

  1. Gwen January 9, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    Oooh, we watched this, too, and at the end, I turned to Jeff and said, about that 4 year old: I worry for that kid. I thought the program tied in perfectly to your post about difference and parents sharing and Julie’s original post about telling other people what’s up with your kid. It seems like the kind of thing you can only judge if you’re in it, you know?

  2. thordora January 9, 2008 at 2:32 pm #

    That 4 year old reminded me a LOT of my oldest daughter, and I’d never medicate her.

    I wonder how much of it is parents not knowing what age appropriate behaviour is, not knowing how to discipline, not wanting to do the work.

    It’s horrible, and judgy, but as much as I know that there is that kid making the slit throat motion at 5 (OMFG! FREAKY!) there are 10 who are in no way shape or form mentally ill. They are just KIDS, and parents, educators and doctors want the easy way out. The ease with which that doctor handed them the new scripts was frightening. I can’t get new drugs that easily as an adult.

  3. Jennifer January 9, 2008 at 3:40 pm #

    I didn’t see it, but i am VERY opinionated about medication and children. For one, the brain is such a mystery as an adult, let alone the wonders of what a childs brain does. I think screwing with meds is crazy (and I’ve even discussed before my hesitation over vaccinations because there ARE additives in vaccines that we pump into little, developing bodies and we have no idea what the long term effects are…but thats another soap box).

    I’ve seen TOOOOO many kids that are medicated for behavioral issues that “I” suspect come from inadequate nutrition and poor parenting. I’ve personally seen kids go snakey when they are given certain foods. Medicating kids just masks the issue. My own kid has a bad reaction to chocolate pudding. Its not the chocolate, its something IN the pudding. If I give her high quality chocolate, there is no reaction. We’re messing with too much IMO and we just don’t know 100% what will happen down the road.

    /off soapbox – good thing I didn’t watch it eh?

  4. thordora January 9, 2008 at 3:50 pm #

    You can watch it online. You should. it’s actually a really good program, although you’ll become incensed, especially seeing video of this kid as a vibrant 2 year old, and then seeing him as basically a drooling twitching 16 year old. Sad sad sad.

    If they’ve never TESTED them on kids, why should we GIVE them to kids?

  5. palofmine January 9, 2008 at 8:30 pm #

    I do medicate my son for adhd, and its for school, and its not a parenting issue, it is something in him, that makes him hyper! even if you take out all the sugar, and wheat and all that crap, some kids still need it.

  6. thordora January 9, 2008 at 9:20 pm #

    Absolutely! What’s terrifying is the sheer number of children on untested drugs. At least ritalin has some data behind it now, however minimal.

    I guess I always wonder what used to happen 50 or 60 years ago-if the rates of mental illness were the same, why did no one notice any major problems then? Why this sudden upswing in pushing kids onto meds? I know myself-I was misdiagnosed as ADHD and slapped onto Ritalin-lord only knows what a stimulant did to my brain, not to mention my manic periods.

    We don’t know. That’s the fear. And when you add in a percolating little brain…

    Do all kids need it, or are we just afraid to let little kids act TRULY act like little kids? We badger and micromanage them into submission, then act surprised when they retaliate. We need to pick one side-are they kids, ot adults.

    heh. Tangent. Sorry bout that.

  7. Caitlin January 10, 2008 at 2:06 am #

    I think it’s a little scary how many people think active kids must have ADHD. My mom has taught kindergarten and first grade for over 35 years and she’s mentioned that when she’s had conferences with parents of active kids in the last five or so years, the parents always want to know if they should put their child on Ritalin. Ironically, the kids who are really helped by Ritalin have parents that usually want to try every other intervention before medicating their child.

    Now, we’re not talking about kids who have obvious problems concentrating or other behavioral issues that would warrant a closer look. We’re talking about the kids who are always asking “Why?” and “Well, what if …?” or talking a mile a minute about something that interests them. These kids are engaged with the world, and just see so many new things or possibilities that it makes not asking those questions impossible. I think it’s sad that some parents would rather medicate that out of their kid instead of helping them learn how to answer those questions.

  8. radical mama January 11, 2008 at 6:31 pm #

    That is so scary.

    Being a firm believer that diet and exercise and not being blasted with media 24/7 can help children function better, it really disturbs me to see people turn to drugs so easily. Adults can do what they want with their bodies, but to pump children full of drugs, often minimally tested and of questionable origin, is tragic.

    [Yes, for some kids those things just aren’t enough. But you will never convince that 1 in 200 kids has autism or that the high number of kids diagnosed with ADHD is accurate. And I blame the rise in mental disorders on environmental poisoning which individuals have little to no control over, not anything strictly natural.]

    We need to stop throwing people in jail for smoking pot and start talking about a war on prescription drugs. The hold that drug companies have on politicians just reeks of political corruption.

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