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Shouldn't we stop all of these asshole psychiatrists from giving second graders psych meds?

Is it just me, or is there something wrong with putting six year old little timmy on antidepressants because he's throwing a sulk because he couldn't go to a carnival? Little kids are supposed to be that way! They're supposed to throw fits over little things, and that normal! They grow out of it! Almost everyone is like that when they're a little kid, and parents are putting their children on heavy duty psych meds for it! Sure, they start at a low dose, but we have no idea what these chemicals are doing to their developing bodies and minds! And sure, I might be a little more accepting of this if the drugs were only being used on the kids that are trying to shove the fireplace pokers up their parent's ass, but still, i think it's just wrong. they may be doing that just to get attention, or that's what they grew up believing is cute. They usually grow out of it.

I dunno, but i think there's something wrong with plugging a kid up with lithium because she gets all sad when you punish her by taking her dessert away, or her teddy, or her dildo.
 

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I work in a county based out patient psychiatric agency. I agree completely that there are a lot of examples of children that don't need medications and that there are a lot of parents who are asking for medications for their kids who are just being kids. I do have to disagree with you that every kid doesn't need something to help him or her. Most of the kids I work with have been in the system because of a variety of reasons from abuse, neglect, parents doing drugs etc. and that will greatly affect them. I also work with kids who have families that love them and support them, but are at their wits end trying to help a child who is not just being a normal kid.

Do I like seeing them on these medications? No, definitely not. Do I see how they can be very useful to the kids? All the time. I've seen kids go from being sent home from school every day for any number of reasons, mostly inappropriate behavior like threatening to stab students/teachers/themselves with pens, pencils, scissors, etc. (and meaning it too, which is scary.) to being able to at least manage to stay in class and learn something. The agency I work with has a day treatment program for kids who just cannot be handled at a normal school for behavior like that or worse. Parents try, foster parents try, teachers try, their nurses, doctors, therapists all try to help them, but it's not always possible without medicinal help.

Again, I don't like the idea of medicating these kids, but I can see the necessity in many of the cases we work with because of the additional barriers that are usually included in working with people who have Medicaid, Medicare or no insurance at all. In the case of the kiddos, that usually means they have been taken from their families or their families have few resources and we're the last ditch stop before a kiddo (or adult) gets hospitalized for whatever is going on. It's good work, but very difficult trying to find ways to help people when so little assistance is available to them. :frustrating:
 
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I agree the ignorance of today's society is preposterous. Kids are having to take medications that alter their brains and possibly cause serious damage in their personality or growth. Most of today's psychology ideas and ways of doing things is absurd to me. Someone needs to pull the plug on these power hungry out of control people who claim to know what they are doing.
I get pissed every time I hear kids are on meds they shouldn't have to take.
 
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Yes, I also think kids shouldn't be on medications and I'm a psych grad. Why are we diagnosing mental illness in little kids? Their brains are still changing for God's sakes! Medications can make them sicker in fact.

It's like, out of a thousand kids, there is only one that should be on meds because he's suffering so much and he's explosive. Yet, we use that example, then justify putting another hundred on meds for more manageable behavior.

Some say, oh, the kid came from this kind of family and they had no money and he got abused, etc. Well, how about this: stop the abuse, help the poor financially, educate pregnant mothers, prevention, prevention, prevention! We say, oh, we can't prevent those, but spend millions on meds to "fix" kids. Well, most don't need meds. There is a reason some kids are angry. There is a reason they threaten to kill people. They're not crazy. They've had tough lives. Improve their lives...don't medicate them till they turn into a zombie, with no feelings, till they can't even cry or scream, can't talk about their pain. Stop shutting them up and start listening to them, not just what they say, but what their behaviors indicate. This is ridiculous.
 
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I believe mental illness in little kids is definitely possible, but I also think medication should be a last resort to treatment of mental disorders in children. Behavioral therapy and other therapies should be considered first. My younger sister has had an extraordinary amount of trouble focusing in school and frequently has anxiety. Ever since being prescribed a very small dose of medication, she has been doing wonderfully.

I say, just be sure that a pediatrician, one who specializes with children, monitors the dosage very carefully on a regular basis. Don't leave it up to the psychiatrists. Medication can be VERY beneficial if used and monitored correctly and consistently as it should and paired with other treatment.
 

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I believe mental illness in little kids is definitely possible, but I also think medication should be a last resort to treatment of mental disorders in children. Behavioral therapy and other therapies should be considered first. My younger sister has had an extraordinary amount of trouble focusing in school and frequently has anxiety. Ever since being prescribed a very small dose of medication, she has been doing wonderfully.

I say, just be sure that a pediatrician, one who specializes with children, monitors the dosage very carefully on a regular basis. Don't leave it up to the psychiatrists. Medication can be VERY beneficial if used and monitored correctly and consistently as it should and paired with other treatment.
We have difficulty in defining mental illness. Even in adult! So to say a little kid has a mental illness is very presumptuous. So your sister has difficulty concentrating at school and is very anxious. How is that a mental illness? Since when anxiety in little kids and difficulty concentration are mental illnesses? Medication helps her focus and be less anxious. People who take marijuana may also feel less anxious but that doesn't mean they are mentally ill. Maybe the school is the reason for your sister's anxiety? Maybe we have to change the school system that makes so many kids anxious? Why change your sister instead? She's not the only one who gets anxious at school and has difficulty concentrating. Think about it.
 

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Here's the big thing about all the changes you want to make - they're not immediate and they're not going to happen today. Will it help children in the future? Of course! Will it help the children right now? Probably not. I also think it is rather presumptuous of you to assume that as soon as a kid is sent to therapy/change schools/change environments they'll magically get better. (That's how I'm interpreting it because of the fact that you are not taking into account that they have to somehow make it to those points in the first place.) In a perfect world, that is exactly how things would work. This is not a perfect world. Not at all. Children are shuffled around, foster parents take on too many kids, parents get custody back, children don't have the option of another school depending on where they live, parents can't home school for X/Y/Z.

I will never advocate for long term medications nor high dosages nor many practices that are held up as wrong. I will however advocate for a pediatric psychiatrist (who knows much more about the psychiatric medications and dosages for children than even a pediatrician and they tend to have more time set aside to see the kids and talk with the parents/guardians for a more accurate diagnosis.) to follow a child's case and give the child medications as needed to make it so the kid can focus on school, can make it through to the end of a therapy session, can sleep through the night, can play with their siblings or other children and learn those social skills. I can guarantee that the doctors I work with stop or change dosages or change medications if a child isn't acting like a child, even if it means their symptoms aren't completely controlled. The goal is not to have these little zombies stumbling around, but a child who has a little extra support to be able to make it through their therapy and school and what not even if it means the parents have to work a little (a lot!) harder than they want too.

Also, just to give you a better idea about the place where I work - we have over 15,000 people actively participating in treatment here. Only about 7,500 are seeing psychiatrists. Of those, about 2,500 are children. Just a little over 1/2 of the active consumers are children. That means we are working with them through therapy and other services long before we start them on medications.

I will also say that no child should be prescribed psychiatric medications through their pediatrician. The same for adults seeing only their primary care physician. At least have the doctors who have gone through the extra training, who know what questions to ask, and have actually seen the worst of the worst so that they don't prescribe medications to kids who are just hyper-active, but not unmanageable if the parents are given better tools and techniques for handling them. A pediatric psychiatrist will know how to start a medication and tend to see the children on the medications much more frequently so any problems that come up are addressed as early as is possible. They are also able to talk with an entire team of therapists, case workers, and nurses about risks and benefits prior to starting a medication for a particular patient so they know what other options have been explored and that the team will also keep tabs on the kiddo and watch what's going on with him/her.

I guess, my argument here is that I do understand that there are many cases where medications are prescribed when not needed. I have also seen time and again how they have helped kids to be able to get the help they need and be able to participate in school and other activities. It is as unreasonable to assume that medications are bad in all cases as it is to assume that medications are good in all cases.
 

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We have difficulty in defining mental illness. Even in adult! So to say a little kid has a mental illness is very presumptuous. So your sister has difficulty concentrating at school and is very anxious. How is that a mental illness? Since when anxiety in little kids and difficulty concentration are mental illnesses? Medication helps her focus and be less anxious. People who take marijuana may also feel less anxious but that doesn't mean they are mentally ill. Maybe the school is the reason for your sister's anxiety? Maybe we have to change the school system that makes so many kids anxious? Why change your sister instead? She's not the only one who gets anxious at school and has difficulty concentrating. Think about it.
But the reason we sought help for her is because it wasn't just your average anxiety. Of course people have anxiety, and of course a small amount is normal.It's a mental illness because children shouldn't have as much anxiety as she has. Children should not be having panic attacks and rolling around on the floor when she's told "no". She hasn't had a tough life. Children should be able to keep some focus in school even at a young age. But if she has a problem sitting still, if she gets anxious when there's not enough stimuli, and if she's intelligent but gets low grades because she cannot focus, I would have to say that is some sort of problem within the brain. Not the school system.

Saying anyone, young or old, has a mental illness is presumptuous because for most mental illnesses, there are no chemical or biological tests being done for diagnosis. It's all based off observation, surveys, and questionnaires.

I have mood swings, and those ARE normal for people, but when one day I feel like ending my life and the next day I feel like I'm on top of the world, that's cause for concern. Diagnosis of mental illnesses are very presumptuous. For bipolar disorder, there is no biological test. I was diagnosed based on observation. But even at 12, the medicine has helped me tremendously where therapy has failed to do so.

I think we need to stop fearing medication, and fear that we may have many ill-equipped, and oblivious psychiatrists paired with a stigma for psychiatric medications. The only reason children act like zombies or even die from psychiatric medications, is because they are given too large of doses (just like with adults).
 

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Here's the big thing about all the changes you want to make - they're not immediate and they're not going to happen today. Will it help children in the future? Of course! Will it help the children right now? Probably not. I also think it is rather presumptuous of you to assume that as soon as a kid is sent to therapy/change schools/change environments they'll magically get better. (That's how I'm interpreting it because of the fact that you are not taking into account that they have to somehow make it to those points in the first place.)
I am not being presumptuous. And this is not about me versus you. I am criticizing the psychiatric industry. I have no power to label anyone or make any major changes. It is irrelevant what my beliefs are unless I have tremendous power. Psychiatrists have a lot of power. You work with people who administer drugs so I suppose I should not be surprised that you are defending them.

My argument is philosophical one and a sociological one. I am not saying that child X relocated to environment Y is suddenly going to turn into a baby Einstein. In fact, I have no data to prove that the problem child X is having is related to school and not family or whatever. I was simply replying to the other poster who had provided limited info, saying that his/her younger sister has anxiety and concentration problems at school so is put on drugs. Again, I think it has to be an extremely rare unmanageable case that would require drugs. Many of drugs that are prescribed do not "cure." In fact, often enough we don't know how they do what they do. They were discovered by accident. We just notice the kid is not screaming at the top of his lungs anymore and now comes to class. Well, it's a miracle! He's cured! NO! The little kid is just drugged up, and it's not the drug dealer down the street but the guy with the MD next to his name that's prescribing it.

So they say, oh, but the kid is screaming. Well, let him scream! He doesn't want to go to school. Let him not go. And then find out why. Be patient. Stop this fast food mentality. Don't run to the doctor saying you're fed up with him and you have to go to work and teacher's are sick of him. Maybe he misses you. Maybe he's lonely. Maybe he's afraid. Maybe he needs to be hugged, to be loved. Maybe all the tension at home is getting to him. Maybe you need to change your own life to suit him better. Take him to fun places. Let him be who he is for a bit. But no, we're not going to study all that stuff. We got big pharmaceutical companies and they'll only pay for drug trials, so we have research showing that you put chemicals in their little tummies and they settle down. So we put a blue pill and a red pill, right beside their peanut butter sandwich and tell them to take it, while we go about our lives.

And we justify it saying we don't want them to suffer so that's why we drug them up. Wait, isn't that like drinking alcohol? You have problem and you're pissed but then you become an alcoholic. And you think, oh, we can't solve those problems now and till then let me drink my problems away...and then you end up spending too much money and now you get all kinds of problem because you can't stop drinking?

As I said before, it has to be the rare rare rare case that gets drugged up. If not, justify drug use in a scientific way. Say exactly how they work. (btw, I'm not referring to you but the psychiatrists, parents, etc, depending on the context). If you have a walking suicidal kid, waving a knife in the air all the time, sure drug him up. And for the rest, say no to drugs. Only then is the government forced to do something about the problems kids are having. As long as you silence them with drugs, do you really expect the government to take a hard look at pharmaceutical industry and how we're drugging people up instead of dealing with what's bothering them? Let the parents get together and let the teachers get together and try to figure this out without using drugs. Frankly, it's frightening how we have convinced ourselves that every other kind of change takes too long and is not practical so drugs are a rational solution. As I said, it's the fast food mentality. We have no food and I have to go to work so here, have this disgusting greasy sandwich made from god-knows-what for only a single dollar. We'll think of something tomorrow. And tomorrow it's the same. NO, no, this is not a one time thing. It's everyday, just like meds. So years later, you get diabetes and heart disease, and you still haven't figured out how to put food on the table for the kid but now you have to take them to this doctor and that doctor and not only the first problem is not resolved, now you have ten more problems. What do you do? Well, what can you do? Give them other kinds of meds for heart problems and diabetes...so now your 30-year-old is on a bunch of med with so many side effects. Why? Because the parent did not want to look at other ways to provide for the kid and the government was not put under pressure to help the poor parent out. Nobody wanted to mess with the shitty system. The parents did not get together to make a plan, to get the government to stop pharmaceutical companies from funding research, from making meds the first-line treatment for troubled kids. We should stop this whole we-have-to-fix-this-right-away-and-in-the-fastest-and-cheapest-way-possible-while-ignoring-future-consequences. We can't fix everybody and not quickly either. That's life. Some get sick, some get old, and we all die. We can't fix all that. We can treat the patients with respect though. We can help them make better lives for themselves. Drugs don't do that.
I guess, my argument here is that I do understand that there are many cases where medications are prescribed when not needed. I have also seen time and again how they have helped kids to be able to get the help they need and be able to participate in school and other activities. It is as unreasonable to assume that medications are bad in all cases as it is to assume that medications are good in all cases.
Yes, yes, no blanket statements. However, it seems that we will remain in disagreement about how often meds should be prescribed. You seem to have more of a middle of the road view whereas I think of meds like exorcism. I would beat the evil spirits out of a person but only as the very very very last resort.
 
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But the reason we sought help for her is because it wasn't just your average anxiety. Of course people have anxiety, and of course a small amount is normal.It's a mental illness because children shouldn't have as much anxiety as she has. Children should not be having panic attacks and rolling around on the floor when she's told "no". She hasn't had a tough life. Children should be able to keep some focus in school even at a young age. But if she has a problem sitting still, if she gets anxious when there's not enough stimuli, and if she's intelligent but gets low grades because she cannot focus, I would have to say that is some sort of problem within the brain. Not the school system.
But you see, seeing your younger sister all anxious and all is still no reason to give her drugs. You need to be clear what it is you are trying to accomplish. Let me explain. Let's think of various reasons to drug her.

1. With all the "should"s you been using, you are describing what is normal and/or expected of your sister. Anything less, and she needs to be "fixed." So you give her drugs so that she is closer that social norm.

2. You think something is wrong with her and you want her to be treated. Here the drugs have to actually treat her not simply make her less anxious or troublesome to teachers so she can attend school. You want the drug to make her brain work like a normal brain.

3. suffering, that of yours (or parents), teachers, others students, and most importantly, her. You can't take her screaming. Teachers can't. Your parents feel uncomfortable. You also feel bad for your little sister. Is she suffering? Is she in pain? What can you do for her? Would you help her in a way that would ameliorate her suffering now but make her worse in future? Would you let her suffer if you think that's part of who she is and that we all suffer more or less at times in our life, but we need to be patient and find what would be best for her in the longterm? Or you prefer to make her happy right away because she seems to be in too much pain?

I did not complete grad school because I was interested mostly in philosophical questions like this and at Temple University, I was enrolled in a PhD programs that was all focused on treatment and various therapies. I got an A in my philosophy class (we had to take it in the clinical program) but found other classes to be a bore. So I dropped out. These are the kinds of questions we never asked parents. We didn't help them decide. It was just like, oh we have this and that treatment, blah blah. But what do they do exactly? Are they willing to change themselves? What do they want for their child, more than anything else?

Saying anyone, young or old, has a mental illness is presumptuous because for most mental illnesses, there are no chemical or biological tests being done for diagnosis. It's all based off observation, surveys, and questionnaires.
You see, even if there were biological tests, it would still be quite controversial. It's the nature of the beast, really. We have a brain and we think. The kidney doesn't think. When it's not functioning, we take it out or give the patient drug that makes it work again. It's role is fairly clear. But what about the brain/mind? What is it supposed to do? Should it not feel anxious? Should it feel anxious? Does it matter if it feels anxious? Is it in the biology? Is it the soul? The environment? Should we use the medical model, call severe anxiety an "illness" then drug the patient into oblivion so he doesn't feel anxious anymore? But what about his enthusiasm? Now, that's gone. Which is more important? What does the drug do? Do we even know? Is it okay to be extremely anxious but feel that your life is meaningful, that you're making a difference? Or is it better to feel relaxed, and just eat, drink, sleep, and not worry too much about anything? Who should be making these decision, the doctor, the patient, the psychiatric manual? Is human life a tragedy or a gift? Is life worth living? Are we allowed to kill ourselves? Do we own ourselves? Wanting to kill oneself, is that irrational? Is that an illness? Or is that a choice? Etc etc etc.

I have mood swings, and those ARE normal for people, but when one day I feel like ending my life and the next day I feel like I'm on top of the world, that's cause for concern.
Yes, but maybe it's because of the life you're having. Some amazingly creative artists had what we would label as bipolar. If they were drugged up, they couldn't have painted those amazing paintings and live the kind of life they lived. It would be nice if the patient had options. If the doctors stopped focusing on meds, and showed the patient that there are many ways of dealing with how they feel.

Diagnosis of mental illnesses are very presumptuous. For bipolar disorder, there is no biological test. I was diagnosed based on observation. But even at 12, the medicine has helped me tremendously where therapy has failed to do so.
How old are you now?

I think we need to stop fearing medication, and fear that we may have many ill-equipped, and oblivious psychiatrists paired with a stigma for psychiatric medications. The only reason children act like zombies or even die from psychiatric medications, is because they are given too large of doses (just like with adults).
No, I will always fear medication because they need to be feared. We're giving them out like candy. The problem is that we're not fearing them enough! Did you know that by 1950s there had done over 20,000 lobotomies on patient in US alone! The guy who introduced that horrible procedure in fact got a Nobel Prize for it! Perhaps patients needed to fear the procedure much more. Or maybe they weren't give a choice once they were hospitalized.

Did you know that in 2007, over 22.2 million prescriptions for generic formulations of fluoxetine (Prozac) were filled in States? Did you know its manufacturer, Eil Lilly, had US$21.8 Billion in revenues last year? Shouldn't we be getting better when so many of us have become walking pharmacies? Why is anxiety and depression up then? Should we not address the environmental instead?
 
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I would quote certain sections, but this is just a general answer to what seems to be your viewpoint on the matter.

I do not expect anything from my sister. It's a concern (shared by all family members) for what is hindering her to focus... on anything. It’s a concern for her change in attitude, and a concern for her possibly missing an opportunity to be a carefree child like her siblings close in age, which –and I hope you agree- is something we should wish for all children. It’s a concern for her missing her opportunities to take from her early education as much as she can, to prepare her for her later life. We’re concerned that, at an early age, this child doesn’t seem to pay attention to anyone at all when spoken to, not even other children. How will this play out when she gets older? Isn’t it a bit risky to just wait it out? Especially when research has shown that this is not the typical behavior of one her age? We never thought of her as someone that needed to be “fixed”… And I’m a little troubled that this was even mentioned.

And what is wrong with social norms? There is a huge benefit to standards and normalcy, and its very definition is being tweaked day by day as we discover and learn more and more. If there were no standards, no norms, there would be much chaos and nothing stable that anyone could hold on to or reference to. If she wanted to divert from social norms in her later years, she has every right and choice to. Medication doesn’t take that choice away. But for now, in her most influential developmental years, medication (paired with treatment under a watchful eye) is her best option according to her parents.

We’ve even talked to her after her treatment was started. She is much happier. She doesn’t panic, cry, and roll around on the floor when we don’t give her chocolate milk. She plays with dolls and toys and people more, and more importantly, her academic scores are improving. Before, she had no focus to learn how to read. All of a sudden, she’s spelling out words and reading entire children’s books all on her own! Unfortunately, I do not live in a perfect world where society smiles upon those who cannot read, those who have poor grades, those who do not focus, and those who are too afraid to socialize. Again, yes, we compare how she is to standard developmental behaviors, but those are there for a reason.

Unfortunately, in this society, a school system or the environment cannot be changed immediately by one concerned family. Of course, there are many, many aspects that can contribute to anxiety and inattention. It is indeed the environment, it is indeed genetics, and it can also be school, biological, anything. We do not know, and there is a low chance of us ever knowing the exact truth.

Feeling anxious is certainly a normal thing for the brain, I know. But there is such thing as too much to the point where it gets in the way of living a healthy life. Anxiety before a test is normal, yes. But what about anxiety in the absence of any threat whatsoever, big or small? Is that natural? And, if it is, why would it cause palpitations, nausea, trembling, stress and other negative side effects? And what about the prolonged effects of these symptoms? Surely that level of anxiety is not natural. Too much anxiety causes stress; it causes many lost opportunities at socializing, achieving goals, and much more. Should we just take the risk, chalk it up to her mind trying to be its natural self and let it go? That hasn’t played out very well in past experience and in research.

Blood flow in the amygdala - which is thought to deal in anxiety - increases when an unpleasant stimulus is presented, and if this causes anxiety, what does it mean when blood flow increases and one gets anxiety even when there isn’t any unpleasant stimulus presented? That can’t be normal. It’s not functioning as it should be. It’s not functioning, just as a kidney wouldn’t function. And so you give it medication. You give it therapy. And you watch and be cautious when doing these things, because the brain is very mysterious to us still and very complicated.

And again, we don’t live in a perfect world where she can hold a job, sustain her life, or commit to anything without focus. I have an untreated friend with ADD, he wanted so much to go to college, graduate, and become a successful psychologist. But his inability to focus, to read large masses of text, to commit to going to classes and listening to professors has hurt his grades tremendously, forcing him to drop out of school. Now, he has broken-heartedly given up on these passions and wants to become a voice actor. But even now, he lacks the attention to put effort into this goal. Unfortunately, most of us cannot “will” our way out of these problems. And if therapy alone doesn’t work, what next? Is he doomed to live in this vicious cycle? Is it JUST society and the environment? Does he just need to wait until his environment and society and the schools and every other aspect is straightened out? How long will that be?

The problem with asking the questions you ask is that we can ask and ask to our heart’s content, but if we don’t test out some of these possibilities, these questions are all for naught. And sometimes they are impossible to know, so, as humans, we must take the best course of action by educated guess. This is how we’ve gotten by in many, many situations. As far as we know, we have not yet found the basis and inner workings of one’s “mind” and of one’s “soul”. All we know are the chemical processes, reactions, and irregularities in the “brain” (not the mind) to go off of. Maybe our research will one day be successful in figuring out the mind and soul, but for now, as the brain is a very, very, very complicated thing, we only have neurological information to go by. And even that is limited.

I don’t know why you assume that drugs inhibit creativity and enthusiasm. A common misconception with psychiatric drugs is that they morph you into something you’re not, turn you to a zombie, and suck the life and soul out of you. This is only with improper use! Do you think that they would even be cleared if this was the case the majority of the time? I’ve been taking medication for about ten years (I’m 20), and I’m in the best mental condition of my life, because my medication (which balances Serotonin levels) has brought me to a normalcy that I can grasp, and that I can run with. It has stabilized the very foundation of “normal” for me so that I can go on and do what I want with my life, be as creative and expressive as I can, divert from social norms as much as I want, without my past irrational fears that I was going to die at every turn and at every second, without my grandiose thoughts of being some kind of deity, without my strong, irrational paranoia that the government was out to get me hindering me from what I wanted to do, without irrational “triggers” that sent me into a depressive frenzy... Medication has turned my life around enormously.

Yes, medication has side effects, but it is the very basis of a psychiatrist’s job to weigh the pros and cons and take the best path. There are always cons. Maybe society needs to work on instilling this principle into those psychiatrists who over-dose. Find me a natural, proven, and effective way to cure my mania without relapse, and I will swear off medication forever.

Many patients do have options. It takes both the psychiatrist/psychologist and the patient being WELL informed of these options for treatments to be effective. Both my doctor and my sister’s doctor have given us many treatment options, most of which we took in combination.

As I said before, maybe we should focus less on how bad medication is and more on educating ourselves on the how much they can benefit from the correct usage. My family’s been blessed with wonderful doctors who know what they’re doing, who have given us many options, much information on the matter, and are very equipped to help. We've also done a fairly extensive amount of research into the benefits and disadvantages.

What we should fear are the malpractices of uninformed psychiatrists, the lack of education on their part, and the lack of effort on the parents’ part to research these medications themselves instead of simply agreeing to whatever treatment, drug, and dosage is thrown to their child. Psychiatric medication can be very safe, and can change a child’s life around, just as any other medicine can. But of course, just as any other medicine, it can be dangerous if improperly prescribed, diagnosed, and used.

I apologize if this is too long. I just don't understand why we should swear off something we know little about? If it has had beneficial effects, why shun it? Why not look into it more, see what maybe we're doing wrong, and go from there?
 

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I think the biggest thing that I'm noticing is that there is an assumption that meds are being used exclusively without any other treatment being involved for patients, whether they are adults or children. I don't know if it works the same way in other states, but I can tell you that the way at least two community based mental health centers work in the Denver area is that a patient always has a team of people working with them. A therapist, a case worker, a psychiatrist (if needed) and a nurse (if needed). I say the psychiatrist and nurse are only if needed because we don't work with most of the population in the center. That goes to the therapists and case workers. The only time a patient sees only a psychiatrist and case worker is if it has been determined that they have benefited as much as they could from therapy and only need the most basic assistance that we can give them, which is the psychiatric support and help with maintaining benefits.

Yes, I am a bit more of a middle-road type person. Kind of. When it comes to the patient population I work with, yes, I am much more willing to be more aggressive with medications (not pushing them so much, but meaning that they are closely monitored and seen frequently and have support available if there are side effects or increase in symptoms or the zombie effect.) That doesn't mean I agree with all (or depending on the doctor, most) the things I see being prescribed by children. I applaud the government for take steps to monitor much more closely the types of medications prescribed to the children with Medicaid (and thus in the system) and putting a stop to the overuse of psychotropics like antipsychotics or mood stabilizers or stimulants. I can tell you that much of my job is to speak with Medicaid and determine whether a medication will be approved by the insurance company. That part of the system is getting better and there are more checks and balances in place to try to prevent the overuse of medications or overdosing of the medications.

In the general population though, I believe medications are being used far too frequently. There are many parents who don't want to deal with kids who are just being kids or who need a bit more support or encouragement. It's not fair to the kids. They would probably respond the best to the social changes that you have pointed out really should be a focus. I completely support all those social changes. One of the best changes would be for major corporations to encourage their employees to flex their time so they can be with their children more frequently. That would be step one in my opinion. Step two would be making it so that mental health (primarily the therapy part of mental health) is supported to the same extent that medical health is and for insurance to be made so it is more accessible to everyone regardless of where they are and what their paychecks are. Three would be better support for teachers and giving them more tools to be able to work with those children who need more help.

There are many other steps that need to be put in place. I don't think we need to wait to start working on these because there are "bandaid" treatments available like medications. Fine, society right now isn't going to change immediately to help kids right now. We initiate those changes now, support the people as we can now and make the transitions work as best as we can for everyone. If we can get to a world where I don't have a job because no one needs psychiatric medications then I will be pleased and know that there was something so huge accomplished and that the world is a better place. The earlier the better, though, I'll probably transition to working as a therapist or case worker when that happens.

There was mentioning of the philosophy versus working in the field, and I think both are necessary to figure out how to change things. Therapists, teachers, psychiatrists and the philosophers and thinkers and people who organize things all need to sit down and discuss what is being seen right now, what the vision is, and how to get there. An open dialogue is the way to start working on this, truly the only way to start working on this.
 

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First off, I have thus far written in a stream-of-consciousness style, brainstorming and sharing various ideas. I am going to write in a manner that is more clear.

Secondly, I know my opinion is not typical of mental health professionals specially psychiatrists, and I am not saying what to do with your sister or not to do. Frankly I don't know either you or your sister and I'm not qualified to give an opinion even if I knew her. As I said to another poster, this is a discussion and since you mentioned your sister, I have used her as an example. She may need meds, she may not. I mention this so you can step back and look at this from a theoretical perspective as well. You obviously care a lot about your sister and would do much for her--which you may not do for others. So if we speak of child X, we can discuss him in a more detached manner.

Third, this is going to be my last comprehensive reply here. I am involved with a few psychiatric research projects so I can't spend as much time interacting here for the next little while. I'll do the best I can. I've spent several hours on the forum today....

Lastly, I appreciate you engaging me. I am also impressed by how much you care about your sister and I hope you, your family, and specially your sister, all the best. I am sorry if my opinions have hurt your feelings or have brought out all the pain associated with a loved one who is struggling in life. The nature of life is so that we are never certain of what it is we need to do to take care of people we love. My intention here is to emphasize and elaborate on an approach--to suffering and life difficulties--that does not involve drugs. I really think that a few decades from now, we'll look back and shudder at how often and how needlessly we medicated little kids. History is full of examples like that. So I'm doing my part. As long as a few people read this thread and consider asking a few more questions and looking at other options, questioning undue influence of pharmaceutical companies on research, on government, then I've made a small difference.
I do not expect anything from my sister...it's a concern for her possibly missing an opportunity to be a carefree child like her siblings close in age...concern for her missing her opportunities to take from her early education as much as she can, to prepare her for her later life...How will this play out when she gets older? Isn’t it a bit risky to just wait it out? Especially when research has shown that this is not the typical behavior of one her age? We never thought of her as someone that needed to be “fixed”… And I’m a little troubled that this was even mentioned.
Why? If you're not trying to fix what is wrong with her, then what exactly are you trying to do? Your whole family is very concerned but obviously you are not accepting that she is simply different from many of the kids her age, right? You're looking at other kids and you mention research and age-expected behavior, the idea that she needs to get all the education she can...you are looking for a solution to make her behave differently and more like kids her age and so on. If you prefer, we can say you're trying to find solution for her maladaptive behavior (as opposed to fixing what is wrong with her).

And what is wrong with social norms? There is a huge benefit to standards and normalcy, and its very definition is being tweaked day by day as we discover and learn more and more. If there were no standards, no norms, there would be much chaos and nothing stable that anyone could hold on to or reference to.
I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with social norms. Philosophically, there is potentially something wrong with defining mental illness based on social norms and and prescribing drugs to bring child X's behavior closer to the social norm. Imagine a school in a very poor neighborhood. Significant number of kids skip school, don't pay attention, scream and fight. Social norm here is different from that of a very prestigious school where most kids are intelligent and very well behaved. So social norms change, depending on time and place, etc. Again, there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to fit in or relying on others for clues to what is perceived as proper behavior or thinking. However, I better not marry a girl (or divorce her), for example, solely because 80% of people marry. It's not reason enough.

We’ve even talked to her after her treatment was started. She is much happier. She doesn’t panic, cry, and roll around on the floor when we don’t give her chocolate milk.
I'm glad she's happier and less anxious and sad.

She plays with dolls and toys and people more, and more importantly, her academic scores are improving. Before, she had no focus to learn how to read. All of a sudden, she’s spelling out words and reading entire children’s books all on her own! Unfortunately, I do not live in a perfect world where society smiles upon those who cannot read, those who have poor grades, those who do not focus, and those who are too afraid to socialize.
It's so great that her school performance has improved as well. And yes, it is sad that some people in our society can be cruel to those who are different or do not measure up in one way or another. That's partly why people do plastic surgery, wear clothes they can't afford, lie and deceive, etc etc. That's also partly why parents can be so concerned about their children when they do not fit. It's a tough world out there, even for "normal" people. Competition is tough. If you are developmentally delayed or have a disability, you may have difficulty making money, making friends, etc.


what about anxiety in the absence of any threat whatsoever, big or small? Is that natural?
Let's stay clear of the word "natural" unless you define it specifically. Regardless, threat can be subjective. It doesn't have to be a tiger in the room. But I do see what you're saying. Sometimes we can be hypervigilant. Some people who've survived trauma, get anxious for no obvious reason.

Too much anxiety causes stress; it causes many lost opportunities at socializing, achieving goals, and much more. Should we just take the risk, chalk it up to her mind trying to be its natural self and let it go? That hasn’t played out very well in past experience and in research.
Again, I don't know. I don't know her diagnosis, what meds she's tried and what she's on, what kinds of psychological therapies she has tried, what sort of physicians she's seen, her behavior at school and at home, family members' style of interaction, mental illness in family, genetic history, birth complications, environmental stressors, past medical/psychiatric history, etc etc. But I do agree with you that severe anxiety can interfere with her behavior and thinking.


Blood flow in the amygdala - which is thought to deal in anxiety - increases when an unpleasant stimulus is presented, and if this causes anxiety, what does it mean when blood flow increases and one gets anxiety even when there isn’t any unpleasant stimulus presented? That can’t be normal. It’s not functioning as it should be. It’s not functioning, just as a kidney wouldn’t function. And so you give it medication. You give it therapy.
Okay, so let's use the example of amygdala, a structure that is often mentioned when speaking of anxiety. It is particularly known for its role in processing of emotional memories. That there is increased blood flow in amygdala is not quite the same as dysfunction in a kidney. We know so little about the brain and amygdala. Seeing a change in blood flow in amygdala does not tell us that much. We can already see that child X is anxious, very anxious. That anxiety shows up in the body in different ways, from sweating to change in blood pressure, to changes in brain signals and blood flow. The actual problem is finding the source. Sources in the environment can affect brain as well and change the blood flow, etc. If it is coming from the inside, perhaps based on something genetic, can we change it from the inside (meds, surgery) or from the outside (relaxation, behavioral therapy)?

I have an untreated friend with ADD...he has broken-heartedly given up on these passions and wants to become a voice actor. And if therapy alone doesn’t work, what next? Is he doomed to live in this vicious cycle? Is it JUST society and the environment? Does he just need to wait until his environment and society and the schools and every other aspect is straightened out? How long will that be?
Your friend is who he is. Not everybody can become a psychologist. Why should everybody be able to do that? We can all wish. I wanted to be a neurosurgeon, but I don't have the manual dexterity. So I went into psychology. You may not be aware of this, but some people who do not "need" meds, take it to enhance their memory or concentration. It's like the performance-enhancing drugs in sports. Perhaps I could have tried them and maybe they would have helped. Who knows!?

Imagine a society where anybody could make a living. That means even if you had no arms or legs, you could do something. You could be a therapist in fact. Or if, instead, you have hands and legs but have difficulty sustaining your attention, you could do something more active. In fact, there are those with ADHD who do not take meds and try to find a niche for themselves. That happens in our society but that is not to say it's easy. Definitely not! My dad needed a bachelor's degree to get a decent job. I need a PhD. Times have changed. But I do like to take a stand. And I'm not the only one. We have changed. Our society is becoming more open to those with disabilities, to people from other cultures, religions, etc. We take a stand against racism, sexism, and ageism. We have a long long way to go, of course.

Often this is what I see: a family does its best to make the "ill" member "well." Be it drugs, therapy, or even hide them from the world. They dedicate themselves to helping the person. When it becomes clear that none of those work, or can't be a long-term thing, they have to make a difficult decision. They have to accept that their child, brother or sister, or parent is simply different and not what they hoped they could be. Are they "doomed"? Depends on how you define that. We all have a particular biological makeup. That's a fact. We're mortal. That's also a fact. Are we doomed? We may try to overcome our biology, by exercise, drugs, surgery, therapy. Nothing wrong with wanting to improve, but at what cost? It's hard when a family member has a serious illness, like cancer, that seriously reduces their quality of life. Of course some may refuse chemotherapy but often enough the family gives it a chance. Cancer is biological enough I suppose. Mental illnesses are more complicated. We want the anxious child, the angry child, the slow child, to do better. We want them to have a great future. It may not be possible, at least not based on how we define success. He may not have a luxury car, but he may be a role model to many. He may not become a surgeon, but he might mend broken hearts.
Maybe our research will one day be successful in figuring out the mind and soul, but for now, as the brain is a very, very, very complicated thing, we only have neurological information to go by. And even that is limited.
We have more info, not just neurological and psychiatric. Heck, we have several thousand years of human knowledge to consider. Of course none are "scientific" enough for us. It's only the big studies with the big money behind it that we consider. And that's from the last few decades and the ones sponsored by pharmaceutical companies.

I don’t know why you assume that drugs inhibit creativity and enthusiasm. A common misconception with psychiatric drugs is that they morph you into something you’re not, turn you to a zombie, and suck the life and soul out of you.
That was one example and the example of antipsychotics. Like I said earlier you did not mention your sister's issues nor her meds, so obviously it's not every case. However, antipsychotics are used in so many cases when the behavior is not manageable.


I’ve been taking medication for about ten years (I’m 20), and I’m in the best mental condition of my life, because my medication (which balances Serotonin levels) has brought me to a normalcy that I can grasp... Medication has turned my life around enormously.


As I said before, maybe we should focus less on how bad medication is and more on educating ourselves on the how much they can benefit from the correct usage.
Again, I disagree. We should focus on how bad medication are for most people. If one in a thousand cases actually are disturbed enough to require drugs, then so be it. People have self-medicated for thousands of years in fact. But to give drugs under the name of "medication" and under the authority of medicine, to pretend that we know what a mental illness really is and pretend it's some kind of "chemical imbalance", to put a whole nation on drugs, is dangerous and unethical. Who says that psychiatrists are the ones who are experts at treating mental illness? Why not spiritual or religious leaders? Why not the drug dealer next door? Some of my friends did marijuana. It certainly made them feel better and they felt more creative and energized after. A glass of red wine seems to help others. Is it that we are in search of a rationale and not a drug dealer then?


Psychiatric medication can be very safe, and can change a child’s life around, just as any other medicine can. But of course, just as any other medicine, it can be dangerous if improperly prescribed, diagnosed, and used.
Drugs can be safe or be dangerous. That's fine if you want to use some to relax, I suppose. But it's not a cure. Nor does the word "psychiatric" mean that the drugs are safe or appropriate. Look at psychiatric treatments that were deemed safe some decades ago but turned out to have more serious side effects than previously had been assumed.


I just don't understand why we should swear off something we know little about? If it has had beneficial effects, why shun it? Why not look into it more, see what maybe we're doing wrong, and go from there?
Sure, do more research. We have already tested all kinds of psychiatric drugs on millions of rats, not to mention a large number of dogs, cats, and monkeys. We have terrorized them, angered them, removed parts of their brains, taken them away from their family, done all kinds of ungodly things to them all so that human beings can have better lives and drug companies make billions more in profits. We have done research on humans too and some desperate people have volunteered to be lab rats though we have treated them with more respect. Despite my issues with animal and human experimentation, I am not fully against it. We are improving with respect to ethics and animals are being treated better. But if I had an ill family member, I would want the researchers to continue researching. Find out why meds work. However, that line of research is limited. If we knew a hundred times more than we know about the brain, we would still be faced with the philosophical question of where to intervene. And when. Changes in societal structure, values, and economic forces can influence the presentation and frequency of mental illness. Changes in psychiatric training, values, emphasis, societal power, and so forth can influence the diagnosis of the illness. We need to look everywhere and study it all.
 

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I think the biggest thing that I'm noticing is that there is an assumption that meds are being used exclusively without any other treatment being involved for patients, whether they are adults or children.
The focus is on children. They are still growing and their brains are changing. Diagnosing mental illness in adults is controversial but in children it is nothing short of a joke.

I don't know if it works the same way in other states, but I can tell you that the way at least two community based mental health centers work in the Denver area is that a patient always has a team of people working with them. A therapist, a case worker, a psychiatrist (if needed) and a nurse (if needed). I say the psychiatrist and nurse are only if needed because we don't work with most of the population in the center. That goes to the therapists and case workers. The only time a patient sees only a psychiatrist and case worker is if it has been determined that they have benefited as much as they could from therapy and only need the most basic assistance that we can give them, which is the psychiatric support and help with maintaining benefits.
That's a nice system you got there, though societal pressure, psychiatry's authority and power (which is more than others in mental health), and media in general, encourage meds.

I applaud the government for take steps to monitor much more closely the types of medications prescribed to the children with Medicaid (and thus in the system) and putting a stop to the overuse of psychotropics like antipsychotics or mood stabilizers or stimulants.
That's good news to me.

In the general population though, I believe medications are being used far too frequently.
Yes, yes, that's my point essentially. The rare case, that's fine, but it's way over the top. When I was younger and feeling anxious, both my GP and a psychiatrist I once saw suggested meds pretty quickly.

There are many parents who don't want to deal with kids who are just being kids or who need a bit more support or encouragement. It's not fair to the kids. They would probably respond the best to the social changes that you have pointed out really should be a focus. I completely support all those social changes.
Great!

One of the best changes would be for major corporations to encourage their employees to flex their time so they can be with their children more frequently. That would be step one in my opinion. Step two would be making it so that mental health (primarily the therapy part of mental health) is supported to the same extent that medical health is and for insurance to be made so it is more accessible to everyone regardless of where they are and what their paychecks are. Three would be better support for teachers and giving them more tools to be able to work with those children who need more help.
Wonderful idea! Absolutely!

There are many other steps that need to be put in place. I don't think we need to wait to start working on these because there are "bandaid" treatments available like medications. Fine, society right now isn't going to change immediately to help kids right now. We initiate those changes now, support the people as we can now and make the transitions work as best as we can for everyone. If we can get to a world where I don't have a job because no one needs psychiatric medications then I will be pleased and know that there was something so huge accomplished and that the world is a better place. The earlier the better, though, I'll probably transition to working as a therapist or case worker when that happens.

There was mentioning of the philosophy versus working in the field, and I think both are necessary to figure out how to change things. Therapists, teachers, psychiatrists and the philosophers and thinkers and people who organize things all need to sit down and discuss what is being seen right now, what the vision is, and how to get there. An open dialogue is the way to start working on this, truly the only way to start working on this.
Great, thank you for your reply. Very refreshing from someone in the field. Made my day.

Now must get some sleep. It's almost 2:30 a.m. here.
 

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personally, i don't really like any medicines at all, but i understand their necessity, and acknowledge their usefulness. but at the top of the list of my medicine black list, though, are psychotropic medications. i understand those medications that keep your intestines from reaching out and slapping small animals around, or the ones that keep you from puffing up with farts, turning inside out and floating away like a big greasy red balloon, but i dont really appreciate the psych meds. i just dont like the idea of some chemical messing with the way i think. i try and tolerate them when they're being given to people that actually need them, like the person who has about twelve other people running around inside his head, or the girl who stuck a magnet up her vagina so she could stick another on the outside.

actually, that doesn't sound like a bad idea. hold up.



no, it really is. my point is, people who are feeling sad because they lost their wallet shouldnt be running out to go grab a bottle of lexapro, and kids need it even less.
 

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personally, i don't really like any medicines at all, but i understand their necessity, and acknowledge their usefulness. but at the top of the list of my medicine black list, though, are psychotropic medications. i understand those medications that keep your intestines from reaching out and slapping small animals around, or the ones that keep you from puffing up with farts, turning inside out and floating away like a big greasy red balloon, but i dont really appreciate the psych meds. i just dont like the idea of some chemical messing with the way i think. i try and tolerate them when they're being given to people that actually need them, like the person who has about twelve other people running around inside his head, or the girl who stuck a magnet up her vagina so she could stick another on the outside.

actually, that doesn't sound like a bad idea. hold up.



no, it really is. my point is, people who are feeling sad because they lost their wallet shouldnt be running out to go grab a bottle of lexapro, and kids need it even less.
Isn't that just fear/insecurity though? I thought that they only prescribe meds when they are certain that your brain has a chemical imbalance (through x-rays and scans)...

Most drugs I thought are actually scientifically proven to help your brain; I don't think they 'screw up' your brain. Doesn't Alcohol do more damage, and so do cigarettes? It's funny how people are scared of psychotropic medications, but go binge drinking every week. It seems so...'misinformed'. Alcohol screws up with the way you think, but people still drink it. To me, it just seems ironic.

I'm not sure though, I've only read a 'beginner's guide' to this subject, and I'm not even sure if the source is trustworthy!

I hope most people that go into the medicine field actually want to help people (and not the money *sigh*), and psychiatrist are the ones who are brave enough to go into the unconscious, the unknown. I'm sure most want to help; and sometimes I feel that people demand TOO much off the doctor. They're people too?
 

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It's interesting how little some of these people 'think' of the rammifications of giving meds to an entire generation of say NF's. Without Nf's much of the great inventions these people use every day may not exist. What if you gave Van Goh meds to help with anxiety and he never created such beautiful works of art. Art may seem meaningless to some, but it's the foundation of a culture to build on. Rome and Persia were known for this and their art gave them a lot of bargaining power in the world, which gave them armies. Would we have the lamp that's on in my room with all the abnormal kids on meds..... hellz no. You give all these kids meds and our world gets stunted because anxiety is the root of creativity. The more messed up the person is socially, the greater the possibilities.

No, you shouldn't be giving meds to anyone unless they're old enough to consciously approve of such a decision.
 
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