Home Original News Commentary: The Medicated Child and the Compliant Parent
Commentary: The Medicated Child and the Compliant Parent PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Meryl Barr   
Friday, 06 November 2009 01:23
pharmacyOn November 3rd, 2009 Frontline aired a program on the subject of a dramatic increase in the number of children being diagnosed with serious psychiatric disorders.


These overly prescribed and strong behavior modifying medications are now just beginning to be tested in children. In recent years, the number of children being diagnosed with bipolar, which is considered a mental illness, and ADHD is not only shocking, but very disturbing.

The program opens with a video clip of an activist protesting on behalf of children's rights and bringing light to this epidemic sweeping across the nation.

A lot of the credit for lighting a fire under the FDA goes to the much-maligned anti psychiatry movement and its most prominent spokesperson, Peter R. Breggin, MD.  Dr. Breggin the author of many scientific articles and books which includes Toxic Psychiatry, and Medication Madness: A psychiatrist exposes the dangers of mood- altering medications (2008), for years along with a few others have been the lone voices in pointing out how drug companies have essentially bought and paid for the psychiatric establishment. This includes lead academic researchers who have been paid to lend credibility to questionable industry research. According to Dr Breggin, this research, most of which is done on adults, has been used to "justify coercing unsuspecting kids into submission".

"The rates of bipolar diagnoses in children have increased markedly in many communities over the last five to seven years," says Dr. Steven Hyman, a former director of the National Institute of Mental Health. "I think the real question is, are those diagnoses right? And in truth, I don't think we yet know the answer."

The drugs can cause serious side effects, and virtually nothing is known about their long-term impact. "It's really to some extent an experiment, trying medications in these children of this age," child psychiatrist Dr. Patrick Bacon tells Frontline. "It's a gamble. And I tell parents there's no way to know what's going to work."

I was riveted to my seat watching in horror as a father made a desperate call to 911 stating "my daughter passed away in the night." A picture of a beautiful 4 year old girl staring back at me made me wonder, how could something like this even happen?

Jacob Solomon, a young boy of five, was initially believed to suffer from an attention deficit disorder. With over one million children diagnosed with either ADHD or bi-polar, his parents followed doctor's orders and reluctantly started him on Ritalin. Over the next five years, he would be prescribed one drug after another. "It all started to feel out of control," Jacob's father, Ron, told Frontline. "Nobody ever said we can work with this through therapy and things like that. Everywhere we looked it was, ‘Take meds, take meds, take meds.'"

Part 1 On Youtube

Over the years, Jacob's multiple medications have helped improve his mood, but they've also left him with a severe tic in his neck which doctors have trouble fully explaining. "We're dealing with developing minds and brains, and medications have a whole different impact in the young developing child than they do in an adult," says Dr. Marianne Wamboldt, the chief of psychiatry at Denver Children's Hospital. "We don't understand that impact very well. That's where we're still in the Dark Ages."

After watching this program in its entirety, I was baffled how so little parents know about the extreme dangers of these psychotropic drugs and their devastating side effects. In many cases, doctors will prescribe additional meds to combat the side effects from the initial prescription. Why are these doctors that so readily prescribe all these harmful experimental meds, not being asked by parents what the underlying causes might be?

I noticed one of the mothers whose young son was on a multitude of medications was speaking about how he has an insatiable appetite, just one of the many medication side effects. He was sitting at the table devouring corndogs and had a blue colored Gatorade to quench his thirst.

As a parent, the first thing I would want to be is educated. I would do my own research, go to a medical library, read the studies from the many medical journals that are available for reviewing, make copies, and ask questions. It is a parent's right to know what the potential short term and long term side effects might be and ask your doctor if the drugs he is so readily prescribing are in fact safe, if there were double blind placebo tests done, and to back it up with scientific proof, not just take their word.

Medicating, labeling, and having our children conform is not the answer. I would want my child tested for certain food allergies and heavy metals. Many parents don't realize their children can have mild or severe allergies to wheat and dairy. A more natural approach and an elimination of potential allergens might make all the difference in the world. I do observe what parents with young children throw in their shopping carts in the supermarkets A diet of processed foods, soft drinks, wheat and dairy (known food allergens) sugary snacks, cereals with food coloring added (known excito-toxins), are detrimental to a child's overall health and wellbeing.

I hope the day will come when parents will be secure enough to walk into their doctor's office or anyone they are being treated by in the medical field and not be intimidated to ask questions. Keep in mind, some doctors do not like being questioned and can get very defensive, after all, you are questioning their expertise. Don't just rely on one doctor's words, get second and third opinions. We as parents have the right and responsibility to protect ourselves and especially our children. Ask for manufacturer-independent studies proving the safety and efficacy of any medications being prescribed.

Be aware that many of these medications that you are giving to your children can cause great harm and in some rare cases, death. We already have a middle aged and elderly population that are unhealthy and overly medicated. Our children deserve better.


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Last Updated on Friday, 06 November 2009 02:02

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