Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I wish I had the energy right now to get up a proper rant

NYT's Duff Wilson gets down home and personal about the epidemic of prescribing psychmeds to little kids. On a good day, I would go postal on this, but hey, I've already done that and this is a good piece of journalism that covers the issues well.

What I will say, in calm and measured tones, is that the vast majority of the time, when a young child has serious behavioral problems, the reason is that something is wrong in the child's nurturing environment. The mother of the poster child in Wilson's story says it herself: "Ms. Warren conceded that she resorted to medicating Kyle because she was unprepared for parenthood at age 22, living in difficult circumstances, sometimes distracted. 'It was complicated,' she said. 'Very tense.'”

Kyle was ultimately drugged into a stupor, using powerful antipsychotics. He's was lucky enough to get into a program to get him off the drugs, and he's fine now. He isn't psychotic, he isn't autistic -- as a matter of fact there is no such thing as a psychotic child. Schizophrenia manifests in late adolescence or early adulthood. But according to Wilson's story, there are actually instances of antipsychotics being given to infants.

This is the most outrageous child abuse. It is perpetrated by the confluence of greedy, psychopathic drug company executives; improperly trained, overwhelmed primary care physicians; psychiatrists seduced by a depraved ideology that views human beings as vats of chemicals; and a selfish political culture that refuses to provide needy families and damaged children with the resources they actually need.

Giving antipsychotics to children, under any circumstances, should be a crime. No exceptions.


robin andrea said...

I completely agree. Drugging children into a stupor as a way to subdue and control their natural instincts is outrageous. Most definitely it should be a crime.

kathy a. said...

many children -- maybe even most -- have times that are very challenging to parents. psychotherapy with an experienced child therapist, focusing not only on the child but also on giving the parents tools, can help a lot. i can't see any reason at all for simply drugging young children with antipsychotics, instead of trying therapy and social support first.

i was pretty freaked out when i heard that my nephew alexander -- then about age 11, and the major therapies for his brain cancer had not worked -- was prescribed a low dose of haldol. this was after an incident when he threatened his family with a knife and screamed that he wanted to die. [alexander was the sweetest kid; this was so not in character.] they were all in family therapy, and he was in individual therapy; this small dose was an adjunct. and there is no doubt about the amount of stress on him and everyone at that point, even with excellent support. this was a tiny dose, but i think it helped him cope with those last months -- took the edge off the panic.

goes w/o saying that this was an extreme and unusual situation, with lots of oversight and med/psych support.

kathy a. said...

p.s. -- the major psych diagnoses that might justify antipsychotics simply cannot be made with young children. the effects on a growing brain of those meds are not well known, but cannot be good.

Cervantes said...

Why not give your nephew a benzo or a sedative under those circumstances? He obviously wasn't psychotic. Haldol makes no sense whatsoever.

kathy a. said...

well, i had no say. haldol does have sedative effects, and it was a very small dose. i would not have agreed as a parent, and i expressed concerns to his mom, but that was as far as i could go. my job was family support. i did make sure that and teh morphine and other meds were disposed of on the day he died, because his mom was not in a good place mentally.

roger said...

maybe you could take some ritalin for that lack of energy. quite a few years ago my mother was prescribed ritalin. she said it didn't affect her. i didn't know anything about it. i tried one. my prior youthful experimentation allowed me to realize quickly that ritalin is a kind of speed. as tho she needed something to make her think more. then i found out that docs give this to "hyperactive" kids, citing some sort of "reverse" effect.

what about that "first, do no harm" thing doctors are supposed to follow? i do like to quote, ironically or sarcastically, du pont company's slogan "better living thru chemistry."