Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This must stop

It's been a while since I've ranted about the pandemic of antipsychotic poisoning in children, but Christoph Correll and colleagues have just reloaded my cartridge belt. Previous studies of the adverse effects of antipsychotic "medications" in children have been flawed because most of the kids had previous exposure to these toxins and were already damaged. That made the new damage seem less.

Correll et al find that when kids are first given these poisonous substances -- aripiprazole, olanzapine, quetiapine, or risperidone -- they very quickly gain weight. A lot of weight, up to 20 pounds in less than three months in the case of olanzapine; and they develop lipid and metabolic abnormalities putting them at risk for diabetes and heart disease. Less than a third of the kids who were prescribed these "drugs," by the way, were diagnosed with schizophrenia; almost half had "mood spectrum" disorders, and a fifth had behaviors that adults didn't like.

The truth is that children are normally emotionally labile and it is not established in any way that there is any such thing as "bipolar" disorder in children; nor that the appropriate response to children whose mood swings or behavior is problematic for adults is to drug them. Most children with emotional and behavioral problems have been victims of some sort of trauma and that's what needs to be addressed, by getting them into a safe environment and providing them with trauma focused counseling which has been proven to work.

But more and more, we're just drugging them. In an accompanying editorial, Varley and McLellan note that in 2003-4, 1% of all pediatric outpatient visits resulted in the prescribing of an antipsychotic. This is a crime on a massive scale. The drug companies got these substances approved for use in adults, but most prescribing in children is still off-label. Nevertheless insidious marketing, much of it the work of physicians who take big payoffs from the companies, such as the distinctly odious Joseph Biederman of the World's Greatest University has produced this epidemic of poisoning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How can it? Stop?

I know 2 middle class families in the US, each has one child who is drugged.

Just the one sibling is singled out; the brothers and sisses are said to be doing fine - never mind that one smokes in secret, another .... well no more need be said. To make a caricature, one child is forced to take Ritalin (or fill in whatever substance) and a sibling is selling it on the black market....

But that seems to be a badge to respectability, the parents doing their best.

One of these families is completely opposed to vaccines as ‘dangerous’, horrendous, etc. The other is ‘meh’ about that issue - they will follow advice from professionals.

The pressure to perform is not just to be quiet in class and ‘respect the teacher’ (many of whom support drugging), but to learn to ‘concentrate’, ‘succeed’, etc. but mostly it is the parents wishing to show white hands - that they are conventional, proper ppl, doing the best they can in their society, that they do the max for their children, that the children are difficult, they follow professional advice, they belong to the mainstream, are not nay-sayers, conspiracy theorists, rebels of any kind.

See, it used to be the fashion to beat / scare to death children. 1850 - 1930, Anglo world. Parents who were ‘soft’ and ‘delicate’ and went for ‘understanding’ were stigmatized, and they caved in because it affected their children’s future. They beat their children, in the sense that they left the beatings to others.

Personally, imho, whacks on the bottom, or even lashes, are less damaging in the long run trhan 5 years of psychotropic drugs.