This weekend the New York Times published an article that explored a family’s experience with an ADHD-diagnosed child and multiple psycho-pharmaceuticals. The article wasn’t out of the ordinary for its type; the NYT often publishes on the proliferation of ADHD-type behaviour diagnoses, and a few times each year on issues related to ‘behaviour’ drugs prescribed to young children and teens.
This article echoed a subject I noted in my Post 6. There, I noted researchers who were encouraging medicating ADHD-diagnosed children with both an anti-psychotic and stimulant. I found the idea repulsive, horrific and irresponsible.
Feature NYT articles usually include comments sections, but this one did not. I guess that, anticipating the flurry of ‘pro-drug’ and ‘anti-drug’ comments that these articles generally receive, the NYT avoided a ‘different article/same comments’ situation. And it’s true, the comments generally and predictably fall into the I’m-anti-Big-Pharma camp versus the don’t-tell-me-what-to-do-with-my-kid camp.
Undeterred, I went over to the NYT’s Motherlode blog and howled for a few paragraphs in an ‘open-thread’ comments section:
“Here’s my rant: I was depressed, horrified, and sickened to read ‘One Drug or Two? Parents See Risk and Hope’, that discussed drugging a six-year-old with anti-psychotics and stimulants.
Consider all the research, discoveries and achievements by humans in science, health, technology, humanities…but we can’t control a six-year-old without drugging and sedating him with brain-altering chemical cocktails? To what end: So that an agri-pharma corporation shows good second-quarter earnings for its hedge fund?
There is no evidence-based research supporting the mass drugging of children. It’s simply society’s most convenient behavioral control device. Immediate side effects are dismissed, ignored, or treated with more medications; long-term effects on brain and body health are unknown. And what of long-term effect on societies where million of adults were raised on psychotropic meds?
I had a wild, violent, uncontrollable child. I made unwanted but necessary sacrifices to treat, educate and heal him. He’s no longer violent. Shame on a society that drugs children instead of caring for them.”
My comment was followed by a supporter and a detractor. I replied to both, not because I want to duke it out online, but because this is an issue that genuinely interests me.
One reader replied:
“I want to second [Our Violent Child’s] “rant” on the “One Drug, or Two?” article. Let me start by asking: How about “none” as an option. The article repeatedly described the child’s home environment as chaotic, a riot, spirited, etc. The young mother seemed genuinely committed to her child, but also overwhelmed. All young children benefit from a calm, structured home life, but some children are particularly affected by disruptive environments?
Also, let me say that human beings have managed to raise children without drugging them into oblivion with speed and psychotropics for all of human history, and people in other countries still manage to do so. Go to the UK, or France, or Sweden- you won’t find whole classes of kindergarteners lining up to be handed their meds.”
“You’re absolutely right about home environments for these types of kids. A lot of them have overlapping ‘sensory’ issues, and are acutely sensitive to simply everything around them. But I disagree that anything would be better in the UK or France (where we lived). I would love to know if northern European nations fare better with these types of behaviour issues. Big Pharma has a long, long arm, and healing and developing these kids takes years, or significant institutional changes (ie how public school accommodates them).”
My detractor lashed out angrily: