Catching ‘Em Early

The Duluth News Journal just published a fact sheet on mental illness
and children, Facts about mental illness in children.

When you can’t identify a cause for it, when you can hardly say what exactly it is, how can you purport to be delivering folks the facts on the subject!?

What this fact sheet isn’t telling anyone is that childhood mental illness
was rare to non-existent until relatively recently.

Half way down we come to the real subject of this fact sheet.

The most common forms of mental illness in children and adolescents are anxiety, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Anxiety is particularly prevalent among children. I think it has something to do with not being an adult.

When 1 in 10 people in the USA are taking antidepressants, you’d figure depression would come in there somewhere. The drug companies wouldn’t be where they are today if they didn’t look after their marketplace. One of the outlets of that marketplace is in the schoolhouse.

Then there’s ADHD, childhood’s very own disease. Yeah, right! If you can’t manage to outgrow this one, now we have an adult version of it. The idea of just letting children be children has grown archaic. Bam, bam, bam, and that square pegs just gotta go into that round hole. We’re going to make successful adults out of you maggots if it kills you.

I often wonder about those parents who seem to hate their children.

Sometimes one diagnosis can lead to another and more serious diagnosis. This fact sheet doesn’t deal with those newer and more disturbing childhood disorders such as childhood schizophrenia and childhood bipolar disorder.

A Harvard doctor, one Joseph Lieberman, sometime during the 1990s got this brilliant idea that some of these kids labeled ADHD were actually early onset Bipolar Disorder sufferers. After this serendipitous discovery on his part the overall Bipolar rate in this country jumped 40 fold.

Dr. Lieberman is one of those doctors being investigated by the US Senate for conflicts of interest in concealing the extent to which his funding came from the pharmaceutical industry.

Label a kid, put him or her on psych drugs, and there is a good chance that he or she will pursue serious mental illness as a career path.

Let me close this blog post by pointing out that there are better things to do with your children than giving them psychiatric labels.