Starting junior off on the wrong footsy

Parents, deserving of the title, don’t label their toddlers “mentally ill”, and dope them up on psychiatric drugs. Duh! That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking with it. Despite my feelings, feelings that I imagine to be shared with many other people in the world, according to an article in CNN, the incidence of the labeling and drugging of babies is increasing, Preschoolers on meds: Too much too soon? The three letter immediate response elicited by my viscera to this news is yes.

Take Shelby (not her real name), her mother’s problem…child!

The capsule contains 20 milligrams (mg) of Ritalin (methylphenidate), the prescription stimulant used to calm and focus children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). After dinner, Shelby takes more meds — 2.5 mg of Abilify and .05 mg of clonidine. The preschooler has been on daily medication since she was 2, when she slept only about four hours a night and threw frequent, violent temper tantrums that sometimes left her mother with bruises and bite marks.

This girl reaches her terrible twos, and wham, she’s on dope. Did nobody explain to her parents that the terrible twos can be a trying time, and that you shouldn’t try to drug this period of child rearing off the wallchart? Pharmaceutical products and very young children are not a good mix. Pharmaceutical products, pregnant women, and birth defects illustrate most vividly the importance of natural as opposed to chemical measures.

A psychiatrist at the local children’s hospital diagnosed bipolar disorder. For a year, Shelby was on increasingly potent doses of Risperdal (risperidone), an antipsychotic, and Depakote (divalproex), an antiseizure drug that’s also used to reduce mania.

Did this psychiatrist even bother to diagnose child? Should the doctor have done so, perhaps the doctor would have left more time for this individual to fuck up in before she was determined to be a terminal fuck up.

A psychologist objected to the bipolar label, suggesting instead that the child be labeled Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder with Obedient Defiant Disorder, and hopped up on Ritalin (i.e. speed). Obviously the conventional wisdom here has it that this child is not your perfectly normal kid. This kid, at 4 years old, is majorly fucked up.

I’m not so sure that there are so many child monsters out there as some deluded people might imagine. On the other hand, I feel certain there are probably many more adult monsters out there than we need. Given the proliferation of adult monsters, we have children early on labeled perpetual fuck-ups, and put on brain-numbing behavior-changing doses of chemicals.

In spite of the growing number of young kids taking psychiatric drugs, these medications (with a few exceptions) are not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in children under age 6. Why? Because little is known about how they affect the tiny brains and bodies of young children.

I think a little more is known about how these drugs affect tiny brains and bodies than these “experts” are letting on. When what is described as “help” is actually “harm”, regarding a drug you are trying to sell to the public, including the parents of toddlers, you have to twist the facts (be deceptive) a little bit in order to sell (profit from) that drug. Off label drug treatment, that is, drug treatments not approved by the FDA, are illegal. This is why drug companies have been facing some of the stiffest civil penalties in history. The problem is that the trillion dollar drug industry hauls in enough cash to be able to write off these historic fines fairly easily. We have another word for treatments not approved by the FDA, and that word is fraud. Snake oil hasn’t been approved by the FDA either.

If targetting the rich and powerful drug industry doesn’t work so well, in terms of a corrective, maybe targetting doctors who over-diagnose “mental illness” and over-prescribe harmful psychiatric drugs might work better. When doctors who break the law, rather than getting a mild knuckle rapping, can lose their license for breaking the law in this fashion, they will be less likely to break the law in the future. I suggest that law firms should initiate legal actions against those doctors who are the worst offenders in these matters. Among those doctors facing suits would be doctors who prescribe drugs to toddlers because very few, if any, of these drugs have been approved by the FDA for use on infants.

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One Response

  1. That is a really sad story about poor little Shelby. “Hey, everybody! The kid’s hyperactive! Let’s give her a stimulant!” Hyperactivity in a child does not necessarily equal ADHD. A bit too much sugar can turn the nicest of children into demons from Hell.

    It is hard to judge, although, when I am not the one trying to cope with Shelby but surely drugging her should not have been an option when she is so young. Bruises and bite marks? Watch Nanny 911 have nightmare children acting as good as gold within days.

    I cannot believe they have something called “Obedient Defiant Disorder”. Every child in the world has that!

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