The Drugging of Abused Children

Foster children, traumatized by abuse and/or neglect, are frequently prescribed psychiatric medications at a much higher rate and at much higher doses than children in the general population.  But psychiatric medication is not the treatment for trauma, psychotherapy is.  

As these children grow up and age out of the foster care system, what will they have to say about their psychiatric treatment and the medications they were given?   

Documentary film makers Karen De Sa and Dai Sugano asked that very question in their film, "Drugging Our Kids".   The documentary examines the over-prescribing of psychiatric medications for children in California's foster care system.  The issues discussed in this film are not isolated to California.  Texas, the state in which I practice, has one of the highest rates of psychiatric medication prescribed for children in foster care.  This is a problem across the United States.   

The film examines the practice of using psychiatric medications as a chemical straight jacket to tranquilize problem behaviors.  I have seen the very long lists of medications prescribed to these children, as well as, the long lists of diagnoses that are given to them.  Rarely do these diagnoses contain Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  For children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect you would expect PTSD to be the primary diagnosis.  However, I more frequently saw;  ADHD, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, oppositional behavior disorder, depression and anxiety disorders.  Rarely is consideration given that the behavior these children are exhibiting is most a result of the violence and neglect they have experienced.  They are simply labeled as behavior problems and medicated.  

Diagnosing Mental Disorders: “We made mistakes that had terrible consequences”

Are psychiatric diagnoses valid?  I'm beginning to wonder.  At best, they are sometimes misapplied to the point of becoming meaningless.  At worst, they are causing great harm both psychologically and physically.

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Are We Overmedicating Our Children?

 Today Moms has an interesting article asking just that question. 

Some excerpts from the article:

“I give my younger daughter Benadryl and Tylenol almost every night – she loves the taste and begs for it.”

“I gave my child Benadryl to go to sleep – years later now, I am still embarrassed to admit it.”

“I gave my child Benadryl when he was mildly congested to guarantee he would fall asleep on time so I could get to bed at a decent hour.”

But turning to medication just to get your kid to sleep indicates a deeper problem.  According to Dr. Nancy Snyderman, medicating your children “every day is not OK. Drugs are never an OK substitute for parenting.” “If a mother is drugging a kid that much, it’s a parenting issue.”

And Today's Moms contributor Wendy Mogel states, “Moms are so nervous – what if she doesn’t get to sleep, then she’ll be tired and she has a math test tomorrow and then after the math test we have to go right to soccer practice…” Mogel told, her voice trailing off to indicate the never-ending to-do list that lives in every mom’s mind. “We’re taking shortcuts because parents are desperate.”



An Important Discussion of ADHD on Yahoo Answers

I ran across this discussion regarding ADHD on Yahoo Answers and was encouraged.  To tell you the truth, I have had a lot of children brought to me who were diagnosed with "ADHD", but I have never seen them manifest the symptoms required to meet the diagnostic criteria.  I'm truly starting to question whether the disease even exists. 

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Generation RX - The Effects of Capitalism on the Practice of Medicine

"To call normal children diseased, abnormal, chemically imbalanced.  To make patients out of them for profit.  This is not only anti-scientific, it is contrary to our Hippocratic oath.  It is immoral, and it should be exposed and stopped."

Dr. Fred A. Baughman, MD
Neurologist and Author
As quoted from the movie, "Generation RX"

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