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.
I was once working with a child who was also seeing a psychiatrist. Like many children with whom I work this child had numerous diagnoses: ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and Intermittent Explosive Disorder. However, when the mother would describe the child's behavior I would instantly think "trauma". I kept saying this to her, but she was swayed by the authority of the doctor and maintained his belief the child was mentally ill. Until her child told her he had been sexually and physically abused.
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 TODAY.com, 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.”
"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"
Throughout the years I've agonized when working with dual diagnosis clients who attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or any of their sister programs. Too often there are well-meaning people in the groups who take it upon themselves to give psychological or medical advice. All too often, this results in tremendous damage. One of the major offenders is the idea that any member of AA, CA or NA who is taking psychiatric medications is not "clean and sober". Not only is this bad advice it's not the official policy of AA.