Mood Stabilizers Feed

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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Psychiatric Medications as a "Crutch"

Throughout the years I have worked with several clients who were criticized or rebuked by family members or Alcoholics Anonymous sponsors for using psychiatric medications as a "crutch".  Yes.... and?

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Alcoholics Anonymous and Psychiatric Medications

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.

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When Childhood Bipolar Disorder - Isn't

I really have a problem with the recent surge in diagnosing children with Bipolar Disorder.  The children I see with this diagnosis are often the victims of serious issues at home, issues which may even include abuse.  Some struggle with PTSD and the mood swings which are inherent in a traumatized individual are attributed to "Bipolar Disorder" and medicated. 

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DSM V and the Diagnosing of Human Behavior

http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/display/article/10168/1425378?pageNumber=4

A recent story in U.S. News and World Report states, "The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, as it is known, is hugely influential because it determines what is and is not a mental disorder. In turn, it is responsible for much of the sales growth in prescription drugs."  In a recent article in Psychiatric Times Dr. Allen Frances discusses his concerns about the way the next version of the DSM is being formulated and the possibility that formerly normal human behaviors will be become "medicalized".   

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Great Blog Find - Furious Seasons

Furious Seasons is a great blog about mental health issues, especially the effects of Big Pharma on psychiatric practices.  The author is a journalist who is not only fighting for his own mental health, but providing valuable information for others battling the same issues.  His coverage of the pharmaceutical companies and prescription medications is especially well-documented and worth your time. 

Enjoy.