America’s Medicated Kids

I didn’t know Louis Theroux had done a documentary on this subject: young children who get put on drugs for mental disorders. I have to admit I’m sort of scared to watch it, because either Louis Theroux is going to agree with the parents and take a huge fall off the pedestal I’ve put him on, or he’s not going to agree with the parents but it’s all going to be hopeless anyway as long as we keep seeing these children as problems who aren’t trying hard enough to fit in.

(I watched the first 5 minutes and so far I’ve already spotted the first professional saying of a 10 year old autistic boy that he’s improved so much because he makes more eye contact now. Seriously. Out of all the issues to focus on).

Update: since posting this, I have to admit I’ve adjusted my opinion on this issue. Yes, I still think people medicate too quickly and for reasons that have nothing to do with the kid’s wellbeing and everything to do with the world this kid is supposed to live in. The documentary gives a few poignant examples of that.

However, on the other end of the spectrum are kids like Charlie. Charlie feels better on meds. After reading his story and the way his parents have tried so hard to get him off meds, I have to say that yes, this sounds like a good solution for him (of course I don’t know him personally and I am not his therapist, but the story describes very clearly how Charlie’s wishes on the matter were listened to and taken into account).

So that means I was wrong to judge so harshly. I encourage you to read the blog at Outrunning the Storm and to watch the video here and make up your own mind. My opinion on the matter is not really that important. The important thing is to keep trying and keep questioning and never accept someone else’s ideas as a matter of fact UNLESS THEY ARE THE ONES AFFECTED BY THAT IDEA. That is all.

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11 thoughts on “America’s Medicated Kids

  1. My son is a six year old Aspie with OCD and Tourette’s syndrome. Medication would be a final resort for us–and not for “fitting in” or some subjective behavioral goal. Compulsions and tics can be so forceful that they can do serious harm (one young man broke facial bones due to upper body tics). We do not cope with such extremes, but I believe that medical intervention is sometimes necessary.

    With that said, I am horrified by the number of people who lunge for prescriptions when acceptance and accommodation are more appropriate. I hope to watch the clip soon, but , alas, I get anxious even thinking about it! 🙂

    • Yeah, there are plenty of cases where medication is a good idea and medically necessary. But there were just so many things in that documentary that made my hair stand on end. A mother saying of her 15 year old daughter that without medication, she was constantly rebelling and arguing. Yes. That’s called puberty. And a 6 year old on anxiety meds. Where the psychiatrist said that as soon as they had his OCD under control, they were going to start him on meds for his ADHD and probably antidepressants as well. *shudder*

      It’s one thing for an adult to say “Hey, this is a problem, I’ve tried a couple of things but maybe medication will make it easier for me to cope.” It’s a whole different kind of thing when parents give their children medication to make the children easier to cope with.

  2. You watched it all yet? If not, don’t worry about Louis – he’s brilliant as always.

    These kids are just normal, everyday kids that act up, push buttons and grind gears but with the misfortune of having really, REALLY crap parents.

    To add salt to an already gaping wound, the medical and educational staff seem even worse. They go along with whatever the crap parents want and just encourage more nonsense from other crap parents which means the only decent people I can see here are the kids and Louis Theroux. 😦

    • Yeah, I watched it yesterday evening. Louis is pretty awesome although you can tell he feels confused sometimes when other adults start explaining to him why their child can’t function in school, he doesn’t really ask any questions about that. So many heartbreaking things. Like the self-punishing aspie boy. And I think the OCD boy’s mother might be on the spectrum herself, the way she moves and talks and never questions the “experts”. Compliance.

  3. I just wanted to say thanks for adding the update above that you did. It is always very scary for me to talk openly about medication because i know so many people have such strong feelings about it, but I don’t want my son to think it is a shameful secret either that he takes it. So, I try to be open about it so he does not ever get the impression it is shameful to take it. Thank you for keeping an open mind.

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