Saturday, May 24, 2008

Drugs and Growing Brains

The Huffington Post has an interesting article on the emergence of the bipolar child and the increasing popularity of drugging children and teens with powerful psychiatric agents that have not been rationally tested for their impact on developing brains. Personally, unless my child was exhibiting unquestionable symptoms of an extremely dangerous disorder, I would hesitate to give them medication. Truly life-threatening psychiatric diseases in children have always been rare and having spent quite a bit of time around children, I don't think that their scarcity is due to a lack of diagnosis. A psychotic child is unusual.

Much like a psychiatric drug isn't going to cure a situational depression--prozac won't resurrect a loved one, for example--mood stabilizers are not going to eliminate children's tantrums, nor should they! Fiery tempers and intense rebellion are normal for the three and under crowd.

Drugs that manipulate brain chemistry should be the absolute last resort and if a child is involved, I would get a second opinion before medicating.

I guess drugging unruly children might be part of our Brave New World.