. . . and it's not their genes either. – Dr. C

Archive for May, 2012

YKAS 2: It’s Gotten Much Worse

You may wonder why I do this.

Well, first, I’m a child advocate. There are millions of us, so I don’t claim special recognition. I suspect you are too.

Thirty years ago, however, when I became the Director for a new CASA program, a prudent judge taught me an advocate (a guardian ad litem in court) speaks not for children and their rights – many others do that – and instead an advocate speaks the words children would speak, if they could speak for themselves. Those are distinctly different perspectives. So, from their perspective, in their voice, our children would like to speak to us, to ask this question:

“Why do you give us so many chemicals for what seems to us to be regular ‘growin’-up’ behaviors? We’d like an explanation.

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Worrisome “mental health issues,” and other such dreadful terms, provides adults with what appears to be a thoughtful rationale for why a child is doing too much of one behavior, or not enough of another, usually at the wrong time, and in front of the wrong people.  It’s the extremes of childhood behavior that garner attention from adults, and for the past quarter century, like never before, we give them chemicals to bring them back to the “norm.”

Activity is okay, but not too much activity, and certainly not while in the classroom. Sadness?  Sadness is all right. It’s a common, childhood emotion. We all know that. We all know kids get sad. After all, you were a kid too. You know sadness, still.

Yet, when your child is sad too long, or when sadness is too intense, or when you’ve heard from your child’s school about their concern, quicker than you ever expected someone “comes up with a diagnosis.”  The same someone – or someone else – recommends you see a doctor, you do, and the doctor prescribes a chemical.

What you thought was sadness is depression you’re told, and depression means medical treatment. An experienced doctor will explain to you in as much detail as he can make you can understand – it’s all sounds so “scientific” – that your child has a “disease” or “disorder.” That’s the bad news. But wait. There is “good news” too. The doctor says you can worry less now because, finally, “we all know, at last, your child has a ‘disease’ that can be ‘treated.'”  You’re reassured, you thank the doctor for his “medicine,” and you give it to your child.

While sadness may be hard to treat – because sadness takes time and patience to go away – depression is a snap, as long as the right doctor can find just the right chemical in just the right dose. Never mind the pills don’t work. That’s why there are all those “med adjustments” along the way.

Those pills aren’t working as well as they used to, so says your doctor a few weeks later, because “the disease is so severe” or “we haven’t found the right dose” or “we need to try to a different chemical” or “we need to add a chemical to offset the ‘side effects’ that are blocking progress.”

To your dismay, many times you become a problem too as you begin to question results. You say you noticed some improvement the first week or two or three, but not anymore. At least, you’re told, you know what the problem is, and problems take time. But you’re not nearly satisfied. To whom do you turn to now?

Welcome, dear parent, to the Psychiatric Medical Model (PMM).

Unwanted behavior is “caused” by your child’s chemicals, and the solution is more fabricated chemicals. And, as you may already know, once you’re child is part of the PMM, it’s very difficult to get out. You may be accused of being “in denial” if you seek other ways to help your child. You also know you can’t really complain too much anyway. After all, this is medicine – at least you’re convinced of that much by now – and you don’t know about medicine. That’s why you went to a doctor in the first place.

Would you like to know the overall results of the PMM since it’s intrusion into the Medical Model 40 years ago? That’s easy. In a word: miserable.

The number of “psychiatric diseases” has increased by 1000% in 50 years (more than 400 new “diseases” since the 1950’s), and there’s not been a single cure. None. Ever. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) doesn’t even bother to make the claim. It’s members will boldly tell you they treat diseases, they don’t fix diseases. Period.

How bad is this “epidemic?” Very bad, if you are to believe to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a long time publicly-financed advertiser for Big Pharma: “Mental disorders are common in the United States, and in a given year approximately one quarter of adults are diagnosable for one or more disorders.” (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1ANYDIS_ADULT.shtml)

Of the 260 million adults in our country, the “scientists” at NIMH want you to believe 65 million adults have a “mental disorder.” This absurd claim, in the richest, most privileged nation on earth, goes without serious challenge, except for a few. And, dear reader, please keep in mind: there are no fixes to be found in the PMM. They offer you pills to ease “symptoms” only.

I must ask: Do you think one of every four people you know is “diagnosable?”

As parents, we want to make sure our children are receiving the best care available for their discomforts – of any kind – and we are encouraged to look to our trusted medic for relief. When it’s about yourchild’s behavior – of any kind – I will do my best to convince you this is a mistake. I’ll have a lot of help too, so you won’t have to take my word for it.

There’s another reason I do this.

After nearly 40 years in the profession, I’ve lost faith in academia and the varied professionals they’ve trained in the past several decades. Common sense has been hijacked by psychiatry.

Our country’s therapists, teachers, aides, social workers, and nearly all other child-care professionals attend endless workshops and seminars about the wonders of these chemicals.  They often become “state-of-the-art” experts in this “science,” and very vocal supporters.

As a result, it is increasingly less likely children exhibiting troubled or troublesome behaviors will be treated with words alone. Chemicals are seen, at the least, as a necessary supplement to treatment. If, as they are trained, they are right and chemicals really do address an underlying “disease,” then it would be professional malfeasance to deny parents the “benefits” of these chemicals for their children.

That, dear parent, is a big, big problem.

You see, professionals are ethically bound to help our children, by oath and personal conviction, and for most of them, that includes the use of all those chemicals. That makes them complicit in this false belief, yet morally on solid ground. They consider naysayers like me – and others – as heretics. Try to point out their misplaced loyalty to this false science and it’s undeniable, abject failure, and you’ll be met with scorn.

Scorn be damned.  As you’ll see, many of my colleagues publish in the right periodicals, they do detailed research, write remarkable books that expose the lack of science done by “Big Pharma,” they categorically expose the toxic nature of these harmful chemicals, they are dedicated, they are angry and frustrated, and some have done this for a lifetime. In my own way, I too have been in this uphill battle for nearly 40 years.

Our net results to date? What’s the “track record” for us psychiatric “naysayers” and how does that compare to the results of the PMM? Well, that requires two words: Equally miserable.

The only thing that has happened in the past 20 years is that the number of people taking psychotropic chemicals has quadrupled. And our kids? There are now more than eleven million children – eleven million – out of 50 million teens, pre-teens, toddlers and infants (yes, toddlers and infants) – who now are given these toxic chemicals. And the numbers are increasing. (http://www.chaada.org/Page3.html)

So, you can see, as I mentioned in the beginning – it’s gotten much worse.

Finally, let’s not forget the question our children raised at the beginning of this blog:

“Why do you give us so many chemicals for what seems to us to be regular ‘growin’-up’ behaviors?

They’re waiting for our explanation.  In order to do so, we’ll have to look at ourselves first.

NEXT YKAS ESSAY: Culture of Chemicals

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from birth to adulthood, a kid is a kid

After some thought and conversation, it makes more sense to do two posts. One for Your Kids Aren’t Sick (YKAS), and another for the Kids Korner (KK). More details will follow.

Thanks. Dr. C

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YKAS 1: Let’s Get Acquainted

This is a blog about psychiatry and the chemicals they sell to us to drug our kids.  It’s also a blog about temperaments and children, and ways to help parents.  I’ll have something to say about both as we go.  You may be surprised to learn the kind of chemicals we give to children has a lot to do with their temperament.

I’ll be writing about psychiatry as it’s currently practiced by most psychiatrists.  This will include the universities they graduate from – lets call them Academia – and the large pharmaceutical companies you buy your chemicals from – affectionately known on Wall Street as “Big Pharma.”

I’ll introduce you to some courageous professionals who have dedicated their careers, often to their detriment, to fiercely challenge our cultural belief that unwelcome behavior is evidence of a psychological disease.  Along the way, you’ll meet some courageous individuals who collectively refer to themselves as “psychiatric survivors.”

You’ll learn that psychiatric theory is nothing like the Big Bang Theory or The Theory of Evolution – and both have their own controversies – or any other scientific theory.  That’s because psychiatry isn’t science.

The Medical Model was developed for medical doctors to find treatment for illnesses of the body – flesh and bone – and psychiatry was not included.  Yet, psychiatry managed to nudge its way in, despite being an unwelcome addition to medicine.  Why unwelcome?  Because most doctors at the time didn’t think human behavior had anything to do with human medicine.  Neither do I, and neither does a growing number of professionals and lay people alike.  You’ll be hearing more from them too.  (You can read more about the Medical Model here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_model)

Did you know there was a time when Insulin Shock Therapy (IST) was the “state-of-the-art treatment” used to create comas for patients living in “mental hospitals,” especially patients with “schizophrenia?” Give enough insulin to someone and they would become “comatized,” and this would “treat the disease.”  You may find it worth your time to read the justifications the doctors used back then, as well as their proclaimed “successes.”  They sound a lot like modern-day psychiatric justifications and “successes.”  What finally made them stop this shamefully cruel “treatment?”  A new “invention.”  Neuroleptic drugs. (SEE:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insulin_shock_therapy.)

Mostly, though, this blog is about you, me, and our children.  Like no other time in human history, in the Western World, we are giving children daily chemicals, many of them toxic, to address our concerns about their worrisome behaviors.

That’s a key.  Their worrisome behaviors soon become our worrisome concerns.  What’s a parent to do?  We know.  Good parents follow the advice of their psychiatrist, because that’s what good parents do.  You wouldn’t deny your child other medication, so how could you say no to that “scientific” chemical that’s supposed to “treat” your child’s Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder, the long time leader in childhood psychiatric “diseases?”

ADHD is perhaps the cruelest of all childhood “diagnoses.”  “He’s too active and doesn’t pay attention” isn’t a disease.  Your child’s teacher is complaining, not your child.  This is a child management concern, and that begins with the adult.  If adults change their behaviors, children’s behaviors will follow – inevitably.

And, dear reader, please remember this isn’t an exercise in abstract ideas for me.  Over a long career, I’ve met several thousand troubled and troublesome children who, upon arrival, were sometimes taking two or three or four or five – or six – different chemicals.  When I had the last word, my staff and I reduced and then eliminated their “medication.”  Always with parents’ permission – and sometimes their insistence – we did so because, well, your kids aren’t sick.

By the way, a parent saying “no” to a psychiatrist prescribing “medication” for a child’s “disease” is getting to be a bigger problem than you may know.  In courtrooms and classrooms around our country, a brewing conflict is growing that may some day affect you and your child.  I’ll keep you informed.  I’m sorry to report, Big Pharma and Academia, working hand in hand, are not on your side.  They are on their side; the side that proclaims your child has a “disease” and you may not be able to deny him his “treatment.”

So, dear reader, blend our honest parental concerns with the myth that unwanted behavior is a medical condition best treated with some kind of man-made chemical, add in an incredibly lucrative business fully prepared to charge us for those man-made chemicals, and we have a perfect storm and a growing disaster.  Kids aren’t getting any better, and parents – teachers too – are even more frustrated.

What’s a parent to do?  I know your child’s behavior is often a concern for you.  While you may agree medicine might not be the only answer, you don’t get much help from the school either.  I’ll have some concrete, usable techniques for you and your children’s teachers as we get to know each other.

However, before we do, let’s get the rest of the bad news out of the way.

NEXT YKAS ESSAY: It’s Gotten Much Worse

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from birth to adulthood, a kid is a kid

I’ll always have something to say about children and temperaments, and much more as time goes on.  After all, this blog is about kids and how they behave, and you can’t talk about that without talking about temperaments.  Children are different, so we have to treat them different and, as you already know, that’s not so easy to do – is it?

Children arrive equipped.  About that I’m sure.  The rest is about their unfolding.  How we go about helping them discover their project begins with their innate temperament.  Following Keirseyan temperament theory, these are the four forms of temperaments of children:

NEXT TIME:  What do the four forms mean?  Why Stars, Squares, Spheres and Cubes?

A Very Private Practice

One day, a boy had to be hurried to the psychiatrist.  The doctor’s office called and said there was a last minute cancellation, and my supervisor picked me to take him to the doctor’s office.

I was a little nervous.  I had pestered this doctor with my questions, apparently to the breaking point.  I was nearly 30 by then, I had two kids of my own, and I wanted clear answers.  I don’t do well with platitudes.  I guess it showed.  At some point he decided he didn’t want to answer any more of my questions, especially when he found out I had a bachelor’s degree in sociology.  So, this time, I walked in with one of the boys and I quietly found a seat.  The boy was soon escorted to a room in the back where he would wait to see the doctor.

It was late in the day and the office was empty.  I took a seat just below and to the right of the sliding glass window where the receptionist was.  I was extra quiet.  After a few minutes, I was out of sight and, as I soon found out, out of mind.

About 10 minutes later, I heard the doctor approach the receptionist area.  The receptionist, I would learn, also did the doctor’s billing for Medi-Cal.  Her name was Evelyn.  I remember her name because, unbeknownst to the doctor, this is what I heard the doctor say to her, in no uncertain terms:

“God dammit Evelyn, how many times do I have to tell you?!  I don’t get paid for this diagnosis!!”

Hmmm.  As I was to learn in the next few years, the love of money really is the root of all evil after all.