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.
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
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