eh.... Believe it or not, I feel a bit torn about this subject. I'm not sure that there is a real discussion going on here. It seems much more like a
group condemnation of the use of psychotropic drugs used to treat ADHD, depression, and anxiety.
I agree wholeheartedly that medication is overprescribed in this area. This is largely due to the fact that many "patients" can easily
self-diagnose themselves after seeing the commercials for certain drugs, and many doctors, who may have a family practice and NOT be a psychiatrist,
will sympathetically prescribe these drugs to the said patient. Psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, and other chemical-free treatments for such
"disorders" are rarely covered by insurance, discouraged by parents, mocked by peers, and difficult to use covertly. This is often not the case with
drugs such as paxil or ritalin.
In the case of a three and 1/2 year old, we have a special situation. Plus, the medication was prescribed for a rare and somewhat contraversial
diagnosis: Selective mutism. Many people would agree that a child who refuses to speak or interact with other people other than their parents at such
a young age is showing signs not of a disorder but of a natural, although uncommon shyness.
It's hard to know exactly what the point of prescribing these anti-depressant drugs are, because no research has been done on such a young
population. So, like the rest of you, I would disagree with the prescription.
But, if there was a 3 1/2 year old who was acting out self-mutilation and putting themselves at serious risk at a critical period of their
social and intellectual development and there was good research showing that the use of anti-depressants could stop these behaviors and allow for a
more "normal" development, then I say the child should take them.
I can hear it, "more normal development?!!:? MIND CONTROL!!!!". Well, in a way I guess. But we should remember that if certain skills and
cognitive abilities are unable to be explored and used at a young age, they will not develop fully and will be retarded permanently. So what initially
looks like mind control is actually a way to allow a person to develop a much wider range of possibilities, cognitively, intellectually, and
I believe that this holds true in some very debilitating cases of mental illness. While among ourselves, even on this thread, we have cases of
people who have been prescribed psychotropic medication only to reject it and flourish anyways, this does not mean that everyone else must do the
same, especially in very severe cases. Telling someone to "get over" a severe case of depression or anxiety is like telling them to "get over"
cancer. In these cases, medication may actually offer more freedom.
I hope that my post does not come off as an endorsement for psychotropic medication, because that is not what I intended. I just wanted to add
a bit of "grey" to the discussion and caution against a dogmatic rejection of a certain form of medical technology.
Also, I feel that the term "anti-depressant" is a bit of a misnomer, as these drugs are not used to simply treat depression in a clinical
sense or "the blues" in a popular sense. They are used to change the way the brain uses and reacts to certain neurotransmitters, not just make
someone "happy". Some of us know personally that these drugs certainly do not make one "happy", and there are already reports that they may make
some individuals more suicidal.
As fun as it may be, I think we should avoid painting all parents who allow or encourage their children to take these medications as "lazy".
This may be the case with some parents, but I think the real culprit is a widespread case of scientific illiteracy, which works to the advantage of
the drug companies.
Plus, simply because one publicity-hungry psychologist or psychiatrist forms a diagnosis and applies to a child or has a quote in a news story,
does not mean that there aren't a thousand other psychologists who are saying that this is total BS, that there are no good diagnostic tools
developed for these diagnoses, and that more research needs to be done before any kind of solid conclusion or protocol can be formed.
On a final note, I too was diagnosed with a "disorder", I took the drugs for a couple months, didn't like the way they made me feel, and
just accepted my personality as it is. Did I conquer the drugs.... or did the drugs finally make the change in my head... and allow me to accept
[Edited on 14-2-2004 by phaedrusxxx]