The continuing medication of Americas' youth...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by blackfox, Jun 2, 2004.

  1. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #1
    I do not know if anyone else finds developments such as this troubling...although I admit my aversion to the administration of drugs to teens(or younger) stems from personal experience (not myself, but close friends) and a distrust in pharmaceutical solutions to complex problems. I am of the personal belief that a youthful mind, especially a teens, going through emotional and hormonal changes, is a poor template for drug-based solutions, as I believe that they are indicitive of a symptom-relief approach, while doing little to solve the underlying causes of depression, whether societal in nature, or personal...the people I have known have become, in the long-run, worse for their efforts under a prozac regimine, especially if they have tried to stop usage...these have all been late-teen, early 20's individuals. I admit, my sample-size is not necessarily indicitive of the larger picture, and in many cases I am sure it has helped individuals regain some control over their lives. Still, I feel studies like this, although independant (or perhaps because they are), can only increase the trend to medicate our youth, which I feel is a poor direction to head...also, in the study, although downplayed, there is still the increased risk of suicide among a small portion of Prozac takers, which seems painfully ironic, to say the least...indeed even within the study, the only participants who attempted suicide were prozac recipients...
    I could go on, but I believe you get the point...comments?
     
  2. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #2
    Drugs are neither good nor bad. They are neutral. The problem is usually in the prescribing. When a GP prescribes psychotropic drugs, that is bad; that should be left to psychiatrists.

    Using an anti-depressant for a teenager depends on the teenager. If the child has been experiencing depression since before puberty it is likely a good thing. This is often a sign of a biological condition. If the child is depressed because his/her parents got divorced or other life factors than talk therapy is going to be a better solution. Said child needs to learn coping skills. If said child is depressed because of raging hormones, best to let it be. That is normal. What is not normal is suicidal ideation, self-inflicted harm, etc. Then you have a more serious problem.

    There is no single answer here. Each person is so different and so is each circumstance. That is why there are those who specialize in treating adolescent mood disorders.
     
  3. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #3
    This is imo, a dangerous misconception. Drugs are tools/technologies and while popularly thought of as neutral, they are not. They tend to reinforce certain ways of thinking and societal organization. For example, Nuclear power inherently requires a centralization of power and a heirarchal command structure/organization, while Solar power inherently tends towards simpler, de-centralized organization. Think carefully about the technologies surrounding you,and how they have necessarily affected the societies they're embedded in, inlcluding the pharmaceutical/Western medicine approach to health.
    BTW, I agree with most the rest of your post... :)
     
  4. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #4
    This whole drug thing for "troubled teenagers" gives me a serious case of the splutters.

    Rant mode on: What is it with people who have kids but don't want to exercise the necessary responsibility to raise the poor little devils? Why do they have kids in the first place? Can't they connect two events, nine months apart?

    They're not trying to help these "tt" kids at all. They're using tranquilizing drugs to create some serenity in order to have peace and quiet at home or in the classroom, in lieu of assuming adult responsibilities.

    All teenagers are troubled, to some degree. Lord God Almighty, I look back on my teen years and my son's teen years, and I can recall all manner of conflicts. BFD. Not just in my own family, either. But we danged sure got it resolved without drugs.

    Rant mode off.

    Sure, some kids need medical help. I saw a good bit of it during my mother's career as a mental health clinic director. And she worked closely with the local school systems, educating them about the utility of counseling. Even with those contacts, the percentage of all kids with serious troubles was one helluva lot less than in today's world--and it wasn't all that long ago.

    Sorry, I refuse to believe that there's something in the air or water that's jacked up the percentage of kids needing heavy-duty help. My view, based on various news articles, is that these psychotropic drugs have become a panacea to parents and schools, and a cash-cow for the drug companies.

    And a cash-cow for the pshrinks who are fattening off the deal.

    Cherchez le dollaire...

    'Rat
     
  5. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #5
    Our diagnostic tools have improved quite a bit. As has societies acceptance about asking for help and seeking treatment.
     
  6. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #6
    No doubt, Neserk, no doubt. Howsomever, I keep running across "percentage of all student" numbers which seem to me to be unbelievable or unreliable as to how many are prescribed some psychotropic drug.

    Does anybody here have any reliable information?

    'Rat
     
  7. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #7
    On what specifically. I can probably find it!
     
  8. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #8
    'Rat (or whomever) here are some factoids (from the US Dept of Special Education)
    ...although the source may be misleading...while there were facts about autistic and mentally-challenged individuals, these facts pertain to kids who are just classified as having "behavior" or "emotional" problems to any degree....

    *EDIT* There were some really nifty charts and graphs, but I couldn't figure out how to bring them here...
     
  9. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Thanks, blackfox, that's what I was looking for.

    To me, those are scary percentages. It is extremely difficult for me to believe that roughly one-fifth of those aged 10-14 are truly in need of medication.

    Thinking back, my classes during those grades ran somee 30 students. 20% = 6. Sorry, but it was rare for more than one to actually be a problem for the teacher.

    It's all well and good to speak of better diagnostics, but when the "clues" include behavior, and there has been an obvious and open degradation into this anti-social behavior, it ain't a medical deal. The chemistry of our brains has not changed this much in a mere 55 years.

    To me, it's cultural, and for the most part the drugs are merely a copout.

    'Rat
     
  10. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #10
    While I agree that much of the problem is manufactured, there have been more and more studies pointing to other reasons. TV and video games for one, sorry, no links for this. I do remember though, that studies have shown that kids exposed to constantly flashing images and sound bites have a much more difficult time reading and concentrating.

    Now that the MMR jabs have been shown not to cause autism, more research is looking at environmental pollution as a possible cause. Whether it's true or not is anyone's guess but chemicals can mess up the brain pretty darned quick. Most studies only show the degradations caused by a single chemical but let's face it, we're exposed to hundreds every day and there is no doubt that kids are much more susceptible than adults.

    Whatever the root cause it's sad to see even more chemicals being stuffed down kids' throats.
     
  11. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #11
    My mother got her doctorate in Psych in 1942; she had been teaching in the UT psych department for some years, and continued to 1950, leaving for a Fulbright Professorship.

    She later was the best--the Troubleshooter Lady--of 16 mental health clinic directors in Florida, closing out an 18-year career in 1972.

    Over the years, I've done a good bit of brain-picking. (I grew up listening to her and her friends "talk shop".) One subject was autism; the daughter of a friend of mine became so-afflicted.

    One cause is lack of attention, lack of affection. Not enough holding and cuddling; not enough "parenting". Not enough inteaction with other people. That's why the nurses in the maternity wards hold and cuddle infants during the few-days' stay before the baby is taken home.

    Leaving an infant to spend most of its time in a crib or playpen is detrimental. I'm guessing that if this is coupled with "permanently-on TV", to avoid the direct interactions of my-era parenting, the stage is set for problems.

    I'm not claiming there are not other causes or contributary behaviors, but what I've described above is a known cause. And it surely fit the pattern of my friend's and his wife's behavior at home.

    'Rat
     
  12. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #12
    That makes sense to me, in today's hectic world it is all too easy to ignore the kids in favor of career and self. No easy answer for that one other than more awareness.

    The Beeb has a good article here about the effects of chemicals on children and their behaviour. PCBs make girls more masculine and boys less so.

    That is pretty scary. Quite a price to pay for progress.
     
  13. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #13
    I don't think it is possible to say for sure *why* more children are being diagnosed with things like ADD, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, etc. There are far too many factors. Biology is one factor (especially for the last two). There has been a major change in our culture. I know the kids I see in the classroom act completely different from how I behaved (along with my peers) in the classroom. I was in one particular class of 20 students and 3 of them had obvious, already diagnosed, behavioral problems. I can't say for sure what they were (maybe at the end of summer I'll be able to tell you).

    Children who come from problem families where there is violence, drug abuse, etc is are at risk. Diagnosis is more prevalent. I know there wasn't a psychologist or counselors (not talking guidance counselors, here) in the public schools I went to but today you have one per school (at least in CA).

    I think *most* of the change in numbers come from better diagnostics and people just being more and more aware. And I suspect for every child who is misdiagnosed with something there are 2 others who are undagnosed. All keep in mind that diagnostic criteria changes.

    Okay, done rembling.
     
  14. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #14
    "There has been a major change in our culture. I know the kids I see in the classroom act completely different from how I behaved (along with my peers) in the classroom."

    Well, yes. But, doesn't this mean that the problem arises from how kids are (not) being raised, rather than anything biological? That the use of psychotropic drugs is a palliative, meant only to achieve peace and quiet from the "little darlings"?

    Seems to me the changes in our culture are negative, insofar as raising kids is concerned. Consider this: In an era when sub-teens fairly commonly had their own .22 rifles and anybody could have the USPS deliver a new and unregistered pistol, there were no events whatsoever to even remotely resemble "Columbine".

    'Rat
     
  15. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #15
    Ever been in a classroom with a child with ADHD or other behavioral problems? I can assure the ritalin, etc. may *help* but it certainly does not achieve "peace and quiet" usually it means the child can be talked with and will respond to positive reward and/or consequences.

    We've gotten way off discussion here. The original article was on using psycholtropic drugs for treatment of depression, was it not?
     
  16. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Sure, but it seems reasonable to explore some of the reasons for what seems to be a lot more of a problem in the here-and-now than it was in the yesterdays.

    I doutbt your or my remembrances can be shrugged off as "anecdotal", given the number of published articles on the subject which bear out our memories.

    'Rat
     
  17. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #17
    of course. But you are going to end up back in the mess of recognizing the cause of the problem (for the sake of simplification and argument lets say it is too much tv) and can't do a thing about it. We certainly don't want the gov't legislating how much tv a child can watch do we?
     
  18. Voltron macrumors newbie

    Voltron

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    #18
    Nor should the cure for watching too much tv be drugging a kid.
     
  19. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #19
    i can't imagine that the widespread allocation of guns to kids is going to cut down on depression and behavioral problems. a tiny bit of me wonders if shootings would actually go up.

    if the times were different, the circumstances were. i doubt the causality was guns, i suspect that was a manifestation.

    i'm looking at parenting, and society's expectations of what good parenting is. at some point, the national focus shifted away from the family and towards consumerism.
     
  20. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #20
    No, no, no, zim. The "agents of violence" such as knives and guns were common possessions for all us kids. Well, most, anyway. Any kid without a pocket knife was considered to be deprived.

    My point is that withal, we didn't consider using them for our schoolyard violence. Heck, even the few fist-fights were peer-monitored, with "one-on-one" being the norm, and mostly allowed only if the kids were reasonably evenly matched. I'm serious: If a big guy tried to start a fight with a little guy, it woudl be stopped and the big guy ostracized. And ganging up on one guy was seen as very shameful and cowardly.

    Hey, I had my share. I was the tall skinny kid with glasses who made mostly "A"s. I was a walking target. Generally, a few punches for honor's sake and it was done. I probably lost more than I won, but no great harm was done to either combatant. :)

    We certainly didn't have the degree of hostility that seems common today, per the media's news articles and analyses. Sure, there were the sullen, "chip on the shoulder" kids. There were the young hellions. But it was all at a much, much lower level.

    'Rat
     
  21. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #21

    Well, for one thing you didn't have as much *realistic* violence on TV or in movies or video games...
     

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