Skip to comments.Proof Is Scant on Psychiatric Drug Mix for Young
Posted on 11/23/2006 6:09:55 AM PST by shrinkermd
...Bottles of psychiatric medications fill the shelves. Stephen, 15, takes the antidepressants Zoloft and Desyrel for depression, the anticonvulsant Lamictal to moderate his moods and the stimulant Focalin XR to improve concentration. Jacob, 14, takes Focalin XR for concentration, the anticonvulsant Depakote to moderate his moods, the antipsychotic Risperdal to reduce anger and the antihypertensive Catapres to induce sleep.
Over the last three years, each boy has been prescribed 28 different psychiatric drugs.
Sometimes, when you look at all the drugs theyve taken, you wonder, Wow, did I really do this to my kids? said their mother, Tricia Kehoe of Sharpsville, Pa. But Ive seen them without the meds, and theres a major difference.
...Last year in the United States, about 1.6 million children and teenagers 280,000 of them under age 10 were given at least two psychiatric drugs in combination, according to an analysis performed by Medco Health Solutions at the request of The New York Times. More than 500,000 were prescribed at least three psychiatric drugs. More than 160,000 got at least four medications together, the analysis found.
Many psychiatrists and parents believe that such drug combinations, often referred to as drug cocktails, help. But there is virtually no scientific evidence to justify this multiplication of pills, researchers say. A few studies have shown that a combination of two drugs can be helpful in adult patients, but the evidence in children is scant. And there is no evidence at al
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Of course if these kids were not being medicated and they ended up going on a murdering spree (a la Columbine), these same people would be saying, "Where were the parents? Why weren't these kids getting the help they needed?"
It sounds as if the father is under the impression that the meds should be taking the place of parenting skills. Pretty indicative of our society's attitude toward meds.
No, EVERY time you look at your kids, you should be saying "How COULD I do this to my kids?"
Part of the "hyperactivity" trend in children is just the educational establishment trying to make children be passive and doped-up. Also, our grandparents worked when they were children (did chores on the farm or whatever) and that used up a lot of energy. People older than 40 were involved in sports, bicycle riding, etc. as children and that used up some energy. In the last 25 years or so children have been very restricted in the physical activity they are allowed to do. School sports are out because of political correctness and liability reasons. Most children cannot run around the neighborhood because it is no longer safe. So children have all this excess energy that is not given a constructive outlet. They are, essentially, physically constrained and given a steady diet of violent "entertainment" so it is no wonder there are so many problems.
I was a hyperactive kid and a bipolar adult. I was unmedicated as a child but was, for a time, heavily medicated as adult. With exercise and diet, I was able to get completely off meds.
I haven't been on a murder spree. Don't you think your comment might be a rather poor generalization.
Take those kids out of public school.
What a country.
Eric Harris (of Columbine) was on Luvox when he went on his spree
You are so right. I have 3 boys, 16, 15, and 9. All three are bundles of energy. My youngest will literally crash and burn when it's bed time and the minute his eyes open he's at a dead run. It breaks my heart that so many kids are so restricted. It's like they are busting out of their skin. My kids play organized sports and even when they are home they are outside, riding bikes, shooting hoops, playing hockey. Who is prescribing all of this medication? My pediatricians will not prescribe any such drug. I brought my oldest in for migraines, he wouldn't prescribe Imitrex or any migraine meds because he felt there was not enough research on the effects of these meds on children. And I also don't understand how this generation of kids have so many mental issues.
Very few do. But when they do, break out the where-were-the-parents-why-wasn't-the-kid-getting-help crowd.
If the phrase "murder spree" upsets you, then substitute assault, truancy, delinquency, or any other juvenile crime that grabs the headlines.
Where I live it is safe but the kids ride electric and gas powered scooters. Kids almost never play unless they have uniforms and are driven to a playing field mostly for soccer but T-Ball is also played.
The kids here are also over weight and lazy. I just don't know if things will ever get better given that is seems the parents allow this to happen.
Here's one potential reason for the mental issues. I go to church with some folks who have a foster child who's on so much and so heavy medication that when they have to change this kid's meds, they have to put the kid in the hospital and wean the kid off one before putting him on the other. My understanding is that the kid was a crack baby.
What happened to the good ol' days of my youth, when we used to mix our own...sigh...
IIRC almost all of the past killing sprees by students have been conducted by kids on psychiatric meds.
The kids at Columbine were being medicated.
What's your point? That he was getting the medication he needed, or that the medication produced his aggression?
Was Dylan Klebold on anything? What, therefore, can we conclude? Anything?
My point is that a discussion of the serious problem of over-medicating our children is further confused by suggesting that the failure to do so has anything to do with Columbine or murder sprees.
Wow! What are the odds, huh?
With almost all of the kids being on psychiatric meds, I would also think that almost all of the past killing sprees by students would have been conducted by kids on psychiatric meds.
Be that as it may, what's your point? That the parents are already taking care of their children or that the psychiatric meds are causing the crimes?
The same evening news that report on the War On Drugs is sponsored almost entirely by pharmecutical companies.
A pill for your stomach,a pill to sleep,a pill for sneezibng,a pill to have sex, a pill not to have a baby, a pill to kill the just conceived baby, a pill to induce calmness,a pill to......who would have belived Americans would swallow the b.s. ?
One was. But you say "kids", plural. Was Dylan Klebold being medicated?
Assuming they were, what's your point? Are you saying the parents were already dealing with the issue, or are you saying that the medications caused the killing spree?
So perhaps a drug mix would have prevented the spree?
This whole topic really bugs me, because there are good points made by both sides--but then they get generalized. Drug cocktails really DO work, and many people have given up on meds prior to finding that "magic combination"... yet on the other hand, many patients are on a whole mix of haphazard meds, without a look at how they work together and might be replaced by a simpler combo. And then there's the good old "parenting skills" idea.
Frankly, psychological/psychiatric disorders are culturally defined...that is, what might be considered schizophrenia in one culture might be considered prophetic shamanism in another. If the environment in which children are developing has changed, perhaps "normal" human biology is out of synch with the modern Western world. I have no doubt that the ability to adapt to an industrial, or information, culture is not the same in all people.
Thought for the Day - How Did We Survive?
Looking back, it's hard to believe that we have lived as long as we have. As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat. Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. Not to mention hitchhiking to our favorite spot!
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times we learned to solve the problem.
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. We played dodge ball and sometimes the ball would really hurt. We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank sugar soda but we were never overweight.... we were always outside playing.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment..... Some students weren't as smart as others so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade.....
That generation produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
Mike Holts Comment: I didnt make the Little League, I failed third grade, I didnt finish high school, I didnt have a father, and we were very poor. But, you know I had a great childhood.
My success in the electrical industry and as a family man is because I try to allow God to lead my life. He has taught me that I can accomplish much if I have the proper priorities in life and that is God first, the family, and last work. I have learned not to complain about life too much, nor to blame others for my failures, or make excuses for my performance. Gods given me the desire to succeed and the commitment to do what it takes to accomplish my goals.
Copyright © 2003 Mike Holt Enterprises,Inc.
From the responses so far on this thread to my "killing spree" comment, it seems to me that medicating the children is being used as the excuse for/cause of violence, not the failure to medicate.
Go figure, huh? Looks like "damned if you do and damned if you don't".
"medications caused the killing spree?"
I remember that both wer on drugs. They reportedly were laughing their asses off while doing the shooting. Sounds to me that the drugs were working just fine. /sarcasm
What??? I'm speechless.
lol...there you go again...adding depth to the shallows.
Yes, that scenario was an excellent indicator of the misunderstanding of meds. But then again, good ol' Doc Spock really screwed up views on parenting.
Are you reading the same thread I am? The only person making that assertion here is YOU.
It is a confusing issue all round.
These guys have had some success with various MI's especially bipolar DX's. I would hope the parents would at least give them a try.
"Worth a read by parents who have troubled and troubling children".
Parents themselves are often troubled and troubling....which might account for so many disturbed youngsters.
Let's medicate the adults first! See how they handle adversity.....wait a minute....perhaps adversity should be handled with a clear head...might build character....might even build a sane society.
I truly believe that some children, like the one you talk about are so emotionally scarred because of terrible infantancy and early childhood. However, the kid who has ants in his pants, maybe has alittle too much energy is not a candidate for medication. Some kids are just more of a handful than others, thats their personality. I have 3, none are the same. My oldest, extremely headstrong, will argue with a post, my middle, mellow, goes with the flow, nothing really fazes him, my youngest, lordy he is as sweet as can be but he does not stop moving until his head hits the pillow. All three of them could be considered in need of medication with the criteria that is now accepted. I think medication is definately necessary in extreme cases but, nobody ever said raising kids is easy, its extremely hard and not for the faint of heart.
In many ways, "mental problems" are a classic luxury item. A luxury item is defined as an item you spend a larger percentage of your money on the richer you get.
I've always thought that the poor people of the third-world struggling to survive would think it quite silly how many of our Beverly Hills-type rich require psychiatric care for their difficulties with life...
This is just as wholesome and as natural as god (Darwin) intended it to be.
Every child is now Elvis!
Eric Harris was taking Luvox at the time of the Columbine massacre. Dylan Klebold's medical records have been sealed, but the anger-management classes he and Eric were both taking would have required his use of anti-depressants.
Seriously, I my eldest (12) has ADD. Not ADHD, he's never been a hyperactivity or behavior problem in any way that we or his teachers (he attends a private Christian school) couldn't handle. He has ADD. He's absolutely on his own private planet with his own private zip code and area code a lot of the time, with a total inability to focus on even the most minor classroom or home tasks and will literally be distracted by a fly on the wall.
We were always the parents who "would die and go to **** before we'd put one of our kids on meds," but after much discussion, much research and much prayer, we did when he was 7. He took Ritalin for several years, but we took him off that because it was causing him to have eye tics. He now takes Strattera, a non-schedule drug that isn't really as effective as Ritalin ... it's not as sedating, the Ritalin was obviously sedating even though that's not what we were trying to achieve with the meds ... but it kind of keeps him between the lines on the road and keeps him on this planet and in our zip code and area code.
We hope he'll outgrow this with time and we can discontinue the meds. We're not there yet.
But other than him taking the meds, he's pretty much a normal child and we encourage him to do normal child things. He's not athletically inclined, like his dad he has six left feet and total uncoordination, but he plays in the band at school, has taught himself piano and guitar by ear, and sings in the choir and is very active in the youth groups at our church.
I agree with your assessment. I might add a couple more points* but your comments are right on.
I should ping the list to this one, maybe tomorrow.
*Such as the pounds of strange chemicals now added to food. And the miserable content of what passes for education, actually indoctrination. And the solid ground of culturally accepted moral absolutes that are now swirling down the drain. Sorry for the mixed metaphors.
Sounds like you come from the "drugs are the answer" generation.
R. Candace Pert, the scientist who discovered SSRIs (Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Luvox, etc.) is appalled that they are in general use.
You hit it on the head.
And these are the same folks complaining about the aging folks and their blood pressure meds. Just who is going to benefit most from a national health plan or increased private health costs? Looks like a level visit to the government trough to me.
As parents and aging adults, they have simply replaced their illegal, "amusement" drugs with legal prescription drugs-for themselves and their children/grandchildren.
Why are we surprised?!
I admire your faith and your willingness to consider all options to help your child. He is very lucky to have such caring parents. I have been in your shoes, and I know it isn't easy. I especially hated those who felt that I was a lousy parent, who didn't want to discipline my son, so I just put him on meds.
My son in now 16 and medication free. (His choice) He is in a private Catholic High school, and his grade average is an 87. (Not perfect but far better than previous) They do grow out of it, at least a little. He still struggles with executive function, but overall he is doing fine.
You are a good parent. There are many parents that would be too proud or stubborn to do what you did. I wish you and your son the best. Happy Thanksgiving.
Lokk, you made an uninformed comment and have been corrected. You know little about the shooting incidents or the problem of psychiatric meds or their side effects. You can stop already with the childish posts.
I've given this example before in discussions about medicating children about a non-med thing ... our school used (they changed this yeaer) Saxon Math, where they'll give kids about 50 equations on a sheet and the kids have a certain amount of time to get them done. Our son always had problems with that because giving him a sheet with 50 equations on it, it just seemed like everything blurred out on him and his mind couldn't pick out one to focus on. The meds helped, but my wife came up with the idea ... and his teachers had no problems with this ... of cutting a horizontal slot out of an 8.5 by 11 piece of white cardboard to where he could lay it on top of his math paper and would see only one row of equations at a time. Worked wonders. His teachers also ... and they've been universally wonderful to work with, I hate to make assumptions but I've always wondered if we'd get the same kind of cooperation in public schools ... will only give him one sheet of work to do at a time instead of multiple sheets, as they do the other kids. When he gets done with that sheet, then they'll give him another one. Again, it's worked wonders. And again, it's an example of the things you have to do aside from meds to do it right, a parent who tells a kid, "here, take your Ritalin and go away and don't bother me," is damaging, not helping, his kid, IMHO.
I said if the juvenile murderers weren't on medication, people would say they should have been.
Read posts 11, 17, 18 & 27. All are saying that the murderers were on medication, implying that the medication had something to do with the actions.
So, if the murderers weren't on medication they should have been. If they were on medication, then that's what caused it.
You are describing my middle son. We always laugh that he is in his own universe. He seemed to blossom once he got to the 7th grade. He is a freshman this year and is doing great. I believe your son will grow out of the need for meds. You and your family sound like you made your decision with great care. Unfortunately alot of people would rather medicate than parent. I talk to parents who say their kids are ADD and ADHD like it some sort of badge of honor.