This article in the New York Times was an eye-opener. It is the story of a young boy put on a litany of drugs beginning at age 18 months because of temper tantrums. The cocktail of drugs used on this baby is shocking:
Thus began a troubled toddler’s journey from one doctor to another, from one diagnosis to another, involving even more drugs. Autism, bipolar disorder, hyperactivity, insomnia, oppositional defiant disorder. The boy’s daily pill regimen multiplied: the antipsychotic Risperdal, the antidepressant Prozac, two sleeping medicines and one for attention-deficit disorder. All by the time he was 3.
This little baby became a drooling zombie. His mother stated his eyes were blank.
The side effects of these drugs on a developing human are not completely known, yet doctors continued to prescribe drugs - often to treat the side effects of the drugs already prescribed! Now that he has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Activity Disorder - they state he should never have been prescribed those drugs in the first place. As a developmentalist, I cannot tell you how appalled I am that a baby was put on drugs of this magnitude and in this quantity. There is no way a doctor can know, with any certainty, that this baby suffered from these disorders.
The Legos that the children played with in one psychiatrist's waiting room were stamped with Risperdal, then manufactured by Johnson and Johnson. (The office has since removed them.) Somehow all those sweet smelling lotions manufactured by that company are starting to stink, in my opinion. Here are the side effects of Risperdal:
Anxiety; constipation; cough; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; fatigue; headache; increased appetite; increased saliva production; indigestion; lightheadedness; nausea; restlessness; runny nose; stomach pain or upset; trouble sleeping; vomiting; weight gain.
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur when using Risperdal:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing or swallowing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); abnormal thoughts; confusion; drooling; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; inability to control urination; increased sweating; new or worsening mental or mood changes (eg, aggression, agitation, depression, severe anxiety); seizures; severe dizziness; stiff or rigid muscles; suicidal thoughts or attempts; symptoms of high blood sugar (eg, increased thirst, hunger, or urination; unusual weakness); tremor; trouble concentrating, speaking, or swallowing; trouble sitting still; trouble walking or standing; uncontrolled muscle movements (eg, arm or leg movements, twitching of the face or tongue, jerking or twisting); unusual bruising; vision changes.
Seriously - can you imagine giving a baby this drug?
Why, you ask? Because it's cheaper and it makes big money for pharmaceutical companies. Low income families are the biggest target of these drugs. I recently read a comment by a fellow blogger talking about the differences in television commercials in Canada and the US. She said Canada's commercials are about home improvement, cleaning supplies and travel. The US is about cars, drugs, and something else that slips my mind - probably because I mute all commercials or fast-forward through them.
Bottom line - if your doctor is prescribing any psychotropic drug for your children or grandchildren, then they absolutely need talk therapy. The number one point made in my abnormal psych classes was that drug therapy, without talk therapy, does not work. Especially for adolescents who have drastic mood swings, mostly caused by increased androgens. These are the hormones which control male sex traits and development, also influencing female sexual behavior. All normal developmental systems! It is only through talking with a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist can you know if your teenager also needs drug therapy. And if it was my child and the psychologist or psychiatrist wanted to use drug therapy, I would be tempted to get another opinion. I think drugs often mask issues that need to be worked on, and sometimes there is no quick fix. Sometimes parents are part of the problem, and what's really needed is Family Therapy. Just saying...
I know I seem to be on a drug rant this month, but drugging babies sent me over the edge.