Childs Play: Treating The Insanity of the Mental Health System
In today's mental health system there is a pattern of fraud and coercion that takes way the freedoms and dignity of children and their families. Children are receiving stigmatizing labels and being prescribed psychotropic drugs with many untoward effects. Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, MD made the comment that if an individual hit us with a blackjack and robbed us of our dignity we would call them thugs, yet psychiatrists label and drug children and rob them of their dingity and nothing is said. All in the name of profit. Rarely, if never are the families given informed consent. Szasz has also stated, "From a sociological point of view, psychiatry is a secular institution to regulate domestic relations. From my point of view, it is child abuse." Families are provided with literature that appears so matter of fact but is funded by the pharmaceutical companies and tainted with their bias. According to the Pughkeepsie Journal, the 'support' or should it be said front group for Children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder received substantial funds from the pharmaceutical companies: "CHADD received $315,000 from drug companies in the year ending June 2000, about 12 percent of its budget."
Children are being beaten, improperly restrained, physically and sexually abused, and emotionally scarred in residential treatment programs. Juvenile probation officials are failing to understand the emotional distress of our children, they are submitting to this "psychiatric Gestapo". Educators rather than finding new methods of shaping our children's learning are falling into the trap of psychiatric 'solutions' as well. Never could it be that a school has simply failed to help a child learn, rather it is always the child denigrated and labeled as 'disordered'. There are loving and concerned parents, and there are others who lack love and compassion towards their children. There are loving and concerned parents who become duped by the 'professionals'. Below are some actual stories of experiences in my work as a therapist with children as well as one story submitted to me by a concerned and struggling parent. I share them to give some perspective as to what is occurring.
I share this scenario because sadly it is becoming a frightening reality: A child is considered overly active and has behavioral issues at school. The school staff may recommend psychiatric intervention and even go as far as to say that medication is necessary, even designating which one. The child sees the psychiatrist for a brief session- t is never examined if the child has any physical conditions, allergies, etc. Immediately the child is labeled and given a dose of psychostimulant. The child develops side effects such as weight loss, insomnia, and possible tics. In order to counteract the insomnia, a new drug such as Klonidine is added. The child develops emotional lability and has crying episodes and manic behaviors. The psychiatrist is seen again for a brief time, and on this visit its determined that 'bipolar is emerging'. The child is then given Depakote or some other mood stablizer. The child now must receive regular blood tests to insure that liver toxicity does not arise. The child is not overly active, he is quite docile, so it is reported that improvement has occurred. However, with the combination of drugs, he develops some psychotic like symptoms where he feels something is crawling on him and has some hallucinations. The psychiatrist is consulted again, and its determined that bipolar with psychotic features exists or maybe even the possibility of childhood schizophrenia. The child is then given Risperdal or another neuroleptic. Strangely, the child begins developing unusual jaw movements and muscle rigidity. The parents are concerned and ask the psychiatrist if this is medication related and if the child is overmedicated. The psychiatrist brushes off the question and prescribes Cogentin (used for Parkinson's) to alleviate the neurological problems but fails to remove the offending agent. The child's behavior becomes more unusual and bizarre leading to hospitalization where medications are raised and adjusted and new ones added. Then the recommendation comes from the psychiatrist that it would be better for the child to be moved to a residential treatment facility. While in the residential facility, the child is frequently restrained and is injured, he is placed with other children with serious emotional and behaviorla distress. he is discharged home having absorbed alot of new negative behaviors from peers, lacking knowledge of the outside world, and with few skills. So, once the child nears adulthood, it is recommended that he live in a group home where he can be cared for and the psychiatric regiment can be maintained. The child has been 'treated.'
This is all based on true incidents with names changed to preserve confidentiality.
I worked with a teen who had experienced sexual trauma by a relative. The relative was arrested and sentenced. The teen was asked to attend the setencing hearing and prior began acting out at school. She had an incident where she left the classroom to de-escalate after an argument with a teacher. She was restrained by a rather obese school staff. The teen explained to me that sher was frustrated with the school because a number of boys were exposing themselves to her and knew about her sexual trauma and that school staff did not respond. She was charged with disorderly conduct and had to appear before a juvenile judge. The judge was made aware of her sexual trauma and her need to be at the sentencing hearing. He locked her in juvenile detention for 10 days and said, 'we will transport her from detention to the hearing." The teen ahd no previous juvenile arrests. In this situation, Attorney Jana Markus was also became involved and after consulting with the District Attorney's office was able to secure her release and to encourage that she be recommended for homebound education. The school district has agreed not without some contention, particularly trying to continue to charge the teen with truancy for the time between her leaving the school and obtaining the recommendation of homebound education.
I received a call from a mother who had a very young child who was displaying some aggressive behaviors which caused the day care to have the child removed until therapeutic services could be provided. The mother took the child to one agency and was told, "you better medicate this child before he tries to kill someone." The mother was appalled. I later spoke to this mother by phone and explained my therapeutic approach. She told me her situation and the response she had received. As I spoke with her at length, she said, "You really care about children." I appreciated this comment but at the same time was saddened as I thought, shouldn't this be said about every person in the mental health profession? What has gone wrong?
A client who is a physician and his wife related that they sought assistance with their child diagnosed with autism and wanted assistance in aiding him with communication skills. They saw a psychiatrist who visited with them fr less than 10 minutes and began writing a script for antipsychotic medication. When the parents noted that they were not there for medications, the psychiatrist became belligerent and asked, 'then what do you want and why are you here?"
A staff of a agency working with mentally challenged adults related to me that the supervisors insisted that a client in the residential program was non-verbal and unable to communicate. This client was left frequently to sit and watch television for hours and privided with no real attention or work on skills development. The staff stated that she sought to engage the client in dialogue and found that he was far from non-verbal and after some work was able to write his name and other words.
In visiting an agency working with mentally challenged youth, I discovered that many of these youth's needs were completely ignored. I recall two incidents of seeing a young girl seated in a chair, the staff gave her paper and markers, and she would sit in the same chair for hours. Every visit she would be seated in the same spout with no one providing attention. Staff would walk past her and she would try to reach for them or hug them. I always made sure to stop and hug her and comment on her drawings. In addition, a young boy would pace incessantly around the building, once again being provided no attention, and no real work being done to aid this child in skill development.
"FAT AND IGNORANT" I was presented with a child who was having some serious behavioral issues at school. I began to examine the situation and my assessment was that this child was in conflict with his teacher and this was the only cause for the behavioral issues. This child had been previously placed on Ritalin which was actually cpurt ordered. The child had a very adverse reaction and fortunatelt was removed. As I have mentioned about the fraud of ADHD, this child I was convinced had no brain disorder as the biological psychiatrists would like us to think. This child was actually quite bright and was on the borderline for qualifying for MENSA. I began to look at the dynamics at school, as it was only here that he posed a problem. I learned as well that this child was witness to abuse and was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. So, as I thought further I saw that the teacher was only aggravating this by his actions. The teacher showed hostility to this child and made him a target, even writing in a journal that the child was 'fat and ignorant." Was it any wonder that the child exhibited behavioral issues in a classroom where he was treated with no dignity? As I suspected, this child was moved to a different school environment where he excelled. The "ADHD" symptoms all disappeared, so much for theories about a brain disorder.
I received a call from a mother who explained to me that her child was in a residential facility and only recently was determined to have a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder after years of being labeled with 20 assorted diagnoses. She was given Risperdal as well as Ritalin. The mother reported that the child has tardive dyskinesia and was experiencing tremors. The response was to eliminate Risperdal and replace it with a different neuroleptic. This child is now permanently disfigured, and will probably never fully recover from the damage done in the name of 'help'.
I was doing an observation of one of my clients in a school setting when I took note of another child who began a conversation with me and in the process was showing facial grimaces and constant repetitive blinking. I pulled the teacher aside and asked her to examine the child for a minute and tell me if she witnessed anything out of the ordinary. "Well, he keeps making faces and twitching." I asked her, "Why may that be?" "Well, um, I do not know!". I asked her to see what medication the child was taking and if it might be a 'blue pill'. She asked the child and indeed he was taking Adderall, the cause of all his grimaces and contortion. What a price to pay to get a child to 'function' in class!
I was presented with a child who the teacher insisted was ADHD. The school guidance counselor was called in and told the mother, "without a doubt, he is ADHD and could benefit from Ritalin. It helps with academic improvement." I asked the school guidance counselor if he had actually met the child or was going on reports. "No, I have yet to meet him." I then asked him if he could name a study that proved that academic performance could be enhanced and how he was so sure of the ADHD diagnosis." He responded that he knew of no such study and that such diagnosis was based on teacher reports. Where is the science in that? I explained further that studies have actuallt shown that short term improvement in rote learning does occur, but that no long term improvement has ever been shown. The family sought a second opinion from a different psychologist who stated he saw nothing and sent the boy on his way. In this situation, I saw that the child was bright and that he learned in a way that the teacher just plainly was not providing. This idea was reinforced when the following year with a different teacher his academic performance dramatically increased with no intervention.
I worked with a delightful 5 year old child. Prior to him being referred to me, he had been on Risperdal. He had convulsions in the classroom and was taken to the emergency room. I happened to read the hospital report and it was deemed that these convulsions were a direct effect of the Risperdal. The mother was unfortunately an unconcerned parent, and there were frequent calls made to Child protective Services regarding abuse by herself and her paramour. I found it immensely difficult to work in the home with this mother, and after seeing the child with brusing, I too called the Child Protective Services but each time they found the cases unfounded. I would take the child into the community for my sessions. The mother had described him as a 'little brat', a 'monster', and a kid 'who didnt deserve sh-t'. She described all these negative behaviors in the home and yet I never saw one of them in his time with me. Occassionally he would have some difficulty in the classroom, but with some guidance and redirection, problems were always averted. It broke my heart to see that within 5 minutes of me dropping him off at home he would be in tears. The mother requested me to leave this case, and I reluctantly agreed and transferred it to a colleague and friend. My colleague informed me that the paramour was caught sexually abusing the child, and the child was taken to foster care. I feel that foster care should certainly be a last option, but here it was a blessing. I recommended that at least one member of the therapeutic staff he was familiar with continue to work with him in the new setting and I offered to go and visit him to help with his adjustment. Though it will take some time for him to adjust, I think it will be a fresh new start, as he is in a place where maybe for once he will receive love and compassion.
I was presented with a very difficult child who had received multiple psychiatric diagnoses and who had been in residential mental health treatment for the majority of his life. This child had been heavily medicated and was exhibiting slurred speech, poor motor coordination, inner feelings of agitation, and unusual jaw motions and tics. The family was told of the possibility of tardive dyskinesia. This also became a concern of a psychologist who observed him. Unfortunately, the parents stated they were never given informed consent about potential side effects and had never heard of the term 'tardive dyskinesia'. This neurological problem is a significant problem affecting individuals taking neuroleptic medications.
HOUNDED FOR MY VIEWS
I had contracted with a private agency as a therapist. The clients I worked with had developmental challenges. There was much progress made and one client's parents gave me very positive feedback. However, the agency supervisor upon learning that my approach was to promote psychosocial alternatives as well as to give parents informed consent, this became a point of contention. This resulted in their desire to try to terminate the contract, though nothing stipulated within the contract was ever violated. This shows intolerance for anything but the pro-drugging stance as well as unwillingness to be open-minded to the fact that workable alternatives do indeed exist. This shows the sad state of affairs of the current mental health system.
THE POSITIVE STORIES:
* A four year old presented with speech difficulties and the expression of explosive behavior where he would when frustrated hurl objects across room, have difficulties with aggression towards peers and siblings, and frequently need redirection to remain on task. Over a period of one year, this child has now been discharged. The child no longer has aggressive episodes, is being recommended for discharge from early intervention services, and is currently only requiring the aid of a speech therapist. The focus remained on providing this child and their family with opportunities for building relationship, developing adaptive responses to frustration, and improving communication skills. This child was never exposed to any psychotropic medication, but a responsible, compassionate, and dignified plan of psychosocial action was provided. The TSS involved with this child must be commended for her wonderful work!
*a 10 year old child presented with explosive episodes in school as well as making various threats to peers. The school and psychiatrist intially saw this as a hopeless case requiring him to be placed in partial hospitalization. Dan Edmunds advocated heavily for this child to remain in his present placement in school. He receives support of a TSS as well as occupational therapy and with some bumps in the road has responded well and has been able to be maintained within the school environment with a great deal of success.
* a 5 year old who presented with risky and destructive behaviors and sevee problems in social skills in now building friendships and is praised by his teacher with frequent awards for his conduct and academic performance. The family has gained a greater awareness of his difficulties and has been supportive. This child receives no psychotropic medications but has benefited from a treatment plan which entails the principles outlined in "Entering Their Imaginative World".
* a 13 year old boy whose mother was addicted to heroin and who lived in a chaotic environment experienced problems with truancy and aggression. For a period of 6 months, I developed a plan to work on his ability to express his frustration more effectively, helping him to realize his self worth and his ability to assess himself and make appropriate choices. I examined his strengths and tried to help him capitalize on them. He made a difficult transition to foster care, and I advocated he be placed in a home where he could attend a school he is familiar with. Since this, his grades have been above average, he has made friendships, and no longer has the problems with aggression. We had frequent, open, and honest conversations about his pain and the difficulties he has experienced. This 13 year old was discharged and continues to progress successfully.
Many children today who show any type of inappropriate behaviors are often immediately being labeled as ADHD and being prescribed stimulant medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, or Dexedrine among others. First, ADHD is a complete fraud. There is no test for ADHD and neurological testing shows these children to be perfectly normal. Dr. William Carey of Children's Hospital in Philadelpha states, "common assumptions about ADHD include that it is clearly distinguishable from normal behavior, constitutes a neurodevelopmental (brain) disability, is relatively uninfluenced by the environment (home, school)...all of these assumptions...must be challenged because of the lack of empirical support and the strength of contrary evidence...what is now described in the US as ADHD is a set of normal behavioral variations..This discrepancy leaves the validity (of ADHD) in doubt."The U.S. National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference on ADHD in 1998 reported, " we have do not have an independent, valid test for ADHD, and there are no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction...and finally, after years of clinical research and experience with ADHD, our knowledge about the cause or causes of ADHD remains speculative." Further, Dr. Edward C. Hamlyn, a founding member of the Royal College of General Practicioners in 1998 stated, "ADHD is fraud intended to justify starting children on a life of drug addiction." The U.S. Surgeon General Report declares, "the exact etiolgoy of ADHD is unknown." Lastly, Dr. Joe Kosterich, Federal Chair of the Australian Medical Association states, " "The diagnosis of ADD is entirely subjective.... There is no test. It is just down to interpretation. Maybe a child blurts out in class or doesn't sit still. The lines between an ADD sufferer and a healthy exuberant kid can be very blurred." What we are experiencing is children in conflict. We cannot blame and denigrate the child and not respect his dignity. We cannot label and suppress behaviors. If a child is conflict, we must take responsibility to see why this child is in conflict and to use responsible and carefully planned interventions to aid this child in being successful. Some believe that they see enormous benefits from children on medication. I will give them this benefit, only if we see suppression of behavior, basically chemical restraint, and the creation of zombies as our idea of 'progress' or 'success'. But once again, we are taking NORMAL children and drugging them to suppress their behaviors. In order to achieve such a 'result', just what is going on in this child's body? Let me go further in the issue of psychostimulants- Stanley I. Greenspan, a clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington University states that, " The growing use of medication on their own is a worrisome trend while more and more people on Prozac or Ritalin are becoming bolder and less distractible, at the same time, more and more people are altering their moods without understanding what is happening to them or how it relates to their core personalities." He also states, "given appropriate nurturing, many affected children may not require medication." University of South Florida Professor of Psychology, Diane McGuinness comments, "The first factor of being put on drugs is to attribute your bad behavior to factors beyond your control. Drugs become a substitute for learning self-discipline. This problem is compounded when children are taken off medication and problem behavior initially rebounds to fantastic proportions. Second, longitudinal studies have confirmed that children on drugs actually deteriorate in academic performance over time. And we must consider the sense of worthlessness most of these young people experience.(McGuinness, 1985). Paul Wender, M.D. lists criteria when beginning medication, he states that a child must first understand why he is receiving medication, yet as Greenspan states above, this isnt always happening. Wender states, "Most acknowledge problems in his own behavior that he himself does not like, so that -he will not feel that medicine is being given to him simply so that other people can tolerate him more." Now, Wender is one who began the first tests on the use of methylphenidate and is in support of its use in treatment. I have had instances of being kicked, and even bitten by children going through behavioral difficulties, but at the same time, I found methods to help a child be able to deal with behaviors and to have progress while at the same time encouraging the child's own responsibility and sovereignty, and working on the creative strengths of the child. Greenspan comments, "working with the strengths of a child can create motivation." A child needs to be able to recognize and be motivated to change behaviors and work on strengths. Even Wender states that getting a child to 'label' behaviors is effective, that a child must recognize what is appropriate and what is not, and that parents should not encourage the idea that because the medication was wearing off or so forth that such excuses a level of knowledge and responsibility for certain behaviors. In my experiences, I would argue that a child often has complete knowledge of some of his or her behaviors and may develop a manipulative manner and 'test' the parent and find various triggers and weaknesses where he the parent will give in to his immediate desire. My concern lies too in that whereas some may feel medication to create some responsive in level of focus and so forth, it comes with a cost in side effects. Some may take the view that the potential for progress outweights the potential side effects. This is where I disagree, and feel it better to avoid that which would cause any side effects, that psychotherapy alone can manage the difficulties. These are some of the things that bring alarm to me. Wender states, "Most common side effects of the stimulant medications are appetite loss...difficulty in falling asleep." He suggests the use of a small dose of sedative 'major tranquilizer' an hour before bedtime to solve this in some cases. So, here a see a cycle of drugs needing to be used and thats worrisome. Wender states, "Research is being conducted to determine the -exact- effects of stimulant medication on growth." This tells me they are prescribing something which they really do not know yet what the effects are on growth. He states as well that stimulant medication IS addictive in adults, but says, "The results suggest that there is no increased risk for drug abuse associated with treatment, although -more research is needed to rule this out conclusively.-" Here again, if it is addictive to adults, I ask, why not children too, and he says that research is yet conclusive. With effects on the cardiovascular system, Barkley states, "studies have -not- specifically addressed this important issue." So, they are prescribing something for which they are unsure of the effects on growth as well as the cardiovascular system. Barkley states as well, "The side effect that shouls receive serious attention from clinicians is the possible increase in motor or vocal tics produced by stimulant medication." He continues- "It still seems prudent to screen children with ADHD adequately for a personal or family history of tics or Tourette's Syndrome." I recall having a session with a child with the mother first and being informed that he was being treated with Ritalin, I later had subsequent time with the father, and he had visible tics, this really alarmed me in reading about the issue of tics and Tourette's and I had to question not to the family but within myself if this was really the best option for the child faced with this risk. Barkley also states, "Isolated cases may arise in which parents note that a child is no longer 'spontaneous' or childlike in his or her behavior and appears -controlled- or -socially aloof-. This is concerning, and it appears that stimulants do have an affect in gaining control and conformity. Many of the stated results of the stimulant medication are too subjective., and Barkley states clearly that, "an improved ability to master increasingly difficult or higher-level academic material, such as that assessed in achievement tests, has -not- been demonstrated. here we have an example that it would not have been as a result of stimulant medication if we see academic progress. Barkley also says that 'low and moderate doses of methlyphenidate do reduce the frequency of aggression and noncompliance in groups of children but have no appreciate effect on either direction on prosocial or nonsocial behaviors." So, I will acknowledge that stimulants can help with short term behavioral inhibition, but what about long term? This is my main concern, with the side effects and without evidence of a long term result and without knowledge of long term results on growth and cardiovascular development, is this really the best option? Barkley states, " Few studies employing rigorous methodology have evaluated the long term efficacy of stimulant medication. Thise that have examined the issue have generally found little advantage of medication over no medication when evaluated over extended periods (Pelham, 1985, Weiss &Hechtman, 1993) Children who had been on drugs but were off at the time of follow-up were not found to differ in any important respect from those who had never received pharmacotherapy." Another concern is the effects in mood, I worked with one child who was already experiencing social withdrawal and was going through the trauma of losing a loved one. After receiving stimulant medication, this intensified. Wender states, "Instead of becoming high or excited, these drugs in general calm down ADHD children and sometimes they may even become somewhat sad." Barkley states, "some children may evidence various mild negative moods or emotions in reaction to stimulants...Some children descrive feeling 'funny', 'different' or dizzy as a function of medication." What about self-esteem and confidence, Greenspan acknowledges that creativity can be affected, and Barkley states, " some concern has been raised that diminished self-esteem could be a emanative effect of methylphenidate as children may attribute the source of their success while on medication to external rather than internal factors." Here, I become concerned about self-fulfilling prophecy as a result of stigmatization, and that a child can very well by develop a defeatist idea if he develops the perception as outlined above. ADHD: LIES AND DAMNED LIES F. Xavier Castellanos presented a study to the National Institutes of Health suggesting that therapy combined with stimulants was the best 'treatment' for children labeled as ADHD. This was something being preached by psychologist Russell Barkley for some time prior to this study. Castellanos concluded in tbis study that ADHD labeled children had smaller brains. The problem is that in this study they failed to mention that 93% of the ADHD group of children had received psychostimulants for an extended period. Thus, the brain atrophy had nothing to do with the childen having ADHD, and all to do with the use of stimulants. The stimulant medications caused the brain atrophy. They turned the study around to perpetuate a lie. In 1994, Paul Leber of the Food and Drug Administration said, "As yet no distinctive pathophysiology for the disorder has been delineated." In 1995, Gene R. Haislip of the Drug Enforcement Administration said, "We are also unaware that ADHD has been validated as a biologic/organic syndrome or disease." In 1998, James M. Swanson of the University of California, and leading ADD advocate, said in conference, "I would like to have an objective diagnosis for the disorder (ADHD). Right now psychiatric diagnosis is completely subjective." And even Dr. Castellanos, in spite of his extensive research, said in 1998, "I agree that we have not yet met the burden of demonstrating the specific pathophysiology that we believe underlies this condition." A child I worked with had been originally labeled ADHD and the psychologist as well as school guidance counselor made strong recommendations for the use of Ritalin. I began therapy with this child and I saw that the only problem present was some emotional immatuity and that this was a bright, creative child who with a boost could accomplish much and certainly did not need to be drugged. In expressing this view, I was told thhat I was 'crazy' "misinformed' and would do the family a 'great disservice' by not being on board with their coercing the family to use Ritalin. In my appearance on "Positive Press" Radio with Connie Giblin, I discussed this issue, and she asked me what payout this psychologist received. I do not know exactly what incentives this psychologist received, but the fact remains that many psychologists and psychiatrists have received financial gifts from the pharmaceutical companies. A PBS program reported a psychologist who offered trainings on ADHD with direct funding from the pharmaceutical company. He was asked if this funding influenced him in any way to which eh said no. Of course he would say no as he does not want to end the stuffing of his pockets at the expense of our children's well being. These folks are perpetuating a damned lie so that they can make profit child's play. People of compassion who know the truth must speak out!
AUTISTIC SPECTRUM DISORDERS AND PSYCHIATRY'S SOLUTION
There is no medication that will cure autism and Asperger's syndrome. Some individuals have used various medications in an attempt to control behaviors, however it must be realized that this is all that the medications are capable of doing is controlling a certain aspect of behavior by blunting certain brain functions. These medications all have serious risks. "Neuroleptics (such as Risperdal and Seroquel) have their main impact by blunting the highest functions of the brain in the frontal lobes and the closely connected basal ganglia. They can also impair the reticular activating or energizing system of the brain. These impairments result in relative degrees of apathy, indifference, emotional blandness, conformity, and submissiveness, as well as a reduction in all verbalizations, including complaints or protests. It is no exaggeration to call this effect a chemical lobotomy?Eontrary to claims, neuroleptics have no specific effects on irrational ideas (delusions) or perceptions (hallucinations). (Breggin, 1999) These medications also carry the risk of causing tardive dyskinesia or neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Tardive dyskinesia is permanent abnormal movements of the voluntary muscles. "NMS is characterized by severe abnormal movements, fever, sweating, unstable blood pressure and pulse, and impaired mental functioning. Delirium and coma can develop. NMS can be fatal?EBreggin, 1999) Common side effects of Risperdal as reported by the Physicians Desk Reference are abdominal pain, abnormal walk, agitation, aggression, anxiety, chest pain, constipation, coughing, decreased activity, diarrhea, dizziness, fever, headache, inability to sleep, increased dreaming, indigestion, involuntary movements, joint pain, lack of coordination, nasal inflammation, nausea, overactivity, rapid heartbeat, rash, reduced salivation, respiratory infection, sore throat, tremor, vomiting. The SSRI antidepressants?Eare also a common prescribed medication. These drugs can produce akathisia, mania, worsening of depression, obsessive compulsive like behaviors, and severe anxiety and agitation (International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology Newsletter, Summer 2002, pg. 15) The use of responsible psychosocial approaches is far better than any short term benefit these toxic medications may provide.
A PLAN FOR TREATING THE INSANITY IN THE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM- WHAT WE MUST DO
First, we must stop looking through the eyes of a medical model, where we see children as broken and disordered and attempts are made to attributing their behaviors and emotions solely to a malfunctioning brain. There is no evidence supporting the psychopathology of a number of disorders. The linkage between the pharmaceutical companies and psychiatry needs to be evaluated as well as the information that is disseminated via the research and materials provided by pharmaceutical company money. One such example is CHADD, the 'support' group for parents of children diagnosed with ADHD that has received a great deal of his funding from the pharmceutical companies. The goal should be to examine the underlying factors of a child's behavior, looking at the child with dignity and respect, and seeing the child as one in conflict rather than a person who is disordered. Such stigmatization remains indefinitely, and labels can often become a self fulfilling prophecy and will follow our children for years to come and shape the way that they view themselves and also the way others view them, particularly the educational system. We cannot look to solely the most cost effective solution when our children's lives are at stake. Indeed, providing a prescription may control aspects of behavior and be though to have a 'therapeutic effect' but never gets to the root cause, and whereas it is far less expensive to medicate than to provide ongoing psychotherapy, it is appropriate and compassionate counsel that will make the difference. Second, the realm of psychotherapy must return to its orginal roots. The word psychotherapy literally means the healing of the soul. We must return the soul to therapy, encouraging therapists to instill within themselves the principles of compassion and empathy that are crucial for any therapeutic relationship to blossom forth. Therapists need to be compassionate and creative, and willing to give additional time and effort to see that a child's needs are met and to also provide community linkages and ongoing support within their environment and to encourage the least restrictive setting for our children. The coercion of parents and families into forced 'treatments' needs to be eliminated. Third, the educational system must be willing to accomodate to meet the various learning styles of children and not seek to place them in a box of rote learning or limit them to one particulat style. Some children may falter in a visual setting and need a hands on approach, whereas others may need other methods of encouraging their effective learning. We must return time, attention, and individuality to the classroom. Fourth, parents need to continue to take an active role in the lives of their children, providing ongoing guidance, validating emotions and not taking a dismissive, disapproving, or hands off approach. Rather, parents must be involved in helping the children develop their own sense of being, and being able to assess themselves. Parents need to avoid nagging their children and becoming entrapped in the propaganda that their children are disordered and need drugs to function. Fifth, our society must change in it attitudes. We are a society where we try to find our answers to ailments within a simple pill. We are a society that has unfortunately lost sight for the welfare of our children. We are a societry where we are prosperous, yet greed often blinds us. Such disorders such as ADHD can be looked upon as a social construct. 90% of Ritalin sales are in the US. This tells us that there is something to be examined within our society that needs correction. Somewhere along the line we have failed our children. This is not to lay blame on any particular individual but to understand that our children are in crisis, and it is up to all of us to take the steps for change. We need to rely less on psychiatry and its devices to solve our problems and more on what we can do within ourselves- to take a holistic approach, to understand the child as a whole person- physical, emotional, and spiritual, and to examine in each of these areas where there may be difficulties that can be alleviated. We need to rely less on others dictating the course of our own and our children's lives and develop workable plan within our own family structure. Nothing will ever be perfect, but even in the most serious disturbances, love and compassion can heal much. We must realize that in some situations within society and within our own lives, we may never be able to evoke complete change. This is the cause of much distress, not problems themselves but how we respond to them. To battle those things beyond our control can lead us to emotional distress, but if we seek live as principled individuals, we can make a difference. What we model to our children and to others has a lasting impact.
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