Children and meds again…

A lot of people get excited when they see articles like this in the LA Times today. I’m getting sick of them. They simply don’t go far enough:

‘I need these pills refilled,” the weary mother says, displaying an array of empty bottles on the desk in my office. “My son is bipolar.”

The boy, a quiet slip of a 10-year-old, had been prescribed two antipsychotics, two mood stabilizers, one antidepressant, two attention deficit disorder medications and another medication to manage the side effects of the antipsychotics.

The mother explained that she had just regained custody of her son and his brother. During the last year, while they were in foster care, a doctor had diagnosed the 10-year-old with bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder and prescribed eight medications.

In the hour I spent with the boy and his mother, he exhibited no signs or symptoms of bipolar disorder, though he did display some irritability. In school, he continued to perform poorly in his second attempt at third grade. Both irritability and poor school performance can be significant problems. But I strongly questioned his diagnosis…

Blah, blah, blah,

So what happened with the boy whose mother wanted me to refill his prescriptions? After an initial two-hour assessment at our clinic, he didn’t return for his next appointment. When the clinic called to ask why, the boy’s mother said that she had returned to his previous doctor. “Your doctor discriminated against me because I’m poor,” she said, “and my son needs those pills for his bipolar.”

Unfortunately, families often put more faith in what they see and hear in advertising than they do in physicians. As physicians, we need to win them back.

Ha! Ha! Ha! What a crock of shit. Most physicians are so beholden to pharma it’s a frightening and pathetic reality. And in fact they went off to another PHYSICIAN, yes? But no, let’s blame the families and patients again, as usual.

Take a closer look at your profession dear Laurel Williams. I know you attempt to, but you just aren’t looking closely enough. If it wasn’t such a hegemonous monster of drugs-are-the-answer-to-everything out there maybe mom would have listened to you.

On a kinder note, it would be nice if there were hundreds of thousands of you looking at these children, yes, it would. But in point of fact the scale leans drastically in the other direction.

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

22 Responses

  1. Sally

    I love how psychiatrists who purport to be the ultimate experts on human feelings, thoughts and behavior, good, bad, and ugly claim to be mystified by the idea that if someone gives you a lot of money to have an opinion of them, that opinion might be well, positive.

    Meanwhile, it’s a tragedy that the mother wasn’t saving herself, her child and all of society physical and mental pain and money by earning a decent wage, having on the job day care, etc. Answering systemic problems with drugs and/or punishing i.e. correcting the child, is never the answer, though in our society probably the woman wanted her child to get the bipolar label so he could get disability so that she could get money to adequately feed and clothe him and health care coverage for his non psychiatric problems.


  2. ef

    Hi giannikali, thanks for your passionate comments!!!
    and thanks for this whole powerful blog…

    …god that poor woman and that poor kid….imagine the pressure on him. he may not be bipolar at all OR he may be, and being set up for a lifetime of meds. How the hell can they put a kid that young so recently diagnosed on SO MANY. time in the foster system will frag out any child.
    It’s horrible what we watch people go through as they try to control their kids or in order to simply navigate the system to survive. It absolutely scares me that total independent health, successful management of one’s psych issues, OR having to cave into total dependence on Disability are the two opposing poles it seems anyone with a psych condition has to skate between.
    Unless you have some family system OR a big ole safety net of money/resources [hey all good real americans should have those right?] , how do you survive in the meantime between those poles? very very slowly carefully and stressfully, most of the time in material and emotional poverty, from my experience.

    Another aspect of the current ‘wake-up’ to the abuses/mistakes of psychiatry that I have been noticing is this:
    I was reading a bunch on Dr. John Breeding’s website and Amazon pages for his books/reviews etc. and there were at least 2 instances where people dismissed him as a scientologist!!! a ‘secret’ one at that, possibly underwritten by them.

    Now it seems clear to me that scientology uses it;s strong stance again psychiatry/meds to further it;s own cult’s control of it’s members. If you read all the ex-scientology stuff at all it’s also true that if they feel anyone is psychotic or schizophrenic and can’t recover fully [or suppress totally] enough to be a productive member of their complicate ranks, they eject that person. [this has been true even for people born into this group] they oppose any ‘therapy’ other than their own and also really hate ssri level daily meds.
    It makes me annoyed that a valid movement to reject the over-drugging abuses of the psych system would be publicly confused at all with a psych-cult like scientology, particularly while it is being exposed by the media and ex-members for the weird control pyramid it is.

    I think there is a growing pool of people in the world today that see that the institution of [and indu$try of] psychiatry needs to be re-worked and yes it has horribly spectacularly failed so many needy people in both early and recent times, but it’s also helped a few and has some redeeming aspects and methods and even a % of meds can work in certain immediate situations. we are not 100% opposed to it all, just the sheer volume and duration of meds. [and of course the dishonest pharma industry influences ]
    scientology opposes it ALL as helping the weak stay weak and fogging up [or maybe waking up] those they’d rather form into recruits. but they only want the most functional anyway!

    eeesh. they are just one of such groups I have brushed up against and lost people to. it annoys me greatly to have even one thing in common with them….


  3. You know what my opinion is? that though some psychiatrists appear to be “sensitive” to the drugging of children, and rx’ing of meds, an all of that….if they were truly being “true to their own convictions”, they would WALK AWAY from their profession and find a new career.

    Because, in the end, no matter how many 🙂 🙂 faces they end their sentences with they write psych med rx’s for a living, and that is connected to corruption, and an industry that for me, would be over-the-top to be able to sleep at night, even if a psych “believes” they are compassionate and not over-medicating, if they speak out against their profession they should QUIT, or be quiet.

    Sorry for the rant, delete it if need be.

    Also, the most alarming part of this story is the foster kid part…the children were in foster care—well one teen psych ward my daughter was at was primarily ALL foster kids. And guess what? as wards of the state they had no one watching over them and they were all placed on psych meds, then sent to RTC’s to live.


  4. I think, this is a tricky one. It’s a matter of fact, that alternative approaches to mental distress are alternatives to psychiatry. Psychiatrists are trained to write prescriptions and administer ect. Nothing much else. Apart from a little bit of CBT-training maybe, that teaches them useful tools to manipulate their patients most successfully (sorry for the sarcasm). The dissidents in the field usually have some kind of other, non-psychiatric, professional training, as therapists or analysts for instance. So, if they really are dissidents, they do have psychiatric training, but do not practise psychiatry.

    As for other professionals working in the mh system: here in Denmark psychologists, social workers, etc. are looked down on by psychiatrists as not nearly as qualified as they regard themselves to be. If you don’t play up to them, your opinion is dismissed as that of someone who simply isn’t professionally qualified to have an opinion on the matter at all. The same applies to dissidents among themselves: they’re just quacks who don’t know how to properly practise medicine.

    The best and most promising way to change the system actually seems to me to be to do it from the outside of it. That is, to quit the practise of psychiatry, and engage in creating alternatives instead.


  5. Yah, now I don’t necessarily see analysis as much opposed to psychiatry as it still pathologizes, although the treatment measures are different. So, you can be a psychiatrist and an analyst at the same time without any moral conflict involved: in both cases it’s the individual something’s wrong with.

    Analysis had a rather short heyday inside psychiatry (before the drugs took over). Still, it were only certain individuals, like Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, who were it’s guardians. The majority stuck to “mechanical” treatment measures as they’ve done ever since the profession emerged: insulin shock, ect, straight jackets, etc. Modern western medicine, and with it psychiatry, is a “mechanical” science, that has it’s foundation in the Cartesian dichotomy of body and soul as distinctly separated from each other, and with modern western medicine only being able to treat the body. Why it is crucial for psychiatry to make us believe, that “illnesses” of the soul actually are illnesses of the brain. Were they “illnesses” of the soul, medicine as a profession, physicians like psychiatrists, would be out of the picture. Just as they were during the first half of the 19th century when the Quakers did not allow any physicians to be employed at their Moral Treatment facilities. They knew what they were doing!

    As I wrote to a friend recently: You become a doctor because you want to do something (with your hands). You want to become active, intervene. You don’t just want to be there, listening, understanding. You want to be the one, that gets listened to (and understood). Such an attitude goes well together with the needs of people who’ve broken their leg. It doesn’t go well together with the needs of people who are in emotional distress.

    I find it important to look at that aspect too. But, yes, I agree: It doesn’t matter where the change comes from, as long as it does come.


  6. and I have a psychiatrist who is spending hours with me as a therapist helping me get off of drugs and deal with my grief over my daughter…so I am on the fence with a 2 way street of emotional commentary.

    Thanks for letting me say it.



  7. Eve

    It’s not even responsible psychiatry to diagnose a CHILD with a disorder such as bipolar disorder. This story just breaks my heart.

    The children were in foster care. The boy in question is in third grade. He’s a *little boy* who needs his mom and his dad, and to live in a peaceful home and have a childhood. We are stressing adults beyond belief in our diseased culture, but must we drag children through it too? I guess the answer is yes.

    This is exactly why I quit practice. No matter what you did, there was always some parent going to the next professional so she or he could blame and drug the kid when the problem was systemic—in the family, the school, the culture, or somewhere else. There was always a physician ready to disagree. There was always someone who preferred to do the easy thing rather than the right thing, and to sacrifice the child.



  8. kevin

    Some psychiatrists are more dangerous than a mafia drug cartel working in a corrupted system or a system that gives them too much power and say. I dont believe everything they say because I have experienced first hand their contradictions (between themselves). One would prescribe and the other would say no no that is all wrong do this. Its a shame when it comes to kids though because kids cant advocate for themselves and parents often put way too much faith in the psychiatrists at first because they dont know how to handle the situation. I hate to hear of a child on so many meds, ecspecially if the child is having emotional problems from things at home or school that are unrealated to any kind of bio abnormality.


  9. Ana

    “sometimes I want a Masters degree or even better a PhD in Psychology just so I can tell people within the field how fucked up they are and have credibility in their eyes…”
    I know the feeling Gianna.
    Yesterday I went to the dentist and his son was there following the family steps.
    He was prescribed Klonopin. He said that he took it for 2 months and his father said: “No! You took it for more than two months. I always asked you if you were taking and you said you were.” “No daddy! I told you I was taking but I’ve stop it because it was not making me feel good and I had study about drugs at college.”
    Whenever I start talking about it all here in Brazil I look like a lunatic.
    I have to remain silent. People don’t have a clue about what is really going on.
    “The FDA would never let these drugs on the market if it was causing suicides… ”
    This is too hard.
    I’m feeling too sad lately.
    Have you noticed how a single comment a psychiatrist do, no matter how poor it is, can make us be silent?
    It infuriates me.
    They are amazing! It’s useless trying to discuss with them because they will use all kinds of rhetorical, semantical and logical(?) arguments to turn our experiences into something not credible. It aches! It hurts like hell!
    We’ve already suffered it all in our real lives. They have the nerve to visit blogs where people are trying hard to raise awareness and destroy it all?
    Jesus! I can’t take it.
    Being the only Brazilian is already too much burden.
    I will have to take a break because I’m emotionally exhausted having nobody to share it in my language. It’s hard because I have no data, nothing, nothing, nothing from my country.
    I don’t see a single blog from any other country other than US and UK.
    It’s worldwide, it’s worldwide…
    All I know is that I’ve already seen too many times “this is crime against humanity” and IT IS.
    Good! Now I’ve got angry again. Better angry than sad.
    At least anger gives me strength.
    But I feel like crying.


  10. Ana

    Fortunately here psychoanalysis has nothing, nothing to do with psychiatry.
    But I see that in US things are quite difference.
    The big problem is that psychoanalysts who have a complete different view and are critical of psychiatry has no power… you can imagine why!
    Psychiatry-Pharmas are everywhere.


  11. Ana: If it can be of any comfort to you at all: I’m also pretty much alone in my country (Denmark). The only thing that keeps me going is that people, nevertheless, once in a while tell me how glad they are that I’m doing what I do. Anyhow, 99% of all people who are in contact with the mh system in this country are more or less “colonized” by it. And the 1% that is not doesn’t dare to speak up publicly.

    BTW: Do you have a blog in Portuguese? It was a bit of a surprise to me since the Danes are said to be good at English, but many people actually don’t get it as soon as there are no subtitles in Danish, and just as many people don’t like visiting foreign websites, or websites in a foreign language, to be precise.


  12. Ana

    Thank you Marian and Gianna!
    After numerous attempts discussing psych-drugs harms in Portuguese I can tell you that it’s useless.
    You have no idea of the power Pharmas have here.
    A blog in Portuguese about it all would never appear on Google.
    There are numerous people online working for the Pharmas to assure that all you are saying is bullshit.
    I’ve already talked to some people who has some kind of power to try to raise awareness and they say that –
    it’s not possible.


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