Medicating kids is in the limelight…

There was a horrifying article the other day in the New York Times oozing praise on Judith Warner. It turned my stomach and I had no interest in sharing it here as I can’t write commentary at this time. But today, with the below piece I’m happy to bring light to this atrocity.

This article that critiques Judith Warner’s book from Slate, has substance:

Judith Warner’s book illustrates the perils of preferring stories to science. We’ve Got Issuestakes off from an unquestionably important set of events. Within the past few years more and more children have been given powerful brain-altering drugs to deal with a wide range of problems. Many of the traditional journalistic parts of Warner’s book are interesting and engaging. She tells some compelling stories about desperate parents, about the absurdly dysfunctional American health care system, and about the greed of the big pharmaceutical companies. The everyday psychological explanations that underpin these stories work very well. The companies want to make a lot of money, so they manipulate the data. Poor children don’t have health care, so their problems are left untreated until they become emergencies, and so on.

The book is also written as a story about Warner herself. She started out thinking, from talking to people and reading blogs and newspapers and magazines, that overambitious parents and unfeeling doctors were pressuring children to succeed at all costs and callously using drugs to help. Then she talked to more people, particularly the parents and doctors who were giving children the drugs, and she read more blogs and newspapers and magazines. She had her epiphany and changed her mind. Actually, the children had real problems, and the parents and doctors were trying to help them.

That, quite explicitly, is the main point of the book, and much of it is devoted to Warner’s emotional recounting of these discussions and her reactions to them. You have to wonder a little, even from a purely journalistic perspective, about whether Warner really expected that the parents she talked to would say to her, “Yes, actually my child doesn’t have real problems; I’m just medicating him because I’m an overambitious neurotic.” But surely the real question is not, “Are the parents and doctors good or evil?” but “Do the drugs make the children better?” read the rest

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