Friday, December 2, 2011

Today's media grab bag

It's long over-due and wonderful to see how the news media is picking up on the widespread drugging of children in foster care. I watched the Diane Sawyer clip, but, of course, it was way too simplistic in equating coming off drugs with suddenly becoming an honor student and playing the clarinet. If this is not just a Hallmark feel-good story, the real story is what else happened to this child in the interim?

Further  rummaging around on the Internet got me the answer.
Ke’onte, who was on up to four medications at a time during his years in six foster homes, said that therapy has helped him in a way that meds never did. “In therapy, you talk about the deepest thing and it hurts, but you can deal with it better the next time,” he said.Now, he said, he is first chair in clarinet in his school band, participates in cross-country and has three small roles in the school play.“I’m not only more focused in school… I’m not going to the office anymore for bad behavior and I’m happy.”

Hopefully subsequent coverage will show in greater detail what alternative interventions are helping these kids
The Sawyer clip also implied that merely being adopted into a family will do the world of good for a troubled child. We all know it doesn't work like that. A child still has problems and the adoptive parents must deal with them with simultaneously dealing with their own inexperience as parents. Parenthood, adoptive, foster or otherwise, is about the most challenging work anybody can take on. Most of us have good intentions when we first start out on the parenting road, but reality intervenes.

Another public good that more media exposure about childhood drugging of foster children will do is to turn the spotlight on all the non-foster children who are taking the same cocktails of drugs. Children from two parent families, children from single parent homes, adopted children. The foster children exposure will soon start making a lot of people very uncomfortable about their chosen course of treatment. I'm getting so old that I can see what is already happening. The pendulum is starting to swing in the other direction. More crazy excessive things will happen with our newfound zeal to right all the wrongs of the past. And so it goes.

Now, over to Sanjay Gupta. I gotta say I wince when somebody who should know better, titles his news clip "Young schizophrenic shares hope" It's so carnival side show. See the schizophrenic dance and perform tricks! Come on, Sanjay. You are perpetuating the use of schizophrenia as an adjective to describe a set of behaviors that almost nobody with that label shares with another person with the same label. Alright, maybe if we gave the label "manic depressives" back to schizophrenia's look-alike sibling people with bipolar disorder would I be more accommodating of the word "schizophrenic." "Young manic depressive shares hope"  Young bipolar shares hope? Since there is no medical test for schizophrenia, Dr. Gupta is reinforcing to the viewing audience that schizophrenia must be like diabetes, and we know that Robert Whitaker's book has exposed that myth. Apart from diabetes and schizophrenia, what other "tics" are used to describe people in the medically approved lexicon? There are fewer and fewer* once manic depressives got a face lift. It's like trying to find an English word that rhymes with "orange."

*narcoleptic, epileptic

I was delighted to read this quote from the Irish Examiner

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Dr Browne, now a counselling psychotherapist, said there is so much evidence about the dangers of psychiatric drugs that it cannot be ignored. . . .

"We don’t have alternatives in place for people and drugs are damaging long-term. We need to treat people as humans and not patients who have a long term sickness. And we shouldn’t call what we do ‘treatment’.

There is no way I can say to a person ‘I will treat you and make you better’. I can only guide the person. They themselves have to do the work."

Dr Browne said 60%-80% of his work is helping people to slowly get off drugs. "At the moment I can’t keep up with the numbers of people trying to come and see me."

1 comment:

  1. regarding "MANY psychiatrists are not informing people about the dangers of the long-term use of drugs they are prescribing — or about the medical problems which may develop later in life."
    People or their patients?
    My "mentally ill" friends are not informed of the medication dangers. If they are, they might stop taking the magical medication.

    If they stop, they will get too upset, upset = mental illness.
    Neuroleptic-induced supersensitivity psychosis” written by Chouinard G, Jones BD, Annable L. : Am J Psychiatry. 1978 Nov;135(11):1409-10

    You don't want the drug dealer to stop "helping" his customers do you?


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