“He just needs to settle down” was the statement I saw most often on my son’s report card! They couldn’t handle my active son. The teachers even suggested that he might be ADHD and that drugs might help.
Ritalin is a speed drug. That’s what they wanted me to put my son on. To settle him down so that he could be the good little student for them. We knew that there was something about his behavior but we were not willing to shove a bunch of medication down his throat with out a clear diagnosis. Why would I want my son going around in a drug induced stupor. Would that not just teach him that life’s problems were handled by taking a pill?
We looked into various alternative medicines to seek advice… with limited success. The school would not accommodate my son in taking verbal exams instead of written. They couldn’t not tolerate his inability to sit at a desk all day long. He was labelled as a trouble child.
Years later as behavior problems became more pronounced we are finally able to determine that he is bipolar. Now with a proper diagnosis, we moved to a treatment regime for him. Today he is successful and continues his journey in dealing with his condition.
In the news these days is that young people are depressed. The answer is give them anti-depressants. Powerful mind drugs that have not been safely tested on children and youth. Yet they are being dispensed for the same reasons that were used to push my son to Ritalin. They are ‘problem’ children.
The Canadian Paediatric Society claims that anti-depressant use may be helpful for kids with depression. So let’s give them Prozac. The benefits are dubious and the use can be risky. Kids are defined as anyone under 16 years of age because they have not reached maturity. Their bodies and minds are still developing. What is the wisdom of giving powerful mind drugs to kids? What are the long term effects of anti-depressants on a developing mind? No one knows.
Here is a startling fact. One in 50 youth given anti-depressants will experience a worsening of suicidal thoughts or develop new thoughts of self-harm. Compare this to the case of Vioxx a few years ago. Vioxx was taken off the market because it was determined that about 100,000 people died from its use… out of 80 million users. It was taken off the market because 1 in 800 could die. Yet, anti-depressants are prescribed despite a 1 in 50 chance of suicidal thoughts?
Kids deserve our love and attention. Their problems need to be figured out first. Appropriate treatment can then be used. They don’t need to be doped up first so that they can fit into a contrived system. It only teaches them that a diet of drugs is how life is handled.