Too Quick To Medicate Children With Behavioural Issues
Before a child is given antidepressants it is vitally important that the parents have a thorough understanding of both the positives and of the negatives of medicating their child.
It seems nowadays, we all know someone with a child who has been diagnosed with a mental disorder, be it ADD, Anxiety, Phobias, Autism, OCD and Depression. These children and their families are often really struggling to cope with the behaviours the child is displaying, but what is most concerning is the massive numbers of young children who are all too readily being prescribed psychiatric medications.
Should children so readily be put onto antidepressant medications?
Many children on antidepressant medications are having adverse reactions to these powerful mind altering drugs and parents have not been properly informed about the serious side effects these drugs can have children.
There is a huge plethora of psychiatric medications available and unfortunately the majority of them can have a lot of short term and long term side effects e.g. convulsions, drowsiness, nausea, agitation, muscle twitching, restlessness, seizures, blood and blood sugar abnormalities, cardiac arrest, diabetes, liver failure, pancreatitis and Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (which can be a fatal toxic reaction to the drug). The risks really need to be weighed against the benefits taking the drugs could have. See article by Citizens Commission of Human Rights Australia on Alarm as more Kids on Antidepressants and Australian Psycotropic Drug Warnings and Adverse Drug Reactions.
Yes of course there are times when medication for mental illness in children, is absolutely necessary and can even be life saving, but parents need to be more pro-active and a little less trusting of doctors who readily prescribe psychiatric drugs for their children.
We have become a society obsessed with giving children with behaviour problems labels, and then medicating them. While some diagnosis’s are accurate, many others are not and children are being needlessly medicated with these potent drugs.
This is a paragraph taken from a report by the National Institute of Mental Health and even they warn, “Many medications have not been studied or approved for use with children. Researchers are not sure how these medications affect a child’s growing body. Still, a doctor can give a young person an FDA-approved medication on an “off-label” basis. This means that the doctor prescribes the medication to help the patient even though the medicine is not approved for the specific mental disorder or age.” Read the full report here Mental Health Medications by the National Institute of Mental Health.
Getting Children With Behavioural Problems The Right Kind Of Help
It is very important that if you notice your child seems to be behaving in a manner that is seriously disturbing, dangerous or disruptive to them and possibly also to others, that you seek professional advice.
If your child’s condition is not life threatening and does not require immediate, urgent, treatment then, in your child’s best interest, er on the side of caution and do not accept just one professional medical opinion. You should, at the very least, seek a couple of professional opinions before making any decisions on what treatment your child should undergo.
Only once you have an understanding of what your child is going through and how serious it is, should you decide on a course of action. There are various chemical free and a lot safer treatments and therapies to consider and try before deciding to medicate your child.
Here are a few;
- See a trained psychologist who deals with children. Psychologist are not able to prescribe medication, but they are highly adept at other methods and therapies to help your child e.g Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Make sure you are comfortable and your child is comfortable with who see and if not look for someone else.
- You should thoroughly research ALL your options. Be completely informed about what medications can do and can’t do and what side effects they can have. Remember as parents you will always have your child’s best interest first and foremost before any one else, so if your not feeling confident about a diagnosis made, or a treatment being prescribed, then go with your gut and look into things further.
- With mental health problems there are many non-conventional, safer and often very effective treatments to try such as, Acupuncture or Chiropractic Medicine. Dr Robyn Leeder a respected, Chiropractic Neurology Consultant says ” A non-invasive, drug-free solution would be to look at the causes of the neurological dysfunction and make the most of the neuroplasticity of the child’s brain and nervous system to help correct the dysfunction. Individually highly specific brain exercises can be prescribed by a functional neurologist or consultant in functional neurology. Where there are mood or behavioural issues – it is highly likely that problems with other body systems, such as digestion, coordination or balance also exist, and these may also be helped by functional neurology care.”
- Natural herbal and homeopathic remedies may also be an option, but never self- prescribe for your child, even with natural medicines. Natural Medicines can also have side effects and be potentially toxic in the wrong doses. Always see a highly trained, professional Homeopath, Naturopath or Chinese Doctor and one who specializes in treating children.
- There is some strong evidence to suggest that diet may play a big part in children’s behavioural disorders. An experienced Naturopath or Nutritionist can look at your child’s diet and see if possibly additives, or food intolerances may be playing a part in your child’s behaviour. See my article Artificial Additives And Preservatives In Food Causing Us Serious Harm
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