In some cases medication is prescribed when it shouldn't be. Psychiatrists love to discover new disorders. When children don't pay attention in class according to the world of psychiatry they have "Attention Deficit Disorder". This has resulted in children being drugged with stimulants such as Ritalin. On February 23, 2000 researchers reported that the number of preschoolers taking stimulants, antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs rose drastically from 1991 to 1995. Probably what most of these children need is some attention, some tender loving care and some discipline. The New York Post reported in the week ending August 25 2000 that parents can get into legal trouble if they don't administer Ritalin to their kids when the school therapists decide that the kids should get it. The New York Post reported (I Was Told To Dope My Kid 8/7/02) how a 12 year old boy, Michael Mozer says the trusted educators in his local school forced him to take a cocktail of drugs that turned him into a psychotic who heard voices in his head. Mozer was prescribed Ritalin which according to his mother just seemed to make Michael worse. According to the Post:
By the third grade, Michael was suffering from insomnia, lack of appetite and anti-social behavior, and suffered such anxiety he began chewing on his own shirt sleeves, collars and pencils. Once he even started gnawing on a test sheet.
School officials allegedly told Weathers her son was bipolar and suffering from social anxiety.
They suggested more medicine - and this time the doctors prescribed a cocktail of Dextrostat, another version of Ritalin, and Paxil, an anti-anxiety drug.
"They kept labeling him with disorders, not realizing the side effects of the drugs was making him act this way," Weathers said.
"My son was becoming psychotic with these drugs . . . He was out of control."
Fed up, Weathers stopped medicating her son in December 1999 when Michael pleaded, "Mom, make it stop - there's a person inside my head telling me to do bad things."
Weathers says school officials prohibited Michael from entering the school and in February 2000, filed a complaint against her with the state child-abuse hot line.
"His behavior at school is bizarre: He hears voices and appears delusional, he chews on his clothes and paper, he talks to himself and rambles when he talks," according to the complaint school officials filed with the state's Department of Children and Family Services.
After a monthlong investigation, Weathers said, she was cleared of any wrongdoing because she was able to prove through independent psychiatrist evaluations that her son's sickness was related to the drugs...
Six months after taking Michael off the drugs, a physical examination showed the boy had a heart murmur. Weathers believes the problem resulted from the drugs. Heart murmur is recognized as a rare side effect of drugs similar to Ritalin.
In my opinion there are times when medication for the mentally ill is appropriate but as this story clearly illustrates physicians don't always know when it is or isn't. Mental Illness probably has both physiological and psychological causes that are self feeding. (See for example the Paranoia-Physiology Cycle and the Depression-Physiology Cycle pages.) For that reason there are instances when psychological and medical treatments are probably appropriate. Some of the mentally ill don't appear to respond to logical arguments and perhaps those arguments are wasted on them. In their case probably only medication (or treatments such as electroshock) are appropriate in the initial stages of therapy although psychological therapy is likely to become appropriate later on as the medication takes effect.
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