Friday, June 5, 2009
You have heard the stories and seen the pictures of children drugged in an effort to "help" them. The children are unfocused, violent, may have P.T.S.D. symptoms and are disrupting the classroom. Some say they need to be put on medications. But what about the black box warnings? Can medications trigger suicide? Are there alternatives to medications? Confusion over the use of medications in children is not new. It has become a subject of interest lately due to the increased number of children needing help with ADD, Bipolar and other mental health issues. Some child advocates are against the use of any medication in children. Some are outspoken regarding psychotropic medications only. There are options to consider before starting medications. Therapy is a good choice. Thinking back to childhood, most of us can confirm that children are mean, can be cruel and operate on a mob mentality. If one kid starts picking on a smaller "weird" kid, soon everybody picks on that child. Children may need some help coping. Parents may be over burdened with life and not have the luxury of helping their child get through the rough spots. Parents need good solid information on not only why medications are used in children, but what goes into the decision to use a medication. Child psychiatrists specialize in treating children. They are focused on how a child's body responds to drugs and how the metabolism changes in a child as they grow. They are pediatric doctors who happen to specialize in the function of a specific organ, a child's brain. Who better to talk about how, when and why medications should be used? Dr. Soad Michelsen, a Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Associate Faculty member at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio recently recorded a You Tube Video on this topic. It is presented in clear non-medical, non psychobabble language and addresses many of the issues surrounding the safe use of medications in treating children with mental health issues. Her You Tube talk can be found at http://www.smhc.org/index.php/family-resource-center/on-demand-video/125.html .