Sue Scheff: Debate of parents, children and medication – We’ve Got Issues

We’ve Got Issues, Children and Parents in an Age of Medication is a timely and educational book written by New York Times best selling author, Judith Warner.

Summer is here and parents that have their children on medication  for ADD/ADHD during the school year will be debating whether to continue the use of medication during the summer months.  Each vary in their opinions as well as the uniqueness of their child.

Written with a reporter’s eye, Judith Warner’s new book, WE’VE GOT ISSUES: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication explores how pervasive these disorders are today and shows how complex and painful a journey it can be for parents trying to make the right decisions, particularly in the face of the ongoing discussion in this country as to whether we are misdiagnosing our children with special needs and over prescribing medications to modify their behavior.

How many kids really have behavioral, emotional, and learning issues? What is the nature of those issues, and are they really epidemic? Why do they appear to be so greatly on the rise? Are they real? Are parents willing to “drug” their kids? And perhaps most significantly, how do the children themselves feel about it? What are their lives like?

The author answers these and many more questions in a book that reframes our most commonly held beliefs about children and parents struggling with mental health issues.

More highlights include:

  • Since the early 1990s the number of children receiving diagnoses of mental health disorders has tripled. This vast increase has fed enormous skepticism, prompted talk of “epidemics,” and serves as a mainstay of the so-called naysayer position—namely that there were virtually no kids with mental health issues in the past, but somehow, suddenly, they’ve sprung up from nowhere. Warner looks at key factors driving this widespread perception, including increased visibility and profound changes in how parents, teachers, and doctors look at and label kids who have problems.
  • A look at what the author considers the true epidemic in this country when it comes to children’s mental health: the lack of quality care. Says Warner, “At a time when we have treatments that actually work, when there’s more research than ever before, more knowledge, better understanding, more support in the schools, and more public awareness of the dangers of untreated mental illness, the actual caretaking that kids with mental health needs receive, is for the most part, really poor.”
  • A look at what Warner calls “the new face of mental health stigma in our time”—a web of belief that combines doubts that mental health problems are real and aspersions cast on parents of children with problems with a tendency to conflate children’s disorders with bad behavior. The net result is that children are viewed symbolically—as canaries in the coal mine, showing the frontline symptoms of the toxicity of our pathological age—instead of as real people. This so-called “naysayer” position, says Warner, “is voiced as concern, as a desire to save children, and as a wish to give childhood back to kids, but what it really is, most of the time, is prejudice. And it’s a poison.”
  • Why people have a hard time acknowledging that children’s disorders are common, impairing, at least in part genetic, and very real. Warner also looks at what the latest scientific research has to say about the interplay between genes and environment in causing the kinds of disorders we’re seeing in kids. And she shows how this complex and nuanced way of thinking opens up avenues for understanding that are very different from those dictated by the more black-and-white terms in which children’s mental health issues are typically painted in the public debate.
  • A look at the irresponsible marketing practices of Big Pharma; its control of published research; and its co-opting of government regulators and institutions, including the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health. Warner also looks at the damage done to the psychiatric profession by individual psychiatrists who have enriched themselves by becoming what amounts to shadow employees of the drug companies. “For many people, the revelation of psychiatry’s extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry are just proof of the inner corruption of the whole psychiatric enterprise in the age of biological psychiatry.”

Read more, order on Amazon today.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and  healthier children.

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