Monday, October 09, 2006

Medicate First, Ask Questions Later?

The Washington Post had an interesting op-ed on Sunday from a child psychiatrist who is disgusted by the increasing trend to medicate child behavior that was once known as being bratty, or testing parent's limits.

I'll steal my favorite quote...

"Doctors need to take the time to understand their pediatric patients better and have the courage to deliver the bad news that sometimes a child's disruptive, aggressive and defiant behavior is due to poor parenting, not to a chemical imbalance such as bipolar disorder or ADHD."

I'll also steal another favorite:

"Parents and teachers today seem to believe that any boy who wriggles in his seat and willfully defies his teacher's rules has ADHD. Likewise, any child who has a temper tantrum is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After all, an anger outburst is how most parents define a "mood swing."

I realize that it would be naive to assume that all, perhaps even most, childhood behavior disorders are caused by poor parenting. And by "poor parenting," I am not referring to abuse, just to a poor understanding of behavior management. But with parental attention switching to work, finances, plasma television, and other material accoutrements, it sure is easy to turn to pills rather than parenting to raise children.

Check out Dr. Roberts' full editorial in the WaPo here. Prepare for the coming epidemic of bipolar disorder in youth and adults, as I've discussed previously.


HHGryff said...

Enjoying your posts. Some interesting stuff. I've just ranted about poor parenting, thought I'd look around and see what else is out there.
I see it all the time in my job. As a speech and language pathologist I am seeing an increase in language and communication delay. People want any reason other than the truth which nowadays lies very much in parenting and modern lifestyles.

CL Psych said...

Thanks for your comment. Parenting is likely seen as an inconvenience by many (just a guess on my part) and I think that probably relates to many clinically significant problems. I wish you well on your nearly brand new blog.