Sunday, May 18, 2008

roundup of recent TV/ documentary reports: PBS The Medicated Child

Here are some interesting and thought provoking links to television and investigative journalism reportage on various topics.

The first a PBS FRONTLINE follow up The Medicated Child provokes interesting quandaries around the diagnosis of Bi-Polar disorder in children and subsequent medicating of it. It's alarming viewing.

I'm not trying to make light of what's an intensely challenging situation for any parent but the sight of one child sat in front of a significant sized computer screen as his mum prompts him from the kitchen it's time to take his medication, followed by scenes of him wolfing down corndogs (excessive appetite is one of the side affects of the meds tho' the choice of what he's consuming clearly isn't) did make me wonder. There's more compelling viewing when the mother, who I admired immensely for the difficult decisions and situation she's facing, consults with his psychiatrist and bravely expresses her fear about her son's medication and inspite of it, still leaves his office with an increase of one of the meds.

We're not shown any of these parents being offered alternative supports or interventions other than medication. Yet as illustrated by the above example clearly they are open to suggestions and basically like any parent simply want to help their children however they can.

I realize these are serious challenges such children are facing, but it's alarming to watch mental health professionals prescribe medications willy nilly, whose efficacy and safety for children are not established. The parents are at the mercy of such professionals. Some of the research described and discussed certainly seems to have value and I'm not suggesting some complete anti-medication stance, but who could help but be alarmed at children taking 8 different medications on a daily basis.

No comments: