Monday, March 4, 2013

Are we over-medicating our children?

I come here to say what's on my mind. Sometimes it is fluff, other times it is something that really affects me. Today I want to talk about a nephew and some recent diagnoses that frankly worry me.
Things are very different than when I grew up. As a kid I was bored in school. I was smarter than the average student so I was already done with that section while the teacher was still trying to get the slower students up to speed. This hasn't changed in today's classroom. There has always been and will always be faster and slower students.
In my case, this boredom showed in talking to myself, talking to neighbors, or reading a fiction book when I could get away with it. I still remember at a very early age being put in the corner for talking in class and then having my parents called in because I was talking to myself in the corner. It's funny now.
This weekend at a birthday party I found out a nephew has been diagnosed with ADHD & Oppositional Disorder for what is effectively the same actions I had done. It scares me that they may medicate him for things that I consider normal. I said as much to his mother, my niece.
I hesitate to think of what they would do to the 13 yr old me in today's society. Would I have become me or some Borg equivalent to me? Are we dooming the thinkers of our society to having that "wild streak" medicated out of them.
Lest you think I have a high view of myself, I'll admit that I ended up self-medicating in high school and college. I don't recommend it. There is much of my childhood I don't remember at all. Not just fuzzy recollections, but none whatsoever. Those brain cells are dead.
I make a good living and someone thinks I'm productive or I wouldn't be making that living. But I wonder what I could have become in different circumstances. And I wonder what my nephew will be stopped from becoming. That's the saddest part of looking back with 50 year old vision.
What do you think?
Are we over-medicating our children?
Are we medicating the spark out of children that could become the next truly free thinkers.
Does this worry you?


  1. I think people see a connection between mental illness and creativity. Meaning, if I medicate, will I lose my smarts and my spark? Will I become a vegetable?
    I've been medicated for quite some time now. It hasn't taken away my energy or my passion or my smarts or my sex drive. It has taken away my fear (and I don't mean regular fear, but fear of the typical. Fear of getting out of the bed. Fear of talking on the phone. Debilitating fear of the every day). It has also taken away my desire to hurt myself. I can also sit still during a meeting, and focus on the speaker instead of the click of the air conditioner. I can participate and listen.
    I'm supposed to be ashamed of being medicated. People tell me I'm lazy or I'm not trying hard enough. But the truth is, I try hard every day. My meds give me the ability to at least try. Without them, I don't even want to help myself.
    Sometimes people don't need medication. Sometimes people are over-medicated. Sometimes we're on the wrong medication.
    I'd hate for someone to not seek help, child or otherwise, because they're afraid of the stigma attached to medicines devoted to mental well-being.

    1. Wow, Ingrid. Thank you for your courage and honesty. It sounds like the answer here is that there is no clear answer. Each person and situation is different and should be handled individually.

    2. and ditto to everything said here as well! hugs!

  2. Medicating my ADD was the best thing that ever happened to me. Let me repeat. EVER. in my whole life. EVER. I'm not on anything right now because of other health issues yet knowing that true better me is possible gives me a lot of hope to struggle through without it. I'm sure it isn't that way for everyone but I lean towards people should at least try it.
    I'm more worried about the *way* people present/see medication. "Take this because you are wrong and need to be fixed." is going to cause a lot more damage to a person's creativity and potential than any medication itself. It's a tool, one of many, give it a try see if it works for you. If this isn't the right tool for you don't do it. If it is the right tool for you, you can finally find such joy and freedom in being able to be the person you truly are.
    Like all important things in life, good medication is very very good, bad medication is very very bad. Good librarians are very very good, Bad librarians are very very bad. :) etc.
    Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder is a great organization to find out more if you are interested.