8/02/2006

medicate the mind

My niece was here for a long weekend and I was excited to see her. I don't get to spend as much time with her as I would like since she lives 3 hours away so I was hoping this would be a chance for us to catch up. She's starting high school in the Fall so pretty soon hanging with her aunt will become a thing of the past. You remember how it is right...your parents and any other adult related to you suddenly tops the 'Uncool' list. Anyway on the ride back to my house I asked her how her therapy sessions had been going. She's been having a hard time dealing with her home life since her dad married her step-mom about 3 years ago. So she tells me that the therapy is going well and that her psychiatrist has now put her on 3 medications. One for AD/HD, one for depression, and one for mood swings. I have to tell you that I'm no fan of doctors that push meds on kids to make them behave the way we think they should. I've known this kid since she was born and I've been there for all the heartache she's endured. Her problems are emotional not physical and although I agree that sometimes our experiences do lead to the need for medication, I do not believe it should be the first priority. What happened to healing the mind and heart instead of trying to medicate it? My niece takes so many meds that basically she has no emotion. She has no highs, no lows, no expression of anything. How in the world can that be healthy for a 14 year old? Isn't it by experiencing those emotions that we learn how to deal with the things that life throws at us. Those emotions are not always pleasant but I believe that they are necessary. How will a child learn what sorts of actions hurt us emotionally and which ones are beneficial? I can tell you from experience that the pains of my past have allowed me to become the person I am today. Sure I wish some of the pain didn't exist but do I wish I'd felt nothing at all - NEVER. I also heard my niece describe herself a few times as 'border line Autistic'. She said her therapist told her she has Autistic tendencies. I happen to know a lot about Autism and there is no way this kid has any form of Autism. They said she doesn't show affection, she focuses too much inward...hello....you have her drugged up what the hell do you expect her to do.

When did we become a society that believed for every ailment, for every emotion or action we do not want to experience - there is a drug to cure you. What is the cure anyway? To me it seems too many of us believe that a cure means being able to exist without feeling anything. Sounds a lot like denial if you ask me.

9 Comments:

  1. CeeCi said...
    When did we become a society that medicates every ailment? Isn't that an amazing question? Was it when people gave up being accountable for their actions? Was it when many began believing they could only be happy if they had xyz and not finding it chose to cover it instead?

    I'm afraid for your niece. Her therapist sounds like he/she is projecting some unhealthy things onto someone who is still a child. Somehow, I can't help wonder if the medication is more for everyone elses convenience and not for your niece's well being. I agree with you, feeling something is better than feeling nothing at all.

    **Big Hugs**
    Kelly said...
    I think the medication can be OK if it is a temporary thing to get her to a level where she can function and learn to deal with her problems. If you are so depressed that you can't see your way out of it, that's a problem. But it seems like too much medication is prescribed with no end in sight, like they don't really believe that we can get better.

    I kicked my medicine to the curb over the last year, and I'm happy I did it. Unfortunately when you're 14 it isn't really up to you as much. The labels really bother me. Why do we call people all these things? What good does it do?
    Christine said...
    yeah--its scarey how we are becoming a society of don't feel, take this pill--

    but we've been told to respect our elders and those in authority--

    and it seems hard for people to get off the medication crutch too. The rebound effect is tough. I'm watching my DM do it since January.

    She's got you as an example and you are a darn good one!
    Caterpillar said...
    I agree with everyone else in that her therapist labeling her with so many mental illnesses isn't healthy at all. The fact that she would describe herself as border-line autistic is scary, and so often we become what we're labeled as, or we fit ourselves into the box that someone else says we belong in. If her therapist tells her she doesn't show affection, then she might not try and chalk it up to her illness. This all sounds extremely scary to me.

    On a side note, I haven't heard of psychiatrists giving actual talking therapy - they just have appointments to listen to how the patient is doing and adjust the meds. But is she also seeing a psychologist to talk all this out? When I was going through a particularly hard time at the end of law school I saw a psychologist weekly and she helped me so much - but I also went to another woman first who I didn't feel as comfortable with so it's important to shop around, too.

    I wish so many things for your niece. The whole situation which she has been thrown into, and now this, is so frustrating to read about so I can't imagine how it must be for you.
    Tab said...
    That was a tough read because I believe it too , to be true.Too many kids are on meds instead of something that can promote personal healing and self awareness.SOme kids need meds but I agree,seems in this day and age,
    it is common practice to put kids on meds and no treatment for the heart,mind or spirit.I hate that part of our society,but people like you Net know better.Your niece has you~
    Thanks for sharing~
    kimmyk said...
    I work for doctors who just believe every ailment has a cure. I wish more people would take an active role in raising their children and listen to them and help them, but as a society we're just too busy. And that's sad.

    The other day my straight A daughter told me she had ADHD. I said really, how so? She said she can't concentrate and her friends all have it and she thinks she does. Like somehow now having ADHD is the cool thing like getting braces or whatever.

    I don't get it.
    lash505 said...
    We are in a feel good meds society. For any pain there is a cure in a pill. The doctors are the pushers and the Pharmaceutical
    companies are the back yard labs.
    Michelle said...
    Teachers and parents try to make their lives easier by medicating the children. If in deed a child does have AD/HD, there are natural aids out there we just have to look for them. We do not realize that a lot of what our children go through is because of the shots and the food they eat. I have a freind who's son has autisim and you would never know it. By using natural suppliments and monitoring what they eat, she has been able to keep the autisim away. She now works with children with autisim and has even published a book. She is truly an amazing person and I love the fact that she is not relying on drugs.
    The Heir said...
    AD/HD is incredibly hard to diagnose in the first place and then should not be medicated because you take a person full of life and energy and say that is a bad thing so we will make them fit the mold.
    it sucks. i hate that a person who just needs to be outside and running around and playing is told there is something wrong with you because you can't sit still and silent in a class room for a whole day. when the only reason any child sits still in a classroom all day is because they are made to.

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