Medication for Students: Ineffective and dangerous; but hey, at least they’re convenient.

I am already very frustrated with medical professionals who suggest medication to their patients, especially who are children, without first giving them options for healthier, more effective, and less dangerous methods – like therapy. What’s worse is that non-medical professions like teachers have begun hinting at and sometimes insisting that parents consider putting their child on medication to prevent “inappropriate behaviors at school”, as if the medication assisted treatment near me wasn’t enough for the child. Similar episodes were reported by the School Health Division in The Department of Education in New Hampshire. If I had been one of the parents that had been told by their child’s teacher to put my child on psychiatric mediation, I would be outraged.

Now consider this:

Studies on Behavior Therapy for Children with ADHD as reported by The Society of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology show that “evidence has demonstrated that when medication is utilized as the only form of treatment, it has not been shown to improve long-term outcomes for children with ADHD.” You cannot solve a problem by masking it or numbing it. If you truly want solve a problem, seek to eliminate the cause – not the symptoms.

As a parent, I would love to excuse myself from taking credit for some of my children’s goofy behaviors; however, it is our responsibility as parents to realize that we are not perfect and maybe their behaviors are as a result of or a response to what we taught them (or didn’t teach them). Understand that your child doesn’t live in a bubble; how does taking medication change a child’s social environment? The maladaptive behaviors in children are in response to a stimuli – ultimately if we want a child’s bad behaviors to be solved, we as parents must observe the stimuli and create change.

Additionally, the Society of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology discussed the scientific literature on treatment for ADHD which “has shown that behavior therapy is the only type of psychosocial treatment that is effective for ADHD.” This is a game changer. However, standard individual psychotherapy for a child does not any effective behavior change – parents must be involved for successful treatment. The data only solidifies the notion that a child isn’t really the one with the problems – the child is simply displaying the manifested behavior elicited from them. So again, I ask this question (as I do everyone who asks my opinion about whether their child should take medication): how can you fully understand someone’s experience or action if you don’t evaluate them as part of a bigger system? Remember: “The individual is the problem” mind-set solves nothing and helps no one.

Have we as a society grown so intolerant of children? Is that essentially what the message of putting your child on medication was designed to be? Why should we work hard on teaching our children morals, values, behaviors, the rights and wrongs – with today’s gnat-like attention span, who has the time? Even to think about sitting down with their children and teaching them how to control and regulate their emotions doesn’t seem plausible to many parents. For too many, it’s just too difficult, when you can hand your “disobedient child” a “magic” pill, so you and the child can get back to posting on Facebook.

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For more info:

http://effectivechildtherapy.org/content/behavior-therapy-adhd

http://education.nh.gov/instruction/school_health/health_meds.htm

Original photo before edits Copyright: GettyImages

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