Originally posted by Ryan Mahoney
IMHO children should almost never (except in extreme cases) be given any kind of mood modifying medication. The need to develop healthy coping skills for the rest of their lives is too important to risk comprimising or retarding the process with drugs. Use of any SSRI’s or MOAI’s should be illegal for persons under the age of 18.
While I agree with you for the most part, I do not think that making them blanketly illegal is a good idea. While the incidence of necessity is, IMHO, much lower than people think it is, I know at least one person who started on such medications around–I believe–age 13, and who desperately needs them. It is not impossible for a child to be truly suffering from clinical depression, or for a child to be bipolar. Denying such a person this sort of medication could potentially result in the person’s death.
That being said…
I once baby sat for a family with five children. All three of the boys were on some sort of Ritalin-type medication. I think there is a definate tendency for some parents to medicate a very active but healthy child simply so that they don’t have to deal with chasing after them. From my experience, only ONE of the kids even remotely needed to be medicated, and, to be honest, his behavior could’ve been caused by the drugs he was on (he was violent, and not in the “rough-housing” way, as multiple past painful bruises caused by having heavy objects thrown at me can attest). The other two just had a bit of a smart mouth (and I knew one of them BEFORE medication; he was my favorite of the three boys).
In other words, people use drugs to baby-sit their kids, just as they use TV.