Drugs 'R' us

By Lunar Loops · Nov 13, 2006 · ·
  1. Lunar Loops
    A long read, but an interesting, if perhaps somewhat disturbing, one. Swis thinks this is a dangerous road to go down. Whilst it may help a small few, the fear would be that they would be doled out like sweets as they currently are to adults. No real evaluation of the individual and their needs takes place with a lot of doctors.

    This from yesterday's Sunday Times Magazine (Ireland & UK):

    Drugs 'R' us

    Depression is a growing problem in children — and it is now legal for British doctors to give Prozac to eight-year-olds. So will more parents be tempted to use pills to make their children happy? John Cornwell investigates. Photograph: Mark Guthrie

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]The alarm calls started ahead of the new school year. A strident chorus of doctors, politicians, religious leaders and child-interest groups is claiming that too many of our kids are stressed, dysfunctional and suffering from mental illness. Tony Blair and the Archbishop of Canterbury have focused on inadequate child rearing, such as the poor parenting skills of teenage single mums; David Cameron blames lack of common-or-garden physical affection. And while leading psychiatrists, such as Ian Goodyer of Cambridge University, continue to cite traditional culprits – marriage break-up and domestic discord – a constituency of 100 childhood experts, led by the neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield, is castigating unprecedented pressures at home and at school – from TV advertising to government-legislated school tests, from lack of imaginative reading matter to the tyranny of middle-class parental ambition. “Children,” says Greenfield, “are being pushed beyond their limits.”
    In a new book, The Price of Privilege, the American psychologist Madeline Levine claims that affluent children, with parents earning more than £63,000 a year, have “three times the rate of depression and anxiety disorders as ordinary teenagers, as well as substantially higher rates of substance abuse, cutting and suicide”.
    NI_MPU('middle');Research on middle-class childhood pressures lags behind in the UK, but the popular psychologist Oliver James, who is set to publish in January a new book, Affluenza, about the mental cost of wealth, warns that it is not affluence alone that “translates into greater happiness or mental health”, but the quality of early parental care.
    Pleas for action have come thick and fast: early intervention in the case of dysfunctional families, counsels Tony Blair – before birth, if necessary; hug a hoodie, advocates Cameron; more free time for children to dream, recommends Greenfield. But a stark proposal, likely to impact on the children of the affluent more than the economically deprived, is now on offer: let them take Prozac.
    This summer, the influential European Medicines Agency (EMEA) officially advocated the prescription of the antidepressant Prozac within the EU for children from the age of eight upwards, reinforcing a similar recommendation made last year by the UK’s Nice (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), despite the known dangerous side effects of the drug on children and adolescents.
    The nub of the medical authorities’ argument is that there are mental conditions that only Prozac or Prozac-type drugs can reach. Prozac (or fluoxetine) came off patent five years ago, prompting the manufacture of a number of generic drugs of essentially the same chemical compound. As for the side effects, which include the risk of suicide, everything depends, the medical authorities advise, on the circumstances and care with which the Prozac-type drug is prescribed and monitored.
    The EMEA and Nice have insisted that treatment with fluoxetine should be preceded and attended by psychotherapy. But Sane, the mental-health charity, and YoungMinds, the childhood mental-illness watchdog, are concerned about the lack of adequate resources in the National Health Service for the provision of psychotherapy for children.
    Nor is there legislation in place that prevents doctors from prescribing fluoxetine to children without the recommended safeguards. There is ample evidence that some doctors have been prescribing the drug “off licence” to toddlers – in other words, they are doling them out outside of recommended usage, as an antidote to infant “agitation”. A study made by a pharmacology unit at Southampton University recently surveyed a small sample of 100 general practices in the UK, and found that 19 children – whose ages range from 1 to 12 – were on fluoxetine.
    Against the background of the huge increase in the use of the amphetamine-like drug Ritalin for attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), especially for middle-class children, there are fears, says Professor David Healey of the University of North Wales, that Prozac could follow a similar pattern of rapidly expanding usage as a quick fix for children deemed to be “low” or depressed. “Companies have been enabled to medicalise childhood distress, and as the rapidly changing culture surrounding the management of such problems indicates, companies have the power to change cultures and to do so in astonishingly short periods of time.” According to Department of Health (DoH) figures, the past 10 years have seen a tenfold increase in prescriptions for Ritalin in Britain to combat a range of perceived childhood and adolescent problems – from restlessness to lack of concentration in class.
    According to the DoH, an estimated 30,000-40,000 children and teenagers are already being prescribed antidepressants in Britain (off licence in the case of pre-puberty children), and about half of those are treated with fluoxetine or Prozac. In total, the UK Prescription Pricing Authority reports a rise in courses of Prozac-type drugs from 3.7m in 2000 to 4.4m last year. No figures are as yet available for 2006 following the recommendation of Nice, and the authority offers no breakdown for prescriptions for children anyway. But prescriptions for children are clearly set to rise despite serious doubts about fluoxetine that have persisted ever since the drug first reached our pharmacies in the mid-1980s.
    The debate over all antidepressants and children has been especially fierce in the US, where a federal panel of drug experts last year found a proven link between antidepressants and suicide in children and teenagers. The risk, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is high when the course of treatment starts, or when there is a change of dosage, or sudden withdrawal. Last year an American teenager, Jeff Weise, shot dead nine men, women and children before committing suicide at Red Lake high school, Minnesota. His aunt Tammy Lussier told journalists that he first attempted suicide after he went on Prozac. After that, he was taking increased dosages, she said: “I can’t help but think it was too much, that it must have set him off.”
    Fluoxetine is a compound designed to combat low activity of a natural brain chemical called serotonin – a condition associated with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders, such as nonstop hand-washing. Problems begin, say neuropharmacologists, when serotonin is absorbed too speedily into the billions of minuscule “receptor sites” at the synapses – the contact points between brain cells. Fluoxetine latches onto the receptors like a key in a lock, to switch off serotonin absorption, or “serotonin reuptake”, thus increasing the presence and action of this vital natural chemical in the brain. Hence, Prozac is known as an SSRI –a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor – which, scientists claim, elevates the mood of the depressed and increases “impulse control”.
    Questions have been raised, however, as to whether an individual, with paranoid fantasies that have been rendered inactive in the depths of depression, gains impetus as a result of fluoxetine to fulfil a murderous fantasy rather than control the impulse. This was the explanation proposed in a civil action in America following 47-year-old Joe Wesbecker’s shooting spree in 1989. He shot 20 of his co-workers at the Louisville Courier-Journal printing plant, killing eight of them, before killing himself. He had been on Prozac for one month.
    The SSRI strategy is based on the belief that there is a direct link between the state of our brain molecules and our moods. The co-inventor of Prozac, the late Dr Ray Fuller, once told me during the Wesbecker trial that the SSRI proceeds from the principle that “behind every crooked thought there lies a crooked molecule”.
    Three years ago, the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued warnings about most antidepressants for children, specifically including SSRIs, on the grounds of risk of suicide. The view was based on a review by a group of medical experts studying all available evidence of clinical trials on both sides of the Atlantic.
    The MHRA asserted that the benefits of treating under-18s with any SSRI, except one, Prozac, were outweighed by the risks of side effects. The drugs mentioned were paroxetine (Seroxat), sertraline (Lustral), citalopram (Cipramil) and fluvoxamine (Faverin).
    Fluoxetine alone was judged on statistical evidence, and in strict specific circumstances (of which more later), to have a positive balance of risks versus benefits in the treatment of the most severe forms of depression in the under-18s. In other words, when risk of suicide, for example, is so great and persistent that it outweighs the worst-case-possible side effects of the drug.
    But the gap between an 18-year-old and an eight-year-old is huge in brain-developmental terms. And Prozac itself has been associated with suicidal patients of all ages, as well as side effects such as stunted growth and deleterious effects on the sexual organs of children. SSRIs have been associated with atrophy of gonadal tissue in boys, indicating future problems with puberty and sexual activity later in life.
    It is still not known whether there could be a deleterious effect on a girl’s ovaries. Two years ago, researchers at Columbia University in New York found that young mice exposed to fluoxetine and other SSRIs were prone to abnormal brain development; the drugs appeared to be inhibiting normal neural growth factors. Animal studies have claimed that SSRIs weaken bone growth. There are also addiction issues, as yet unexplored in children owing to lack of longitudinal studies.
    Over the past two years, drug companies have been consistently criticised by health bodies in the US and Britain, including a British government advisory group on medicines, for refusing to provide evidence of the side effects of all SSRIs on children, especially Lustral, Seroxat and Prozac. The Lancet recently complained in an editorial that research on SSRIs in children is marked by “confusion, manipulation, and institutional failure”. It went on to charge that regulations are “made entirely redundant if the results are so easily manipulated by those with potentially massive financial gains”.
    The use of antidepressants on children, against the background of poor safety reporting, prompts concern about the status of childhood – biological, social and cultural. A regard for childhood as an independent stage in life’s journey – a time for play, discovery, and rapid emotional and physical development – is, in fact, relatively recent in the history of the West. For many centuries, and certainly from the Middle Ages, when infant mortality was high, children were seen as expendable miniature adults with no special physiological or psychological status. By the 17th and 18th centuries, children in England, under the influence of spiritual leaders like the puritanical Charles Wesley, were seen as especially prone to sinfulness and in need of harsh discipline.

    By the 19th century, two contrasting perspectives were emerging. Even as children were being exploited as cheap labour, suitable for sending into coal mines or up chimneys, the poets William Blake and William Wordsworth were promoting childhood as a stage of sacred innocence. The idea went back to Plato, the philosopher of ancient Greece, who believed that children had pre-existed in a world of perfect forms. The path to maturity, according to Wordsworth, signalled the onset of the tragic encroachment of the adult “prison house”. The legacy of Blake and Wordsworth, and a consequent tendency towards sentimentality, may well account, up to a point, for the sense of horror, of taboo-breaking, with which many people react to the idea of children on Prozac.
    Philosophy and sentiment apart, the neurophysiological unknowns are substantial. The American professors of psychology Alison Gopnik and Andrew Meltzoff claim in their book How Babies Think that typically by the age of three “the number of synapses reaches its peak when there are about 15,000 synapses for each brain cell, which is actually many more than in an adult brain”. They argue that children have brains that are “literally more active, more connected, and much more flexible than adult brains”. So under what conditions could a child, still subject to rapid neurobiological development, show signs of clinical depression comparable to an adult, or even an adolescent, so as to be a suitable case for treatment with powerful mind-altering drugs?
    Thirty years ago, when many psychiatrists were still influenced by Freudian psychoanalysis, it was argued that children before puberty had not yet developed a superego, the controlling mechanism of behaviour, and hence could not suffer depression in the same sense as a mature adult. Dr Hills-Smith, an experienced consultant psychiatrist in his early forties working in Weybridge, Surrey, reveals that the conviction is still alive and well in his generation.
    “I don’t believe that children before puberty are ever clinically depressed,” he tells me flatly. “They are just sad.” Hills-Smith is a gentle giant of a man who believes that children with emotional problems should never be treated with anything more than talk therapy attended by close involvement of the young patient’s family. “For me, the idea of a depressed child would be something completely new,” he says. But is he just plain wrong? Is it possible that children are changing under new societal pressures, and that psychiatric diagnoses are only now beginning to pick up on the alteration?
    If the case of a boy named Sam is anything to go by, depression in childhood is by no means a novelty. Sam lived in a village in rural Devon. The youngest of 10 children (eight brothers and a sister) in the second marriage of an absent-minded widowed father, he was bullied openly by his elder brother Frank, and in secret by a live-in nanny. His mother was emotionally cold. By the age of five he was agitated, prone to nightmares, and a loner. At seven, he attempted to plunge a kitchen knife into his brother Frank. His mum appeared and stopped him just in time.
    Sam ran away. Lying by a fast-running river all night, he was saved from freezing to death by a passing neighbour. Not long afterwards, his father died and Sam was sent to a strict boarding school in London. He grew up with a gamut of emotional and behavioural problems, he was prone to excessive mood swings, addicted to a hard drug, liable to compulsive and irresponsible behaviour, and had difficulties with relationships. He left his wife and three children after six years of marriage. Sam’s case history may appear totally of our time, but he was born in 1772, and his name was Samuel Taylor Coleridge – the poet who wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. He has left an unsparing account of childhood depression and its later consequences. In maturity he wrote a powerful poem called Dejection: An Ode:
    A grief without a pang, a void, dark, and drear,
    A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief,
    Which finds no natural outlet no relief.
    The interest of Coleridge’s case is its classic repertoire of leading depressive symptoms from childhood, and their association with the original genius that made him a great poet. Critical biographers have seen such childhood dysfunctions as part of the necessary, if painful, underpinning of artistic talents later in life – from John Clare to Sylvia Plath. The same could be said, moreover, of the rich and variegated tapestry of the entire human condition. Had Coleridge been dosed with Prozac, his genius might have been quenched and the world all the poorer for it.
    Should we be so overly concerned about the occurrence of even severe emotional tensions and difficulties in childhood to the extent of wishing to eradicate them entirely? Professor David Healey, a psychiatrist who campaigns against the misuse of psychotropic drugs like Ritalin, thinks there is a tendency nowadays to panic about children’s peculiarities, upsets and moods. “The real problem for children and diagnosis of depression is that we are not prepared to live with variation as we did in the past,” he says. “We have more norms of behaviour than we ever had before. We want kids to conform to ideals based often on parental insecurities and ambitions.”
    According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, authentic depression occurs when the feeling of being low or sad “goes on and on, or dominates and interferes with your whole life”. Children can indeed be depressed in this sense, according to the official view of the college, but the incidence is fairly rare: “One in every 200 children under 12 years old, and two to three in every 100 teenagers”.
    But is the incidence actually on the increase? Yes, if prescriptions are anything to go by. A recent study based on information from the GP Research Database found that between 1991 and 2001, the rate of British children prescribed antidepressants rose by 70%. In the US, a pandemic is already in progress. One out of every six American children, according to a recent declaration of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, is taking a prescription antidepressant such as Prozac.
    Prozac, according to Nice, should be prescribed only in severe cases of depression. But how severe is severe? Would a psychiatrist recommend Prozac for a boy who has attempted suicide at the age of 11? When he was five, Garry’s mother, who lives in Kent, split up with his father after a period of domestic strife, and took up with a new boyfriend. They got married and Garry’s mother became pregnant again. Garry never grew to like his stepfather, nor to accept the departure of his biological father. He was jealous of his new sibling. He thought of her as an “alien” and wished her dead. There were problems at home, including violent attacks on the half-sister, insomnia, uncontrollable rages.
    At school he lacked concentration and truanted. Only after Garry, aged 11, tried to garrotte himself with a belt strapped to the bedstead did his mother seek psychiatric help.
    I spoke to his psychiatrist, who insists that he would not prescribe Garry Prozac, although he admits that the boy is much more than just “sad”. “I’ve been making a lot of progress with him in talk sessions,” Garry’s psychiatrist told me, “and he seems to be coming out of it with cognitive behavioural therapy, a kind of talk therapy that deals with his current feelings as he can understand them.”
    So in what circumstances would a sensible child psychiatrist recommend mind-altering drugs? Ian Goodyer, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Cambridge University, believes that there are very few circumstances indeed. “Of all the estimated 1-in-200 children suffering clinical depression,” he tells me, “you will find just a handful, a tiny minority, so specifically affected that antidepressants may be the best or only answer: where the depression is so severe that the benefits are seen, on balance, to outweigh the undeniable risks.”
    I’m convinced, although reluctantly, that I was introduced to just such a child in north London by a child-interest group. I shall call her Hattie. She is the eldest sibling with two younger sisters. “About a year ago she began to self-harm, cutting herself with scissors,” her mother told me. “She had counselling with a clinical psychologist, but nothing seemed to work; she was slashing herself regularly. Then we got really alarmed the day she deliberately swallowed a cup of bleach, at first diluted as if she was experimenting. Then she did it a second time, less diluted, and landed in hospital. A psychiatrist took on her case and he recommended Prozac.”
    The psychiatrist insisted that Hattie should take the drug while hospitalised and under constant observation. “There’s a link, as we all know,” says Hattie’s mother, “between Prozac-type drugs and suicide, especially in children and adolescents, so I saw that it was necessary to monitor her constantly.” Hattie’s mother denies that there is any unusual family tension or dysfunction that might have given rise to her daughter’s problems. Significantly, the family is middle class with both parents in professional jobs, and reasonably well off. Hattie’s problems, says her mother, came “totally out of the blue”. Hattie, she goes on, is significantly improved under medication and appears to have conquered her impulse to self-harm. Perhaps understandably, her mother swears by Prozac.
    According to Professor Goodyer, a consultant must weigh up extremely carefully the risk-benefit ratio of Prozac, or any other SSRI, in each individual case. The seriousness of the decision is clearly seen in the account of side effects, other than suicidal feelings, in the manual on childhood depression of which Goodyer is the editor: “SSRIs may provoke behavioural activation, in which patients become impulsive, silly, agitated and daring. Other side effects include gastrointestinal symptoms, restlessness, headaches, bruising and changes in appetite, sleep and sexual functioning.”
    While there may be a handful of children that Prozac will help, suspicion that expanding prospective use of the drug for children will be commercially driven is irresistible. “Our current state of knowledge,” says Professor Healey, “is hardly sufficient to understand the true nature of the conditions that we are treating, or whether they are truly beneficial.” Marketing of mind-altering drugs, he says, is routinely unscientific in its approach, employing impressionistic hype rather than proper epidemiological studies and full disclosure of clinical-trial data.
    There are widespread fears by psychiatrists. Peter Breggin, the psychiatrist, pharmaceutical watchdog and author of Talking Back to Prozac, believes the idea that there is a universal chemical fix for depression will result in the perception that depression itself is on the increase.
    “This process,” according to Healey, “is now leading to the medicalisation of all kinds of mental distress in childhood.”
    According to neuroscientists such as Professor Steven Rose of the Open University, a deep cultural shift is in progress whereby unhappiness, sadness, depression, and other natural negative emotions, are not explained by talking of circumstances in social and familial relationships, or cultural and economic conditions, but reductively in brain-chemical “levels”.
    The mechanism of serotonin, as the cause of depression, has been widely diffused in popular culture through the media and the internet, and its application to children has become inevitable, often through parents. I talked to a GP practising in Corby, the East Midlands former steel town. “A man came into my surgery with his 10-year-old daughter,” she said. “He told me the girl was badly depressed, and demanded Prozac for her.” The man was excitable and menacing. “When I refused to prescribe the drug, he leant over the desk and threatened me physically.” It turned out that the father was himself being treated for depression with Prozac, and his report of the girl’s symptoms, this doctor later discovered, was based on his own adult impression of the causes.
    The depths of the cultural change, favouring drug fixes in preference to a multidimensional approach to children’s problems, is further complicated by an increase in pressures and stresses on children, especially within striving middle-class families. Professor Paul Cooper of the Leicester University department of education has cited “school grades, and fear of failure at school”. Cooper has made a special study of the rationale behind the prescribing of Ritalin for ADHD. He is convinced that Ritalin’s widespread use in the United States, and increasingly in Britain, avoids tackling the true problems children face today.
    “Children in Britain,” he declares, “are among the most frequently tested pupils in the world, and pupils who do not do well in national tests are increasingly seen as a threat to development and survival of schools and the careers of individual teachers.” At the same time, Cooper indicates that the chief problems relating to “concerns about school grades” and “fear of failure at school” lie outside the “most economically disadvantaged”.
    He says it’s not surprising that even pupils take “a highly pragmatic view” of medication, believing it helps them cope with educational pressures. Collecting first-hand evidence from children themselves, Cooper cites this note by a 12-year-old girl: “When I’m on Ritalin I work harder, and I’m nicer, but when I’m out of school and not on Ritalin I’m sometimes silly, or I act stupid or do things that I wouldn’t really do if I was on Ritalin. When I’m on Ritalin I have more control over what I say.”
    The group of 100 concerned scientists, psychologists and writers headed by Susan Greenfield believe that a comprehensive alteration in patterns of schooling and parenting is called for – “real play, as opposed to sedentary, screen-based entertainment; first-hand experience of the world they live in, and regular interaction with the real-life significant adults in their lives”.
    Are we facing a future in which children will be wrongfully medicated, as parents, teachers and doctors turn readily to chemical fixes as a substitute for tackling normal childhood problems through relationships and talk therapy? Much depends on whether the doctors are prepared to abide strictly by the qualifications laid down by the EMEA and Nice: that Prozac prescriptions must be a final recourse, preceded, and attended, by psychotherapy. If strictly followed, the regulations could put a break on the use of such drugs for children; much depends on the attitudes of parents and the pressures they exert on GPs at a time of declining resources for psychotherapy on the NHS.
    YoungMinds, the British advisory group for children with mental-health problems, has counselled parents to be especially cautious. Avis Johns, development director of YoungMinds, says: “The prescription of medication should never be the first and only course of action when children start to experience mental-health difficulties. A holistic approach is essential, involving the family and a range of medical approaches.”
    Johns acknowledges, however, that “there could be circumstances where psychological treatment alone isn’t effective”. Ultimately it will be parents who decide whether pressure to resort to Prozac becomes widespread. If British parents take the lead already established in the United States, it will be the more affluent who turn to the medication fix.
    Depression in children, it is becoming increasingly clear, is not only a consequence of family dysfunction, marriage break-ups, child abuse, and combinations of genetic and environmental disadvantage. Depression can lurk and flourish in the minds of “normal” children whose parents deliver them to £5,000-a-term day schools in top-of-the-range 4x4s. Childhood psychological misery can be found in an ambience of back-to-back improving activities – from flute lessons to tennis training to private maths tuition; in the pony club and on the junior ski slopes.
    When such children falter and fail, turning to forms of self-hatred and self-harm, will their striving, over-anxious parents wake up to their own failings and inadequacies? Will they be able, as Madeline Levine counsels, to belatedly allow their children to be average or below average, giving them time and opportunity to discover by themselves who and what they are? Or, encouraged by official recommendations, will they readily turn to medication such as Prozac as yet another means of seizing a procurable advantage for their kids’ challenged performance?

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  1. grecian
    Imagine being labelled with depression as a kid, you would probably never fully recover from that label. Depression is a fairly new phenonema as i understand it, it didnt even really exist before about 100 or so years ago and now it is a huge health problem. Any one got ideas on why this is?

    I saw a news story the other day about a depressed 4-year old, i'll post it here if i can find it again.
  2. grecian

    Girl, 4, 'suffering depression'

    A four-year-old is suffering from depression because she cannot attend the same primary school as her nursery friends, according to her doctor.

    Mollie Murphy from Sunderland struggles to sleep and vomits before lessons, so her parents are keeping her at home.

    Sunderland Council said Mollie missed out on a place at East Herrington school because of a late application.

    Her GP, Kevin Weaver, wrote to the local authority asking for a change of school, citing stress and depression.

    'Backwards and forwards'

    Mollie's mother, Victoria Anderson, said: "I thought how can a little girl suffer from that? It's an adult's problem and Mollie's only four. But he told me it does happen.

    "There wasn't a thing wrong with her before. Her health was fine, but now she's backwards and forwards to the doctors."

    Mollie's parents say they are happy with the standards of her current school - Farringdon Primary - but are keeping her at home for health reasons.

    A council spokesman said and there were no free places at East Herrington school but the family could appeal to the Local Government Ombudsman
  3. geezaman
    The only reason SWIM can think of for the 4 year old case would be that she had been denied very little got her own way a little to often and is having difficulty accepting in this case she cannot have her own way.
    SWIM wonders if the parents might be having some effect on the situation as from SWIMs knowledge and psych studies children as young as that are quite adaptable, and quite easily feel comfortable around new situations and people as it is part of exploration of the world.

    SWIM wonders if the parents of Mollie are perhaps inadvertently having a negative influence on her health, perhaps building her hopes and expectations for the other school too high or not allowing her to move on or just not being so positive about the school she now attends

    whatever it is its sad and worrying, and being labeled at such a young age SWIM cant see as having any positive effects.

    But SWIM also wonders why she is unwilling or unable to make new friends at that age it should be relatively easy or at least as easy as it ever will be.
  4. Riconoen {UGC}
    They give powerful amphetamines to kids like adderral why not ssri's...*nods head in grave dssapointment of how bad parenting can ruin a kids life*
  5. RunRedFox
    well we live in a society that encourages children to be succesful and were sucess has nothing to do with happiness, love or truth for that matter. Morals and values are twisted by interested groups and we have all been brainwashed into believing that we our what we own. The masses our suffering silently for big business gain... we need not medicate our youth to chemically accomadate them into our sick culture, we need to re evaluate our culture and stride towards emotional awareness, destroying the collective unconcious and teaching people how to be happy regardless of circumstance.
  6. Trebor
    Fuck me! Shroomonger, did you type that? I saw the article aswelll. As a side note, did you happen to see last weeks one about Kratom, BZP and Salvia? It was in the style supplement (Which my girlfriend reads) it was interesting.
  7. Beeker
    I've seen what Provac does to kids who are bi-polar ... they off themselves.
  8. geezaman
    SWIMs right with you rxbandit, you've expressed the views SWIM holds but in a much better way than SWIM could;) .
    SWIM has often had to put extensive effort into evaluating what is really important, and its sadly not what society, teachers or some parents too intouch with media influence would lead SWIM to believe or tell others.

    Having recently finished compulsory education in the UK SWIM knows this to be true, there were far too many instances where SWIM was lead to believe failure at this point means the end of the world, and your aspirations, the truth is (SWIM knows from his own and friends occasional failures) quite different and goals can be reached what ever the outcome of most of these supposed sink or swim moments. SWIM looking back realizes he was caused great stress and unhappiness due to these times when he was lead to believe failure would pretty much be the end of his world, and almost all of them unnecessarily so.
  9. raven3davis
    If the pill is almost as big as your tongue, then ya too young. Before jumping in line to get medication the parents should look at certain circumstances which might make their kid depressed. Proceed from there.
  10. AntiAimer
    What's really sad is how everyone would be labled depressed in a medical sense. LIFE makes you depressed, simple as that. Somedays you may be depressed while others your happy and dandy. These parents who "fuck" there kids up at a young age and there doctors, should all be shot. Saying there 8 year old is to hyper and not paying attention in school and then labeling them as ADD or ADHD...come on now. Where's the common sense in people nowadays. Or being a teenager and then just going through life, then lableing them as depressed. Our society is really getting sad, the human race at this rate will never evolve. All these drugs do are make evil people rich and young people dumb and helpless & worse off then they where. I seriously dont understand how these doctors and pharmaceutical companys get away with it...then the government just wants you to say no, but yes to synthetic manmade drugs if your doctor say's you need it or you think you need it because you just saw some fancy commercial on T.V.
  11. AntiAimer
    To add to it, everyday theres some new really bad sideeffect...for instance all these diseases doctors are comeing up with. That back in the day, where never to be heard of or people even getting them. The connection is there, specially if they ever attempted to do studies on the matter. From people who took such and such, or took this and that through out there life....then suddenly gets some disease. Because really, if your takeing whatever medication, your just a ginny pig. Every year or every few years, some drug(s) are taken off the market because this and that sideeffect.
  12. geezaman
    SWIM wonders if labeling and these disorders have increased somewhat because of gullible parents and society and pharmaceutical companies too good at making money. - tell people the problem they didn't now they had and offer them a cure from your company- (by this i do not mean that all depressed people are silly or susceptible, but that some people who d not suffer depression may be lead to believe they do). Now we have a word "depressed" which is socially acceptable and with wide symptoms every one can use it, and if attention is what is wanted, telling someone (perhaps a doctor) your depressed will have a greater effect than, "Ive had allot of bad days lately". Its a god given term for hypochondriacs.

    In addition labeling is increasingly something we look for to make our selfs different from the norm if this ID can be potentially beneficial as an excuse for not meeting expectations, all the better. A friend who suffered no depression to SWIMs knowledge and he and th guy were pretty much best friends, informed a teacher he was really depressed and no longer was bothered about things like work deadlines, for him they no longer applied, turning up for classes also became optional. He saw no doctors but effectively abused the system (not something i condone as some people do have real problems) and it was disturbing how easily he was able to do so, the only slight problem to his plan occurred when his parents were called into school, but he just went along with the story.
  13. snow child
    swiim thinks as a child that his doctor gave him ritlin. that giving prozak to kids. will only do one thing start those kids, that are given those drugs on the path thinking that they need a drug to "fix" there life. and they will never have fun with drugs and when they get older they will just have the need to have more drugs to fix there life fuck the docs of today
  14. Lunar Loops
    No I didn't type all of that, just good old cut-and-paste. Yes, I did read the article about legal highs. It was interesting, but a little worrying. For starters I do not like the way they lumped Kratom (and it's the first time I've really seen this even mentioned in such articles) and salvia in with BZP. Anyway, somewhat off topic, so I won't rant too much about that here.
  15. Trebor
    What they did with the Legal Highs article was class Salvia as a "party drug". You just know now that some upper middle class London teen will see that and think "Hmm, legal substitute for E, I'll try it on the weekend." They didn't even say that it is not meant to be used to fuel dancing or that it was a plant with a couple of thousand years Shamanic usage behind it.
  16. angeliclight
    A different perspective:

    I'm a teacher. Because of overcrowding, most of my classes are arouind 32-36 kids. This makes it difficult for us to service each childs needs. (I'll get to the drugs in a minute) There is a law that states that each student with an IEP (Individualized Education Plan--personally created for students with academic difficulties, or serious behavual problems). We as a school and teachers can get into serious trouble by breaking this law. Now, the problem is that schools never hire enough Special Education teachers or Instructional Assisstants. Some children have IEP's that state that that student is to receive 10 hours of services per week. Because there are not enough SPED teachers, this is impossible. Also in the IEP's are special accomdations that must be made by the teachers for each of these students. I have had as many as 14 students with IEP's in a class with above thirty kids. There is not enough time built into our work day to color code things for one student, repeat all oral directions or write out specific directions for each activity or have notes on each lecture for them or have enough space in the classroom for all 14 students in the front row (there are only 7 desks in the front row and that is pushing it in our small classrooms. As teachers we are required to constantly circulate the room and check student work. This is nearly impossible since we are required to get through about 300-400 pages of curriculum per year.

    On to the meds. It is very frustrating for some teachers to have 6 or 7 behavior problems in one class in addition to 6 or 7 more students with IEP's. It's impossible to teach when you have students constantly interupting the lesson (sometimes because it gives them pleasure to do so) by shouting at you, shouting at others, singing, poking or punching their neighbors, throwing chairs/desks, refusing to bring materials to class, and the requirement that all teacher's the student has through out the day must fill out behavior and academic checklists at the end of class, which sometimes means 6 or 7 in one class, and we are forced to end class 5 minutes early just to do that etc. Those are just a few examples. This makes it even more difficult to assist students with academic IEP's.

    The difficulty comes when half the IEP parents refuse to put their kids on any medication at all. If students are on the right meds, and on the right dose, and if their parent's REMEMBER to give the meds to them they can be extremly helpful to every student in the classroom IEP or not. Parents find just about everything out that is going on in the classroom. The law about IEP's states that we are prohibited from telling anyone that a particular student has an IEP or telling anyone else outside the immediate circle. Many parents call and complain about either the lack of control I seem to have over the class (which is a false accusation for the most part depending on the teacher, or the lack of control I have over an individual student. It is very difficult to help a parent who believes that those with IEP's are distracting their student, or academically holding them back.

    The worst thing that happens to a teacher is dealing with parents who refuse to medicate and then blame the students difficulties on us. I had one student whose situation was the same as described. Her behavior was so uncontrolable that she actually begged her parents to put her on meds. They refused. About 7 office rerferals, and other students taunting her and making fun of her, she was put on meds in 7th grade, after we had dealt with her for a year. Her team of teachers, including me really resented the fact that we'd had to deal with her behaviors for an entire school year.

    I truly believe that with "inclusion" (developed about seven years ago and allows IEP students to be integrated into regular classes), parents are doing a disservice to their own child and their classmates by not placing them on medication. Each case is individually studied, reported on, and medication is consistantly checked by the school nurse who distributes medication at certain times thrugh out the day.

    If students are placed on the wrong medication, teachers are trained to pick up side effects almost right away. It is true that some drugs cause students to have little or no affect, cause depression, cause them to be unable to interact with other students, be unusually exhaused, and many others. Because we are trained so well, many times meds can be changed immediately. However, there are many parents who are not "on boared", meaning they forget to administer meds, and students even come in and tell us right away that their parents forgot to give them their pills, so could we be understanding on that particular day. Parents don't always take their children to the doctor straight away because they are too busy, and sometimes for financial reasons. These are the situations where the child is being done a terrible disservice.

    Teachers do not want or expect to have the perfect class. Life isn't that way. But we do expect to have parents who care enough to be there for their children every step of the way. Some parents are more concerned about what other's will think if their child is on medication. It's ridiculas how they put their own confidence issues on their students.

    There are some meds that are better than others. The right dose of adderal or wellbutrin can be magical for kids. They are able to pay attention, earn better grades, make friends, and make their parents happy. Other meds such as risperadal (sp) turn students into zombies. There are some drugs that are too strong for young children (I teach 6th grade) like prozac or lithium.

    Anyway, thanks for taking time to read this post. I hope it helps some people.
  17. geezaman
    east coast? SWIM guesses America? SWIM feels very sorry for you angeliclight, from what SWIY has written it seems to SWIM you are a good teacher, doing it from passion rather than for a pay cheque (excuse SWIM if he is wrong, and it is meant as a compliment rather than insult) SWIM has experienced some teachers who as far as any one could tell were there for the pay cheque, they were often not particularly liked by the students.
    The teachers that did care, were pretty obvious and regarded more highly, this does not mean they didn't have to deal with a whole big heap of difficulties and shit that we threw in their direction and they should never have had to deal with. SWIM is also aware that as far as he knows thus far in life, teaching must be one of the most difficult and at times most demoralizing and least rewarding jobs around with children who just dont want to be there and top down initiatives dictating new plans rules and regulations which are great in an ideal world and are beautiful in manifestos, but in reality are unworkable. Although as a student SWIM wouldn't have known the ins an outs of the special education service/helpers/staff, he was aware that it was a far stretched resource, and only in SWIMs school given to help the very slow kids, with the hyper violent and slightly nutty kids the regular teachers were on their own (sorry for the less than PC terms).

    In relation to the first article again SWIM thinks he found an exert worth highlighting.
    "....a deep cultural shift is in progress where by unhappiness, sadness, depression, and other natural negative emotions, are not explained by talking of circumstances in social and familial relationships, or cultural and economic conditions, but reductively in brain-chemical “levels”."
    SWIM has a number of friends on medication for depression and other things, and it is noticeable when they have not taken it or run out, SWIM is sure angeliclight is right that medication when correctly prescribed is good and does help, but that it should be used for most people as a quick fix as most peoples depression or other issues does not stem from a permanent brain chemical imbalance but from a social issue effecting they're life at that time.
    Finding the exact reason why the individual is unhappy should surely be the priority. as after the quick fix is employed as each individual is different, one might decide they then need it and adjust they're behavior deliberately when not given it, while another might be aware that its not real, stop taking it, and spiral down into attempted suicide or other possibilities. Surely there are just to many possibilities and so 1 on 1 talking with a trained professional to find the rout of the problem is the only (even if time consuming and expensive) answer for most people.

    There was a very interesting 2 part film documentary on BBC 2 a few months ago SWIM is sure will be repeated, it dealt with many of the issues raised in this thread based around depression and medication. If any SWIYs get a chance to catch it it was very interesting and informative - "Steven Fry-
    The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive"
  18. angeliclight
    I'm kind of lucky I guess because I am Manic Depressive. I've been treated regularly for eight years now. I never stop taking my medicine. Ever. Though recently I experienced an unfortunate Lithium overdose. It's very hard to do that so I didn't do it on purpose, and it scared the hell out of me. I lost five days of memory. I had no idea what I was doing or saying. And what I was told later was horrid. My psychiatrist said that sometimes even by taking a regular dose, a person's blood toxicity level can reach a very dangerous level. Most of the drugs for depression are very dangerous. You have to be smart enough to research everything you are placed on. And, the withdraw from some of them is similar to heroin withdraw. Even when the person is titrated off of it.

    I think I'm blessed in having this disorder because it has helped me a great deal in teaching. Also, I was sexually abused for five years from the age of 5-10 by my step-father, who was ironically a preacher. HA! I feel blessed to have had that experience too. Not only has it fueled my writing (I only have my thesis to complete for my MA in Creative Writing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland), but it also has helped me in teaching. I have been able to save one student from abuse and another from suicide. I can read people pretty well...except in relationships...why is that always the case? We are good at helping others but suck at helping ourselves.

    Anyway, many of my students can sense that I know a lot about what they are feeling, so they come to me in confidence to talk. I am by law required to report even the slightest suspicion of abuse...that has only happened twice in my career. Many of these kids are already on something for depression.

    Generally, I became a teacher to help kids like me. Not really for the curriculum, and the money kind of sucks. The paid vacation days and snow days are awesome, and we have summers off BUT are not paid during that time. Most civil servants are paid pretty menial salaries. Not only that but as teacher's we are required to get our Master's degree. Each of my classes costs almost 2 grand. The school system pays all of about five hundred. They are so helpful eh? Because I want to help people as much as possible, I created a website with a lot of information about sexual abuse and Manic Depression. I have been told that it has helped people along the way. The address is www.shadowpond.net Don't worry if you have questions.

    Take care all.
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