Reaction Paper to The Medicated Child There are many pros and cons to both medicating a child and not medicating child which is why it is such a controversial subject. In my own opinion, I think that medicating a child should be a last resort and only used in extreme circumstances because of my own experiences and because I feel that there are more disadvantages than benefits in giving children medication. First, the anti -depressants and anti-psychotics that are prescribed to children mostly have only been tested on adults and are made for adults.
Even over-the-counter medicines, such as Tylenol, are broken down into child and adult categories so I feel that more powerful drugs that change the chemicals in the brain should at least have these categories as well. Second, a child’s brain is constantly developing and giving children medication that affects the brain and its chemicals can be highly detrimental to the development of the child’s brain, especially in the prepubescent years.
Third, the fact that many children have been misdiagnosed as having ADHD when in reality they have bipolar disorder shows how ridiculous giving children medications in the past and now actually is. A doctor is not only prescribing powerful medications that affect the brain but may be giving the child medication that doesn’t even help with the problem. Most of the children showed in the videos, I feel, should have had alternative therapy before they were prescribed medication.
They could have taken classes, talk therapy with a psychologist, exercise, or meditation to help the problem before being medicated. The fact that one of the children at one point was taking up to 8 medications is unacceptable and constantly adding a new medication to counteract the side effects of another is too detrimental to a child. The only case that I felt would require immediate treatment with medication would be the girl, Jessica, when she was five years old. Clearly, a child who is in a state of mania and talks about morbid things like cutting off her parent’s heads needs immediate treatment.
Suicide and death from overdose are two more reasons why a child should not be prescribed medication. I feel that if a child is being prescribed an anti-depressant, they should be constantly monitored and always under a physicians care to make sure they are not having suicidal thoughts and if they are, then they should be immediately titrated off the medication. Death from overdose is absurd and could be easily prevented by not prescribing heavy doses of a single medication or mixing medications that can be harmful.
Last, the fact that many doctors switched from anti-depressants to anti-psychotics because of the “black box” that warns about possible suicide is clearly an example of how so much is unknown about children and medications and how some doctors will prescribe a more powerful drug to stay safe than prescribing probably the most beneficial drug. I was very disturbed when I heard the one doctor offer that a child take Xanax before school. Xanax is a powerful benzodiazepine and can be addictive or habit-forming and no child should take a drug this powerful unless it is absolutely necessary.
When I was a young adult I was prescribed Klonopin and it was a temporary help but years later when I came off the drug, it was a living nightmare for me and would be horrified if a child went through anything similar to my own experience. There is just too much unknown about children and medications and not enough testing being done or showing clearly the affects of medications on a child’s brain. They should only be used in extreme circumstances until more is known about these medications and children.