Social Question

DWW25921's avatar

Where do you stand when it comes to drugging children?

Asked by DWW25921 (6435points) September 5th, 2013

My friend near by has this boy who was full of life, inquisitiveness and spark. He love throwing a ball around and seemed fascinated by anything electronic. Not even remotely hyper… He was a good kid, a lot of fun and absolutely nothing wrong with him at all.

His father is of the school that children are to be seen and not heard. Needlessly to say, everything this poor kid did was criticized and the little guy could do no right. One day dad took him to the doctors office and got him some medication to “calm him down”. Keeping in mind, this is an already docile child.

I just don’t visit anymore, it’s heartbreaking. The poor kid’s a drone. He just shuffles here and there, not a peep. He has an eating disorder now. He doesn’t care for visitors and he always seems forlorn. This is a completely different kid. If this is “better” I want nothing to do with medical science.

Anything that alters the behavior of a child inhibits the natural development of that child. This is a well documented anomaly. That just to say, I would consider this a form of abuse. Kids suffering from trauma may need short term medication sure, but this case is ridiculous to me.

Why does it seem socially unacceptable for boys to act like boys? Why do we live in a society that teaches kids that drugs are bad but also the answer to everything? If someone “official” tells you to drug your kid and you don’t, are you a good or a bad parent? I don’t understand our society sometimes.

If parents can’t handle the random ups and downs of having kids than they shouldn’t have had them to begin with. Doctors that prescribe behavior altering drugs to normal kids at the word of lazy parents should have their licenses taken away. That’s how I feel about that.

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66 Answers

ninjacolin's avatar

Sounds horrible.. from your perspective. But have you discussed it with the parents? What did they have to say about it?

josie's avatar

Where I went to school as a kid, they told my parents I needed to be drugged. My dad told them to stick it.
It was, as you say, nothing more than an attempt to make boys not be boys.
Imagine drugging girls to make them not be girls.
It is a crime. And it should be recognized as such.

If public schools don’t like boys, then establish boys only schools.

But wait!!!

Boys only schools are considered discriminatory and are thus politically incorrect.

Good luck.

DWW25921's avatar

@ninjacolin I flat out accused the boy’s father of medically abusing his son and his response was “it’s legal.” He’s right, it is legal. We’re not friends anymore…

josie's avatar

@DWW25921 Try selling that on Fluther.

chyna's avatar

My ex FIL was a school bus driver. He said 90% of the kids were on ritalin. Really? That many kids need drugs? It’s an easy out for parents and doctors.

DWW25921's avatar

@josie I know right? I just think people should take a better look at the way situations are customarily handled… Ya know? A lot of preconceived notions just don’t make any sense if folks were to really think about it…

PhiNotPi's avatar

Medicine (especially for attention/mood disorders) affects everyone differently. I know several people (fellow high school students) who are much more functional when taking medicine. They are cases of medical success.

The issues arise because “attention-deficit” is a wide spectrum, and different people tend to have varying opinions on what is considered normal. If a person (either parent or doctor) has an unrealistic expectation, then medicine could be prescribed where none is needed. An incorrect diagnosis leads to the medicine not working properly, which is to be expected.

DWW25921's avatar

@PhiNotPi Yeah ok I’ll buy that but… This kid is 6. I mean… really?

creative1's avatar

My 5 year old could drive you crazy with all the questions but I would never drug her or want her to be any less inquisitive. I love her for who she is questions and all, I think its all her many many questioning of things that will make her a great doctor. I say doctor because that is what she has been telling me she wants to be for about 3 years now. I think she would make a great anything she wants to be and tell her that all the time but in order to do that she needs to have her mind grow and that is what kids are doing when they are exploring and questioning, drugging them would put that out and its a shame that society seems to think thats just what we should do. We drug our children far too much these days and I shutter to think how they are going to turn out as adults without the brain development that happens while they are exploring and questioning the world.

I feel sad for that little boy :(

DWW25921's avatar

@creative1 5 year olds are supposed to drive you crazy! There’s nothing wrong with that! Have fun and enjoy the cute kid times while they last! Thanks for the great input. :)

filmfann's avatar

My sister resisted putting her son on Ritalin. He was a nightmare. He was Buzzy the hummingbird;
super smart, but causing trouble everywhere! At 7 or so, he built a home made rocket engine and started a fire in his room.
His Mom didn’t want to dose him, though everyone told her she should, then once when he had a cold, both parents gave him some cold medicine without realizing the other had, and this child suddenly became manageable and easy to control.
Shortly afterward, my sister caved, and put him on Ritalin. That probably saved both their lives.

jaytkay's avatar

This question (not this Fluther question, this question in real life) is a torment and frustration to me.

I have seen first hand people helped and maybe harmed by psychiatric drugs. Total successful turnarounds and also suicides. I lived with a bipolar spouse. Right now I have two friends with messed up kids trying to figure out how to treat them with and without drugs.

Gahh! Sorry I can’t provide some guidance. All I can do is extend my deepest sympathy.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I am firmly against it until all….and I mean all…other options have been pursued, and have failed miserably.

In the autism & adhd communities, many parents chose meds before getting their child balanced with sleep, nutrition, and exercise.

Both my husband and son (both aspies with ADHD) are not currently taking meds.

My husband tried ADHD meds for a while, and has some to use for super intense days of work….
He’s found that one med in particular can help him focus his attention better, but it works for such a short time, that caffeine from coffee does a better job over a longer period of time (as long as he has more than one…particularly in meeting situations).

However, we both refuse to give our son any meds for focus or concentration until after puberty. At that point we’ll allow him to choose whether or not he wants to try them.

I think it needs to be said, that often it’s not the parents idea to put their kids on ADHD Meds, but it’s the teachers and schools and in some cases the pediatrician pushing the parents to medicate.

This is yet another reason homeschooling works best for our son. He can move around all day long, and no one negativizes his need to move, fidget or talk at will.

Exercise is a scientifically proven method to help ADHD, but it’s not prescribed in the same way meds are. :/

rojo's avatar

I have often believed that ADD in male children used to be called “being a boy”. My son is trying to wean his stepson off of the meds he has been proscribed since he was 5. Five! How can you diagnose a child at that age and then saddle them with the burden of being labelled as defective from then on? He wants his son to be a productive member of society and not have to suffer from the stigma attached by this labelling. Believe it or not, a big part of the problem is convincing his stepson that he is normal and not defective like he has be told for the last ten years of his life.

snowberry's avatar

My daughter put her kid on meds because the police kept getting called. It was drug her, or social services would have ended up taking the child away. It’s a long story.

Coloma's avatar

I can tell you that more often than not exceptionally bright if not highly gifted children are plagued with an ADD or ADHD diagnosis. This disgusts me to to end.
I was one of those children, found school extremely boring, aced most of the classes that sparked interest and failed those that did not.
My report cards were often a perfect split of A+ and F’s. lol

For years my teachers parroted the same thing.
” If L. is interested in a subject wild horses couldn’t drag her away, when she is not she doesn’t even try.”
I was often in trouble for talking too much, challenging teachers, passing notes, refusing to conform.
If you research the traits of gifted children you will find a major link between exceptional intellect and many behaviors labeled ADD & ADHD.

I believe a child should be tested for giftedness in multiple realms before being tested/labelled ADD/ADHD.
Talk about throwing the baby out with bathwater.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s horrible that a father could take his defenseless child to a doctor and say “Drug him.’ Isn’t there supposed to be some medical diagnosis there?

Seek's avatar

Well, when there’s no time between before-school care, school, after-school care, little league practice, tutoring, and bedtime for the kid to CLIMB A FUCKING TREE, I can see why a child might act up from time to time.

Seriously.

OK, I have a 5 year old. Yes, he talks a million miles an hour and acts like a ping-pong ball. There are options. Drugs? Sure… or I can give him a shovel and tell him to start digging. Mud pies are more fun and have absolutely no side effects – except maybe a dirty bathtub.

JLeslie's avatar

I am completely against drugging kids to just “calm them down.” But, I have known children who needed the drugs. In my experience as an average woman with no kids, but am around enough of them, there is a difference between kids (usually boys) who have a lot of energy, and kids who cannot hold focus and who even have behaviors that can be downright dangerous.

One of my close girlfriends called me a few weeks after I had been visiting with her for a week. The school year had just started and her son’s teacher was saying he needed to be put on drugs for ADD. My response was I disagree. I told her while I was there he played calmy, he focused on things for plenty of time when he was interested, it wasn’t like he was at the mercy of his brain hopping around. She never did put him on drugs. I really feel the classroom situation had some challeneges for him, but that he is not an ADD child.

Another very dear friend of mine put her child on ADHD meds and I completely agree with her decision. That kid was out of control and borderline danger to himself and others. He does not mind taking his medicine, he knows he loses control without it. He doesn’t want to be so impulsive and unable to focus.

@josie Many people agree with separate schools or classes for boys and girls. There have been several fluther Q’s on the topic, one recently, and people seem to be split on the topic. Some school districts in America do have single gender schools, public schools.

Coloma's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Talking fast and bouncing around from subject to subject is a trait of exceptional children. Their brains are super fast and they are able to make many disparate connections in conversation that evade most others. Early talking and strong vocabulary for their age is but one other trait of gifted kids.
I am also a fan of personality theory and as a rare ENTP female personality have spent years understanding myself and how I operate in the world.

ENTPs are the Steve Jobs of the world. Inventive, insatiable curiosity, strong leadership skills, highly creative, also known as the “wacky professors”. haha
They often excel in science, engineering, journalism/writing and the entertainment arts, especially comedy where fast improv. skills and extremely fast, yet articulate responses are everything. :-)
Sadly many of us end up as gifted under achievers because of the lack of education surrounding giftedness, how it manifests, and how to help exceptionally bright children harness their strengths.

Katniss's avatar

Unless the child is a danger to themselves or others, then leave them be.
That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

Seek's avatar

@Coloma – I’m also a rare breed – INTJ – the Richard Dawkinses of the world. Quiet and investigative, only comfortable talking openly about our fields of expertise.

I think Ian is more like you.

Coloma's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr

Love the name ‘Ian.” :-)
Actually, as gregarious as I can be, the ENTP’s are also known as the most introverted extroverts. Well….us rare female birds, me, the female George Carlin and you the female version of Dawkins…damn woman, we could take over the world with my boldness and risk taking and your investigative depth. :-D

Dutchess_III's avatar

Every “out of control, hyperactive” kid I’ve ever seen had shitty parents. They let them run through restaurants, and sit on their ass yelling across the room at the kid. Kid crawls under the table, they yank them out from under it, painfully. The kids defies them, they scream a string of profanities at them….but lets them get away with the defiance.

Kids are hyperactive! They don’t have to be out of control, though.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Why would parents drug a child they had and kept voluntarily? Because there are some low-down, rotten parents out there that think nothing of drugging their kids to keep them out of the way. I think it’s child abuse.

A girl in high school used to give her baby cough medicine to make the kid sleep while she entertained. Ugh, too many ignorant people breed.

Coloma's avatar

@KNOWITALL Haha…I so agree.
I always use the dog breeding analogy.
Breed a mean dog to a stupid dog and you get mean AND stupid dogs.
Just what the world needs, more stupid. :-/

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Coloma I’m doing my part, sister, I may miss out on unconditional love, but I won’t add to the destruction of my child’s innocence or the world’s limited resources. :) Give me a dog any day.

Rarebear's avatar

This is a private issue between the family and their doctor. You shouldn’t get involved. If it were your child, you wouldn’t want a neighbor telling you what to do with your family’s medical care.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Rarebear You know a lot of people think doctor’s get rich of pharma kickbacks, and some of us feel that is sanctioning child abuse. How do you respond, doc?

Rarebear's avatar

I would say you have thrown two straw man arguments into one sentence.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Rarebear But no denial, I thought as much.

Rarebear's avatar

You’re right. All doctors are getting rich on pharmacy kickbacks. We make millions. We’re secretly taking over the world.

Rarebear's avatar

No. Doctors do not get pharmacy kickbacks. We take care of patients as best we can.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Rarebear My doc can’t stand them and says they basically harass him. (That was funny btw)

So you don’t think that some parents give kids pills to just shut them down?
A lot of adults are stealing their kids ADD meds, fact.

Rarebear's avatar

I’m not a child psychiatrist so I really can’t comment from knowledge. However calling it “abuse” is a gross overreach IMO

snowberry's avatar

@KNOWITALL is right. I don’t think doctors make millions over prescribing meds to children, but some at least base their careers on it. You can bet on it.

Rarebear's avatar

@snowberry you’re right. Doctors suck.

snowberry's avatar

@Rarebear ”@snowberry you’re right. Doctors suck.” It’s statements like that that make me agree with you. Your sarcasm doesn’t help your case a bit. Seriously now.

You said that over prescribing medicine to children is not child abuse, so what do you call it?

Coloma's avatar

Well…my 2 cents worth. Doctors prescribe based on symptoms, this is why a psychologist should always be part of the diagnostic teamwork when it comes to medicating children. Refer to my giftedness sharings above. A psychologist that specializes in working with gifted kids will be much more conservative in wanting to see medications prescribed.

JLeslie's avatar

In defense of doctors, can you believe I am going to defend doctors, I don’t think they are prescribing to get some sort of kickback from a pharma company. True pharma spends a ridiculous amount wooing doctors, but we should go after pharma for that, not the doctors.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Rarebear You KNOW I don’t think doctors suck, but I’m with snowberry on giving out meds that aren’t needed. Maybe you aren’t one, we’re just asking, doll!

snowberry's avatar

I’d say that many docs prescribe psychiatric meds when they should be passing the baton over to someone more qualified (a psychiatrist). Obviously I’m not a doctor, but the last I heard, if a child is receiving certain meds, lab work should be run regularly, and in many cases for some reason it’s not happening. The result is the kids end up with complications and health issues that need not have occurred. Sorry, I read this a long time ago, and I don’t have anything to back it up, other than my memory. Bad medicine, child abuse, malpractice, maybe it’s a little bit of each.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Rarebear When my daughter was about 12 I took her to a counslelor for counseling. I was thinking of a “friend,” someone she could talk to about things she couldn’t talk about with me. Within 15 minutes of the appointment he advised anti-depressants and and ADD meds.
I think it’s a fair statement that if the parent wants calm-down drugs they can find a doctor to prescribe them. I know I could have if I’d wanted my beloved, perfect, genus wacky son to just CHILL!!

snowberry's avatar

I agree with @Dutchess_III. If a woman can find an OB/GYN to perform an elective C-Section on her, it is a no-brainer to find a doctor who will drug her kid so she doesn’t have to work so hard at being a parent.

snowberry's avatar

And actually it’s very very often the schools who are driving the push for medication. It happened with our son. He didn’t need it then, and doesn’t need it now at 31, but they made us do it. No kidding.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How did they “make” you do it @snowberry?

SpatzieLover's avatar

In the case of ADHD meds, I must say @JLeslie & @Rarebear, our psychologist, our family doc and our neuro-psych all stated med therapy was the way to go for both husband & son.

There are plenty of studies stating that med therapy does not help boost test scores or concentration levels, yet meds are still prescribed over other (often much cheaper)therapies. The professionals can be quite persuasive with their recommendations unless you (the parent or consumer) come to the table well informed of your other options.

The drugs are easily available to us without a psychiatry consult.

@Coloma, my son & husband are also both gifted. Actually, our psychologist kept pushing the meds so much it was one of the main reasons my husband felt compelled to try them. The neuro-psych pushed drugs for both our gifted son and his at the time bestie (a little girl also ADHD/Gifted/Aspie) whose parents also chose to not go the route of meds.

snowberry's avatar

My son was a typical rambunctious kid, and he was/is very very bright. He also didn’t fit into the little box they had for him in the public school because it was boring. He got into some trouble with the law, and boom, it was meds or else.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What kind of trouble with the law? How old was he? And was was “or else?”
That just seems an insane reaction, @snowberry, when you don’t know the facts.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III This type of reaction from schools and the kids they label as “behavioral” happens on a daily basis here in the USA. If a school labels a kid a problem, they often give detentions out like candy to the kid (so they can set up a paper trail), then will give a suspension (often times calling in the police to create more of a paper trail), then will demand the parents put the kid on meds as a methods to “curb” the behavior.

Often the principal will state that unless the student is medicated he/she will not be re-admitted to the school.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That just seems utterly illegal, @SpatzieLover. I would think the kid would have to be a MAJOR problem for it to go that far.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III Not usually. It can take just one minor playground or classroom ‘incident’ to begin this type of protocol within the school setting.

snowberry's avatar

@Dutchess_III I will PM you with the details.

JLeslie's avatar

@SpatzieLover Do you think the suggestion of med therapy was so the doctor would make more money? That was my only point. I do think many doctors dole out drugs too easily. But, I also think they believe they are helping.

Doctors are in a tough spot sometimes when patients want a drug. If it is a reasonable request they probably go along, even if the doctor might not have suggested it initially.

The last doctor I saw I feel committed insurance fraud. He charged me and my insurance for the most expensive level visit and he spent less than 5 minutes with me just telling me my blood test results. $300 and I was pissed to begin with he made me come in for the results. These are tests I have run every 3–6 months, I don’t need a doctor to interpret them, unless something suddenly was whacked and then I myself would want doctor feedback. Thief.

I also had a dermatologist about 6 months ago who I thought was disgusting when I received a bill for a cosmetic procedure I had already paid for. I had gone in for a check up, asked about some cosmetic issues while there. She told me it would be out of pocket, which I expected, cost $90 and to make an appointment to come back and have it done. I did, I paid at the time of the visit, and then a month later get a bill for $9 and my insurance had paid the rest of the balance. For what?! I paid for a self pay cosmetic procedure. I called and they told me they charged me for coming to the office, and the procedure is separate. They tried to explain that I came back, the doctor evaluated what needed to be done, so that can be billed, and then I paid for the cosmetic procedure. Bullshit. That is fraud to me. Why should my insuance pay anything for a cosmetic appointment.

Those example I feel are money grubbing and unethical, but I don’t think most doctors prescribe for money, unless you mean they are acting as a “dealer.”

SpatzieLover's avatar

@JLeslie In an “acting as a dealer” way, yes. Also, they create a protocol where you need them several times per year to run blood and urine tests, etc.

I do think somehow they feel they’re helping. But helping whom is what I question.

Like you I’ve had situations of insurance fraud and bill padding (major padding) that I’ve had to deal with.

In the meds to kids cycle, I personally feel not enough parents are questioning how their kids are becoming ‘guinea pigs’ nor whom is making vast profits off from them. There’s also the lifelong addiction creation to consider.

JLeslie's avatar

@SpatzieLover Even doctors don’t even sometimes realize how children are guinea pigs. Many drugs given to children were never tested on children. But, that is not the doctor’s fault. Drug testing on children has all sorts of ethical dilemmas, and especially druing the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s the ethical problems were taken to task and kids were not used in testing. I think it is up to the parent to take their kid off a drug if it is not working as expected or causing bad side effects. The doctor does not witness how the drug is working unless the patient is hospitalized.

DWW25921's avatar

I want to thank all of you for your input. I thought I would have to defend my views on this and I’m glad I really don’t. I had to get it out, you know? Each one of you have provided me with insight or stories I wouldn’t have had otherwise so I’m glad I posted this question. Also, it appears that this is a chronic, much larger problem than I anticipated. That troubles me too…

Dutchess_III's avatar

Welcome to Fluther. Sometimes we work!

Rarebear's avatar

@DWW25921 The only reason why I didn’t debate you on this further was because I’ve spent my energy on other things. For the record, I think your initial post was full of fallacies and misconceptions.

I just don’t want you to feel too warm and fuzzy.

DWW25921's avatar

@Rarebear My initial post was based on actual events and my opinions of them. There were no misconceptions or falsehoods at all, in any way, on my part. Thank you for your input nonetheless.

Coloma's avatar

Oh for fucks sake, ego always has to get in the way of productive discussion. Pffft!

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie you said, “Many drugs given to children were never tested on children. But, that is not the doctor’s fault.” Well if the doctors are prescribing medication that was never designed to be given to children, whose fault is it if it’s not the doctor who is prescribing it?

Maybe @Rarebear could answer that. I hope we haven’t ticked him off.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry Many of the drugs eventually become the standard of care, even if no formal study was ever done. So, most drugs given to children do have a history of being prescribed to children, but sometimes newer drugs don’t, and it is a little of a guessing game. If the benefit of the drug is worth the risk it is prescribed. All drugs have been through some sort of testing, so we can presume they are overall safe, but of course little growing bodies are different than adult sized bodies.

JLeslie's avatar

Here is some FDA info on the topic of drug testing and children.

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