November 25, 2006

NYTimes article on kids and psych drug

Category: Academic,Health,Pharma,Politics,Psychiatry — Biella @ 1:21 pm

It is good to see the New York Times critically report on the (ab)use of cocktail psychiatric drugs used for treating children (and see this older New Yorker article The Pediatric Gap on the general lack of saftey testing for drugs given to kids).

What is a shame, however, is that the total lack of critical interrogation that there may be actual environmental causes for some of these problems and this, despite the publication of new studies from leading medical journals (such as Lancet) that finally are addressing the possibility that over 200 chemicals are causing havoc on brains, behavior, and thus life… (kinda a no brainer at some level even if we do need more specific studies…)

As the article on the chemicals reports, critics of they study say they Lancent authors are verging on scare-mongering, because there is no proof of a pandemic.. Well, we do need more proof but does that mean we should not study what is so understudied (and hard to study because how does one measure the effects of the synergistic combination of x number of chemicals over x many years??)

But as the NYTimes piece shows there does seem to be a pandemic in prescribing people and kids psychiatric medications. So possibly there is some connection to be made here??

And what I can’t understand is why it is that those within the medical establishment who are confronting kids with so called behavioral and those that are critics of overprescription are not asking what may be behind some of these problems…

While I agree that a percentage of the kids being put on drugs are totally fine and just being kids, I am sure there are many others who are suffering. And while some of these psych drugs may be an acceptable and necessary short term solution, this NY Times article should make us pause, and seriously pause, about the viability of these drugs as a realistic solution, given the horrible side effects they cause (just read the article). Even if some so think these are necessary, these are crude therapies.

I think we need another “Silent Spring” with an eye toward possible behavioral effects to shake people not out of an apathy, but from a myopia that seems satisifed with engaging only with symptoms and surfaces.



  1. Hi Biella,
    why would the chemical industry want folks investigating them…. I’m sure they have paid the govn’t good money to not bother them with the details of possible contamination that may affect billions of full grown adults and the yet unborn. It cuts into profits. I can’t wait to find out why Autism is apparently skyrocketing–could it be environmental or is it just the current theory of vaccination issue? The same would be true to the epidemic of ADD-like illnesses. Maybe its Sesame Streets fault? Or Big Bird? And big pharam has no motive to sell more drugs, just like McDonalds has no reason to sell more beef?
    anyway its all Canada’s fault :-)

    Comment by Kevin Mark — November 25, 2006 @ 4:10 pm

  2. Kevin.

    Indeed, you are right, the combination of Big Bird and Canada make for a powerful concoction of silencing those who may be point to toxins as playing some role in these phenomenon.

    But that aside, what I find amazing is that even if the chemical industry does not want folks investigating them (and read here about a pretty depressing EU development and here it goes back to Bush, surprise surprise), well, they don’t seem to have to work hard to halt this investigating, because of what it seems to be the paucity of discussion among those “treating” these disorders or even those challenging the treatments. Perhaps the chemical issue is too scary (because of its pervasiveness and invisibility) for people to wrap their head around? What will it take for this to become an acceptable, mainstream discussion to have? (it is everywhere on Internet illness news groups though and has been for years).

    I just wish that this was more common discourse so that the chemical industry had something to target and suppress. They don’t even have to bother that much (well the EU case linked above to show there is some effort) but come on, let’s make it a little harder for them!

    Thinking about this, by the way, has ruined by whole day or was it the -10 F weather in Canada :-)


    Comment by Biella — November 25, 2006 @ 4:39 pm

  3. While environmental pollution may be a significant factor, I’m more inclined to suspect poor nutrition. We ingest far more than we absorb through any other route! An unbalanced diet can certainly be bad for people’s mental state, and there are plenty of legal food additives that have unpleasant side-effects in some people (e.g. azo dyes contributing to hyperactivity – though some of those have been banned in the US). I believe there was an experiment in improving the nutrition of the food in a jail here which resulted in a great improvement in prisoner discipline.

    Comment by BenHutchings — November 26, 2006 @ 4:47 am

  4. That article is pure FUD. It’s harder to secure funding for research involving children than for adults because of the ethical issues involved with experimenting on children, ergo there is a smaller body of published evidence. What evidence there is involves single drug trials.

    The thing that’s common knowledge to those of us who have been living it all our lives is that mental illness is most always syndromatic. You don’t get just one thing at a time. More often than not multiple symptoms require multiple drugs.

    Regardless of the causes, there is ample evidence that failure to treat mental illness in children can cause them to develop much more severe problems later in life.

    Comment by Velvet Elvis — November 27, 2006 @ 9:09 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. | TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML ( You can use these tags):
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> .