Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Medicating our children

The medication of our children is a disgrace and needs to be investigated. It is estimated that conservatively, 10% of our children are medicated because they have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). As is the case with all mental health issues there is no blood test, there is no specific way of identifying a mental health disorder. As is the case with ADHD, the only way that it can be diagnosed is by observing the behaviour of the subject.

In the child protection system, there are many children who are traumatised by either the experiences they have had when in the care of their parents or the trauma that is experienced by being removed from their parents. It is understandable that amongst this cohort there will be behaviours which most people would find difficult to manage. It the best way to manage children who behave erratically or who have trouble concentrating is to drug them?

This is wrong at every possible level. When working with adults who have been foster children, and who have also been diagnosed with ADHD, it is evident that it was their behaviour and the need for their foster parents, colluding with the government, to have them medicated so they wouldn't be "a problem". Medication is used as a form of social control, and it needs to be understood that this is the primary reason why children are medicated. It has nothing to do with helping the child to develop better ways of managing their behaviour and dealing with the emotional stress they experience. Rather it is a lazy and abusive way of managing bad behaviour.

It is an inexpensive way, one would imagine, that governments can chemically restrain children rather than finding more appropriate therapeutic techniques to help the child through their current distress.

In my work as a therapeutic counsellor, I often meet up with adults who have been diagnosed with ADHD and have been medicated. In most cases clients will say that the medication was able to calm them down, they were less erratic, and in some cases could concentrate more effectively. What was noticeable that as adults their behaviour was often abusive, they struggled to maintain their relationships. There is no lesson that can be learned from taking medication, particularly as a child when the brain is still developing.

The opportunity for children to learn how to manage their behaviour and understand their emotions is lost once they are on this medication. The most important aspect relating to this medication is that the carer has less work to do and there is a calmer household. Meanwhile, the child is left with the hurt and the pain associated with the trauma associated with their life. The emotions just don't vanish into thin air because one is taking a protein blocker, the reasons why a child may be feeling the way they are and therefore acting in a disruptive manner have never been eradicated, understood or dealt with in any productive way. For years the emotions have been suppressed and when a child grows into adulthood those festering emotions rise to the surface and erupt in the most abusive and violent ways.

I have also noticed that these children, now adults, believe that if this medication was able to help them manage their emotions growing up. Then certainly drugs are a powerful way by which they can manage their emotions as adults. Enter, illicit drug taking. So now the struggle begins, to understand how their experiences have impacted them and what emotions have been suppressed and now need to be released.

We need an inquiry into the use of these drugs on children and whether or not these children use drugs, as adults, to help them suppress the effervescent emotional turmoil which sit inside them. For the sake of our children, we need to understand that the continual use of drugs on children, particularly boys, who are in "care" is an abusive process which denigrates the human soul and sends powerfully negative messages to the child concerning the management of any problem.

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