Babies are born selfish. Not only has the newborn no consideration for others, he isn’t even aware of others. For the newborn, the universe is him/herself.
Babies are born bad-tempered. When their needs are not immediately met, they cry. If they are still not met, they scream, turn red, and thrash their arms and legs. This is raw, unmitigated anger.
Babies are born rude and ill-mannered. They vomit and urinate on other people’s clothes. They defecate in inappropriate places. They spit and drool. They grab people’s hair and poke their fingers in people’s eyes.
It is often assumed that children simply “grow out” of these childish self-centered practices. This is simply not the case. Children leave these practices behind and adopt what we would call civilized behaviors because their parents or other caregivers provide the appropriate training. This can’t be emphasized enough! When we see children who are not reaching age-appropriate norms with regards to these areas, what’s almost always lacking is appropriate parental training. When you see a five-year-old throwing a temper tantrum in a store because he wants a toy or a candy bar, the chances that there is something wrong with the child are minimal. He is simply behaving the same way he did when he was born. He hasn’t been properly trained. Often his parents will tell you that they have “tried everything,” but without success. I have worked with a great many of these families, and it is my observation that in practice they usually have tried almost nothing. Many people object to this kind of reasoning because they feel that it involves “blaming the parents.” Well perhaps it does. But if they’re not training and disciplining the child appropriately – surely it is important to acknowledge that and try to steer them towards appropriate help – rather than give them the false and spurious message that the child has a so-called mental illness such as oppositional-defiant disorder or conduct disorder or attention deficient hyperactivity disorder or (and these are the ones that are on the rise in recent years) – childhood bipolar or childhood schizophrenia.
These families often come within the orbit of Social Services Departments and the case workers at Social Services usually make a referral to the mental health center in the mistaken belief that there the family will receive some real help. Unfortunately the mental health centers have degenerated into store-fronts for the bio-pharma-psychiatric bloc, and all that happens in most cases is that the child is “diagnosed” with a so-called mental illness and given drugs.
I have touched on these issues in earlier posts (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Conduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder).
These statistics are from the FDA and can be checked at their website.
Prescriptions (million prescriptions dispensed) for Atypical Antipsychotics Through O.P. Pharmacies 2004-2008 (US)
In previous decades there was a good deal of child drugging in mental health circles. The drugs used, however, were usually stimulants, anti-depressants, and anti-anxiety products. This was bad enough! But the growing trend in the past decade to prescribe anti-psychotics to young children is alarming, in that these drugs have even more serious side-effects.
The term “anti-psychotic” is misleading, in that it conveys the impression that the drug somehow eliminates “craziness” with surgical precision. Indeed this is the impression that the bio-pharma-psychiatric bloc would like to promote. But it simply isn’t so. These drugs were originally called “major tranquilizers” – which is an accurate description of what they do. They suppress all activity.
The early major tranquilizers were marketed under such names as Thorazine, Haldol, Mellaril, Stelazine, etc.. They were administered extensively in mental hospitals – and in outpatient mental health centers. The side effects were horrific. The most obvious side effect was tardive dyskinesia – grotesque disfiguring involving involuntary movements of the face, mouth, and tongue. If you visit a mental hospital, even to this day, you will very likely encounter individuals in the grounds and in the day rooms whose presentation is marked by this condition. They appear to be chewing continuously with pronounced and distorted jaw movements. Their mouths are frequently open and their tongues protrude. Many visitors believe that this is somehow related to the reason they were confined in the first place – that this condition is a part of their “craziness.” In reality, it is one of the toxic side effects of the drugs they have been given over a period of years.
The second generation of so-called anti-psychotics seems to involve less risk for tardive dyskinesia, but the risk is still considerable for this condition and other serious side effects. In addition, the risk that these products pose for the developing brains of children is simply unknown. Psychiatrists nevertheless are prescribing these products for children at an increasing rate. These practices are the more questionable when we remember that the presenting problems are almost entirely the result of ineffective parenting. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with the children. They simply haven’t been adequately trained and disciplined. But the APA has no way of conceptualizing these kinds of issues. When a psychiatrist sees a child in these kinds of contexts, if he wants to get paid for his work by Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance, he must assign a diagnosis to the child. In other words, he has to fabricate the notion that the child is somehow sick (with a “mental illness”). The APA (through its DSM) abets this destructive deception and the pharmaceutical companies go on making billions of dollars.
Most psychiatrists have bought into this charade so thoroughly that they don’t even see the issues. Some (a few) recognize the nonsense for what it is, but they say: What can we do? We have to provide such help as we can.
Well the answer is simple. If you called a plumber and told him that your car wouldn’t start, he would tell you that that is not his area of concern and would suggest that you talk to a mechanic. Similarly psychiatrists when approached with these problems need to say openly and honestly that drugs are not an appropriate remedy for indifferent parenting and should refer the family back to Social Services.
Of course, they would be turning away a good deal of business for themselves and for their friends in the pharmaceutical companies. And that’s the issue – business.
Psychiatrists and the ever-ready prescription pads have done a great deal of damage to our society. And this damage continues as they and their pharmaceutical colleagues continue to develop new markets for their drugs.