Of all the evils perpetrated by American psychiatry in the past 60 years, the administration of neuroleptic drugs to children is arguably the worst. And it is a practice that is growing each year.
The essential purpose of these drugs is to make people more docile and more easily managed by destroying brain tissue. The side effects are devastating.
Recently Gabrielle Carson, MD, a psychiatrist at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, wrote a paper on The Dramatic Rise in Neuroleptic Use In Children: Why Do We Do It and What Does It Buy Us? You can see Dr. Carlson’s commentary here. (Thanks to yobluemama2 on Twitter for flagging the article.)
Dr. Carson notes that there has been a dramatic increase in the use of these drugs with children in her unit. In the period 1988-93, the rate was 15%; in 2010-11 the rate was 68.5%, even though the presenting behaviors were essentially unchanged. Apparently the neuroleptics are used primarily to control explosive temper tantrums. Dr. Carlson attributes the increase in neuroleptic use to three factors:
1. pressure from insurance companies to shorten hospital stays
2. reluctance of payers to support proven but more expensive psychosocial treatments
3. younger practitioners are not using stimulant drugs as much as they might
All of these may be valid points, but it is nevertheless the fact that it is psychiatrists who are giving these drugs to children, and it is presumably also the fact that junior psychiatrists receive some guidance and supervision from senior psychiatrists.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you hang up a shingle that says in effect: “we treat temper tantrums,” then you are implying that you are competent to do this, and that you have the means to do this, and that you can do it ethically and responsibly. And if you can’t do this, then you need to take the shingle down.
Dr. Carson is to be commended for bringing the problem out in the open, but “treating” these children with brain-damaging drugs and then blaming the insurance companies seems like a cop-out to me – and a dangerous, destructive cop-out at that.