Dreamer you don't have to be an expert on child psychiatry to see the over diagnosis and over medication of children in this world.
In fact it's not just children being over diagnosed and over medicated… it's all ages. Children have been the latest 'target'. It's easier to drug children than love them so it seems….
Read 'Mad in America'.
I don't want to get into a dispute re: the problems with psychiatry in general, or the difficulties diagnosing and treating children who have mental illness. I have read that book and a few others like it. As I recall Mad in America goes back to the history of the evolution of mental health care which like all areas of medicine was barbaric.
The mentally ill, to this day, are treated like second class citizens. That is why I am a mental health advocate.
And I simply said, I do not claim to be an expert in psychiatry, but do not claim to know the full scope of a specialty which is child and adolescent psychiatry. (and I will state the bulk of individuals here do not know or understand that much about mental illness in children.) I however, personally know children who are mentally ill. "Normal" folks and a lot of people are "anti-psychiatry" without truly understanding the medical basis of brain disorders.
But I will again state a few things I do know:
1. It was believed for years that children never got mental illness. Hence if there is an increase in mental health disorders in Western countries it can be attributed in part to an awareness and acceptance of this fact. Researchers, (not psychiatrists or psychologists, etc. alone), are very aware of it.
2. Trying to get mental health care worldwide is very difficult. And one has to seek it out. Many have no money to pay for it, or even pay for medications. Medcaid insurance in my state has been cut by 50% so even adults who need medictions will stop receiving them by this summer unless legislation is changed. I'm focusing on trying to change legislation. Also working on helping to educate educators in schools and colleges to be aware of young people with problems. Early intervention is KEY and it doesn't always guarantee long term success in treatment
3. Mental institutions released seriously disturbed individuals in the '60s and '70s leaving them no place to go. There is no longer long term hospitalization offered unless you have a lot of money, or you you become financially destroyed. In the US there are fewer beds or NO psychiatric units in hospitals now. Psychiatrsts charge ridiculous fees -- $300, $400 a session.
4. People are ashamed to seek mental health treatment and are ashamed if their children exhibit problems.
5. In many countries, mental health isn't even dealt with at all. If you are trying to survive you don't even get regular medical care for common illnesses.
If you wish to see a powerful documentary on a 15 year old's entire life ... where he was disturbed as a child ... and subsequently took his own life at 15, you will see a child who was diagnosed with bipolar at a young age. If by watching this you do not believe what you are seeing, I can't say or do anything else.
* If you can't get to the link, go to YouTube and cut and paste. This is beutiful work, and it should convince many here that they DO NOT have bipolar, extrreme mood swings, etc. There is also a clearer representation of "flat affect" and of a young boy, without DP/DR, who is obsessed with death and dying.
Noteable is that the family has a history of depression.
A diagnosis wasn't made until after he attempted to jump off the roof of his public school. He was hospitalized and after a time given a diagnosis and treated with mood stabilizers that helped for a time. So did a special enviornment.
Most people cannot afford this.And no one pulls anyone off the street and gives them medication. The usual fate of a seriously mentally ill individual in the US is a revolving door of perhaps some time functioning, then decompensation, hospitalization, living on the street, going to jail, homelessness, and ultimately death by others or by suicide.
Again, I have been involved in mental health advocacy for about 30 years. I have a good bit of knowledge, yet would never claim to be an expert. I am also very open about my own illness which allows others to open up. You would not believe the number of my friends who have bipolar, depression, OCD, anxiety, etc. who never mentioned it years ago. I graduated high school in 1976. My MA in 1983. We didn't talk about such things. Also, many friends confide in me about their children. I can only direct them to various support services, mainly "Family 2 Family" support where they can talk with other parents, and figure out what to do.
Excellent Documentary about a 15 year old boy who died from suicide -- he had bipolar. Made by his parents who are filmmakers, it shows the joy and pain from birth to death. It's 90 minutes long so I don't expect many people will watch it, but it is well worth it if you have the time.
But a VERY important point. NO ONE has to take the medications prescribed by any doctor. One needs to do research to measure risk/benefit. If parents do not educate themselves, if we can't talk openly, if kids can't talk openly about how they feel ... well, I am simply for opening up dialogue.
In terms of barbaric treatment. My father was a cardiovascular surgeon who graduated from medical school in 1933. At that time treating lung and heart disease was so primitive my father said, "50% of my patients die on the operating table." The change in heart and lung treatment in his lifetime even surprised him. Instead of cracking a chest open to remove a cancerous lung has evolved to procedures where doctors can PULL A LUNG OUT THROUGH A HOLE IN YOUR CHEST -- without opening the chest cavity.
We have to advocate for ourselves.