Saturday, February 23, 2008


Overmedicated Kids: From NYT

My kids had a babysitter who went off to college many years ago.One day, her mother told me she'd put her 18 year old daughter onto Zoloft because, "Freshman year is so stressful." To which I thought - "Christ, I just got blottoed at Sigma Nu to relieve stress." If her daughter had started smoking pot daily to relieve her stress, I'm sure this Mom would have been horrified.
This blog piece from the Times is very interesting. What happens to the 18 year old who relies on Zoloft when she hits 40? Do all of life's stresses require medication?


".......In this age of personal trainers for tots and pre-K tutors, isn’t everyone always fighting to do whatever they can do to give their kids an advantage? Take away test jitters with Zoloft, super-prime their minds for cram sessions with Adderall, chemically lobotomize them into the kind of docile behavior that wins a spot in the very, very best private preschools?"



Read the full piece HERE.

11 comments:

Amanda said...

You are kidding me! Tell me you're kidding me, please!!

Litgirl Mama said...

Hi Kim, I am sorry to contact you via a comment but I'd like to write a profile about you and your life for a magazine writing class that I'm taking. I met you once before at a reading--writers writing about autism. I have an autistic brother, I introduced myself afterwards...

anyway, if it would be possible to do a profile on you, that would be great. You can contact me at lisascriptee@yahoo.com

Michelle O'Neil said...

sigh....

M. G. Tarquini said...

Can I bet you a quarter that the 18 year old's doctor put her on Zoloft, and not her mother?

Zoloft is an SSRI and according to the AAFP is:

"Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have become the drugs of choice in the treatment of depression, and they are also effective in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and social phobia. New indications for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors include post-traumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder."

It's likely the girl suffers from one of those disorders, all of which are quite disturbing and the explanation she gave you and all her friends is that 'college is stressful.'

Unless, of course, the girl's mother is supplying the 18-year-old out of her own prescription, which would be quite illegal and of some concern because Zoloft shouldn't be handed out without close monitoring and should never be stopped suddenly.

Kim Stagliano said...

I worked with the girl through her senior year - very closely. She was a happy, well adjusted girl with garden variety high school problems. Mom was thrilled to have her on the drug to help her. I get that. We all want to help our kids. How about some coping skills instead of a groping for pills? American kids are not rife with mental illness - we've just narrowed the bell curve of "appropriate behavior and feelings" to a sliver so that most fall outside the perceived "norm" and are now considered unwell. It's a shame.

Of course, once you're on the drugs, you need proper medical care. Look what happened to the young man in Illinois who had just stopped taking his meds. They mess with your brain,a nd sdoctors freely admit they have no idea how SSRI's work, but they do. That's the point, isn't it? Who says it's always for the better?

I wouldn't want meds to not be available for people who need them. They are miracles for many. But we now dole them out like candy.

M. G. Tarquini said...

I disagree. I don't think docs dole them out like candy. I think they dole them out when they believe a patient will benefit from them. No matter outward appearances, people with disorders of this type are often masters at hiding them. That young man who went off his rocker at Northern Illinois University is an excellent case in point. His own girlfriend can't believe he was capable of doing it.

I don't know why he was on those meds. It was an interesting combination he was prescribed and not one that a halfway competent doc would prescribe without good reason.

I find this article by Ms. Warner fuzzy, and somewhat offensive. Parents can't walk into doctors' offices and demand psychotropic drugs for their kids. There are protocols in place for prescribing these things. Any doctor who would prescribe such meds because Mommy wore him down should lose his license.

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Polly Kahl said...

I know a family doctor who gives his kids valiums before traveling so they don't fuss on long car rides. Unfortunately these things do happen. Sometimes meds aren't about what's best for the kids. Sometimes they're about shutting the kids up. (BTW, I do NOT condone this. As Phil Donahue said, I don't make the news, I just report it.)

Kim Stagliano said...

MG - I understand, since your hubby is a doc, and I'm sure an honorable one, you have a certain perspective and knowledge base. I do too living on planet autism. So we'll agree to disagree on this one and talk about Italy. Si?

:)

M. G. Tarquini said...

That's fine, Kim. You know I adore you and that we're often on different ends of the spectrum with this, but I live on planet ADHD and Asperger's, so these topics often hit quite close to home.

And Polly, I'm horrified to hear that story. Valiums? Perhaps CPS should be called.

Kim Stagliano said...

Cool.