NYT Article--Debate over Children and Psychiatric


New Member
Text of an article from the NYT on children and Psychiatric Drugs (Feb 15, 2007)

Early on the morning of Dec. 13, police officers responding to a 911 call arrived at a house in Hull, Mass., a seaside town near Boston, and found a 4-year-old girl on the floor of her parents’ bedroom, dead.

She was lying on her side, in a pink diaper, the police said, sprawled across some discarded magazines and a stuffed brown bear.

Last week, prosecutors in Plymouth County charged the parents, Michael and Carolyn Riley, with deliberately poisoning their daughter Rebecca by giving her overdoses of prescription drugs to sedate her.

The police said the girl had been taking a potent cocktail of psychiatric drugs since age 2, when she was given a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder, which is characterized by mood swings.

The parents have pleaded not guilty, with their lawyers questioning whether the child should have been prescribed such powerful drugs.

The case has shaken a region known for the excellence of its social and medical services. The director of the state’s Department of Social Services has had to defend his agency, which had been investigating the case before the girl’s death.

The girl’s treating psychiatrist has taken a voluntary, paid leave until the case is resolved. And New Englanders are raising questions that are now hotly debated within psychiatry, and which have broad implications for how young children like Rebecca Riley are cared for.

Tufts-New England Medical Center, where the child was treated, released a statement supporting its doctor and calling the care “appropriate and within responsible professional standards.”

Indeed, the practice of aggressive drug treatment for young children labeled bipolar has become common across the country. In just the last decade, the rate of bipolar diagnosis in children under 13 has increased almost sevenfold, according to a study based on hospital discharge records. And a typical treatment includes multiple medications.

Rebecca was taking Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug; Depakote, an equally powerful mood medication; and Clonidine, a blood pressure drug often prescribed to calm children.

The rising rates of diagnosis and medication use strike some doctors and advocates for patients as a dangerous fad that exposes ever-younger children to powerful drugs. Antipsychotics like Seroquel or Risperdal, which are commonly prescribed for bipolar disorder, can cause weight gain and changes in blood sugar — risk factors for diabetes.

Some child psychiatrists say bipolar disorder has become an all-purpose label for aggression.

“Bipolar is absolutely being overdiagnosed in children, and the major downside is that people then think they have a solution and are not amenable to listening to alternatives,” which may not include drugs, said Dr. Gabrielle Carlson, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine on Long Island.

Paraphrasing H. L. Mencken, Dr. Carlson added, “Every serious problem has an easy solution that is usually wrong.”

Others disagree, insisting that increased awareness of bipolar disorder and use of some medications has benefited many children.

“The first thing to say is that the world does not see the kids we see; these are very difficult patients,” said Dr. John T. Walkup, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Walkup said that when drug treatment was done right, it could turn around the life of a child with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Dr. Jean Frazier, director of child psychopharmacology at Cambridge Health Alliance and an associate professor at Harvard, said that up to three-quarters of children who exhibit bipolar symptoms become suicidal, and that it is important to treat the problem as early as possible.

“We’re talking about a serious illness with high morbidity, and mortality,” Dr. Frazier said, “and for some of these children the medications can be life-giving.”

Still, most child psychiatrists agree that there are still questions about applying the diagnosis to very young children. Recent research has found that most children who receive the diagnosis are emotionally explosive but do not go on to develop the classic features of the disorder, like euphoria. They are far more likely to become depressed.

And many therapists have found that some patients referred to them for bipolar disorder are actually suffering from something else.

“Most of the patients I see who have been misdiagnosed have been told they have bipolar disorder,” said Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a professor of psychiatry at Boston University who runs a trauma clinic.

“The diagnosis is made with no understanding of the context of their life,” Dr. van der Kolk said. “Then they’re put on these devastating medications and condemned to a life as a psychiatry patient.”

Details about what happened to Rebecca are still emerging. A relative of her mother, Carolyn Riley, 32, told the police that Rebecca seemed “sleepy and drugged” most days, according to the charging documents.

One preschool teacher said that at about 2 p.m. every day the girl came to life, “as if the medication Rebecca was on was wearing off,” according to the documents.

Defense lawyers are also focusing on the question of medication. “What I want to know,” said John Darrell, a lawyer for Mr. Riley, “is how in the world you diagnose a 2-year-old and give her these strong medicines that are not approved for children.”

A lawyer for Rebecca’s psychiatrist, Dr. Kayoko Kifuji of Tufts-New England Medical Center, did not return calls seeking comment.

Some experts say the temptation to medicate can be powerful.

“Parents very often want a quick fix,” Dr. Carlson said, “and doctors rarely have much time to spend with them, and the great appeal of prescribing a medication is that it’s simple.

“To me one of the miracle of children’s brains is that we don’t see more harm from these treatments.”

Katie Zezima contributed reporting from Boston.



Thanks for the article. It's very sad that a little girl had to die before someone started this conversation so openly.

I refused to medicate my difficult child until we had some kind of diagnosis. Noone could tell me what was wrong, but they all (including the SD who said nothing was wrong with her - interesting, huh?) wanted her on medication. I wasn't going to just medicate symptoms. She is now on Lexapro for depression and anxiety. Now they are pushing a mood stabilizer, but my difficult child is not bipolar. They say it's for the emotional regulation, but I believe her lack of emotional regulation comes from her severe anxiety. If we get the anxiety under control then she will have better control of her emotions. Mood stabilizers have so many side effects and we don't know the long term effects on kids and I'm not comfortable with it and won't do it.

I know that medication is necessary for a lot of kids, mine included, but it really bothers me that so many doctors are pushing medication so forecfully and so early. It saddens me that it has become our job as parents to learn about these medications and what they are prescribed for and any side effects when we should be able to trust the doctors to give us that information - as did, apparently, the parents of this little girl.


Well-Known Member
If I'd known then what I know now, my son would have not taken any medications until he had a clearer diagnosis. He was misdiagnosed with both ADHD/ODD and bipolar and put on a total of thirteen medications, in spite of the fact that we, the parents, saw autism symptoms in him. I won't got through the past ten years where every expert pooh-poohed the idea. Then, of course, research got better and they found Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified and Aspergers syndrome and we took him to a neuropsychologist. Bottom line, he has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, a neurological, not psychiatric disorder and is doing GREAT medication free. It's been three years now and he's on the Spectrum, but getting help and is a happy, mellow kid. Bipolar AND ADHD are often misdiagnosed when the problem is actually neurological, like Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). My son went from 78 pounds at seven to 150 pounds at 11, when the medications were removed. When I look back, the professionals certainly never gave him any testing--they just thought "oh, he's hyper" ADHD! Then, later, "oh, he throws tantrums" bipolar. It's frightening. I like NeuroPsychs because they actually run intensive batteries of tests that point to certain disorders rather before diagnosing.


Active Member
I am fortunate, I have never felt pushed to give my difficult child medications. We are trying to find a medication that will help him, because I can see he has some real issues. No one should be pushed or forced to put their child on medications.


I was a naive person before being given not one, but two, difficult child's. I was never going to medicate my children.

I'm eating that, along with a lot of other things I said when I was "dumb". I respect my child's developmental pediatrician because she is refusing to label difficult child until she has a clearer picture of what exactly we are dealing with. Unlike his neurologist, who got in a loud, raised-voice shouting match with her after seeing him display hyperactivity in his office ONE DAY out of 2 years of seeing him. The argument?? To medicate for ADHD.

I will happily be sending along the report of our trial or Ritalin to him. 24 hour solutions for these kids don't exist.

And I don't really know what I'm saying...its been an awful morning and I'm just rambling.


New Member
I resisted medicating my difficult child until he was doing so poorly in school that we were halfway into the year and he had been sent to support on disiplinary every day but one. SD was pushing really really hard for ritilin. I realized that although he proved he could do well in a contained classroom with proper support and supervision and a "whole Class teaching technique" the SD was not going to provide that. Back then we were not allowed to home school so I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I saw difficult child's self esteem going down the tubes. I gave in. difficult child was put on medications for ADHD in the third grade. I still think he is a misdiagnosed indivitual who is somewhere on the autism spectrum. I do not believe that two year olds should be medicated to the point of lathargy. I'm not even sure I believe they should be medicated at all. -RM


Active Member
I think the 2 year olds who are yelling that they want to die ought to be medicated. This is a parents worst nightmare. We don't have the medical training to know everything about the drugs. We have to trust the doctors to get help for our kids. Yet, we can't trust to much. Its scary.


New Member
I have a diagnosis'ed husband and 2 kids. and myself.
Between us we have trialed nearly every psychiatric medication out there. For 18 yrs we have ridden the medication roller coaster. The last 2 yrs we have been in medication washes.
Do we have symptoms? Absolutely. Did we have symptoms with the medications? Oh yeah, much worse than the last 12 months.
Did we have negative results from the medications, without any doubt at all.
when did we have the greatest aggression, and the greatest suicide concerns? when we used the medications.
Were we in close contact with the docs? definelty. were we under the eyes of professionals? daily for more than 5 years.
Sadly, the many docs we had, the magic answer to any escalation was up the medications..which more often than not resulted in phsop stays.
Do my kids "need" the medications? depends on who you ask. The teachers thought so.....even when my dtrs blood pressure rose above stroke level on a medication----LOL- ironic, our school called CPS on us more than once for.......not medicating our kids, and for medicating our kids, depending on if they assumed we did not give our kids medications, ---usually they assumed we did NOT medicate at the times we DID and vice versa. When we gave our child zoloft and she got MORE suicidal, we had to submit our child for labs to prove that YES we DID give her her zoloft as per ordered by doctor. When we removed lexapro due to psychotic mania, we had to prove it was from lexapro before cps who the school called would permit us to remove it.
when we had failure to gain weight from ritalin, concerta and adderall and increased seizures, we had to prove it was the medications causing it.

I am glad we are no longer on the merry go round.

what I am trying to say is, yes life was hard before the medications, life was horrid with the medications, and life is difficult sometimes now without the medications......

I just posted another post on another thread.
Each of us has to decide for ourself which risks we are personally willing to accept.
ALL medications come with risks. Some risks are greater than others. SOme risks are more serious than the problem the medications are being used to treat.

It is easy for us to point our finger and say that kid is overmedicated, or that kid needs medications.
Truth is I have had both fingers pointed at me, and I have had it pointed at me whether my kids were on medications or not.
Another truth is for bipolar disorder, there is no concrete solid lab test that says THIS is bipolar. WHAT is bipolar exactly?
It is all relatively new in the world of medicine, dxing kids with BiPolar (BP). Using the medications is hit or miss, trial and error......

I cannot point my finger at those people or that doctor.....I drugged my child.
I also cannot point my finger at anyone who does not medicate their child- I no longer medicate mine.
I pushed to get my child ON medications cuz I bought into early intervention. I took my kid off medications when the adverse effects began to pile up and scare me.
(with a docs approval and guidance and agreement)


New Member
Partly I posted the article because I thought it showed what a sorry state child psychiatry is in. We have supposed experts arguing over things with fundamentally different perspectives. lack of drug trials on children. DSM that doesn't fit the world of the children we deal with on a day to day basis. And then we have psychiatrists who don't even appear to be up on the latest thinking about drugs and pass that info along.

My sense is that until we get some physical diagnostic tests a lot of these controversies are not going to go away.

From reading this board, I know that none of us makes the decision to medicate our children lightly and certainly we are not doing it to render them catatonic. I don't even think that is a worthwile avenue to go down here.

And I know that we are all frustrated about the trial and error basis of it all.

So I guess it is just a vent on my part.


Former desparate mom
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">“The diagnosis is made with no understanding of the context of their life,” Dr. van der Kolk said. “Then they’re put on these devastating medications and condemned to a life as a psychiatry patient.”</div></div>

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
“Parents very often want a quick fix,” Dr. Carlson said, “and doctors rarely have much time to spend with them, and the great appeal of prescribing a medication is that it’s simple. </div></div>

Pepperidge, I think your point is well taken. Everyone is trying to do the best we can with limits to research and knowledge but the above quotes are so inflammatory as to make me want to knock both upside their heads. One has reinforced "condemned to a life as psychiatry patient" that these diagnosis are something that will devastate your family and your child's life. How many people will avoid any sort of diagnosis because of the fear of being condemned. Sorry my kid isn't condemned. How dare he reinforce that sort of ignorance and stereotype. Is your child condemned to a life as a diabetic or asthmatic.
We are all struggling to find a way to make this kid have a life against horrid odds and ignorance like the above shouldn't be spewed by a physician.
Parents looking for a quick fix? Really? Don't we want some help to understand our young child? Some direction? Some Treatment plan? Some help from educators,physicians and anyone else we can find to help our kids?

I don't know about anyone else but we have had a quick fix going on 18yrs now.

The push has got to be a standard of care and treatment that every other specialty diagnosis has. Everyone is still doing their own thing in the course of treating kids behavioral problems.

I'd like to condemn and give a quick fix to both of these two.

Sara PA

New Member
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Fran</div><div class="ubbcode-body">One has reinforced "condemned to a life as psychiatry patient" that these diagnosis are something that will devastate your family and your child's life. How many people will avoid any sort of diagnosis because of the fear of being condemned. Sorry my kid isn't condemned. How dare he reinforce that sort of ignorance and stereotype. Is your child condemned to a life as a diabetic or asthmatic.</div></div>
But the difference is that there are definitive means of diagnosing diabetes and asthma while there precious few absolute means of diagnosing the cause of behavioral problems. And the treatment of diabetes and asthma doesn't involve throwing any one -- or more -- drugs from a number of classes of drugs, some of which are contraindicated for some behavioral diagnosis and others aren't approved for use by children because there have been clinical trials which failed.

Comparing subjective pyschiatric diagnoses with objective medical diagnoses is not a valid comparison.


Former desparate mom
<span style='font-size: 11pt'>Regardless of the disease,disorder or disability to encourage thinking that a child is condemned to a life of he** is inflammatory and ugly. It serves what purpose to paint a picture of mental illness as a sentence of a life that is condemned? Aren't we trying to point a light on mental illness as something to seek treatment for and not kept in the dark of shame and ignorance.I won't ever accept or support professionals who use this terminology or mindset. So if you want to split hairs about the diagnosis as opposed to the issue of professionals who paint this picture go ahead. </span>

Sara PA

New Member
I have more issue with the phrase "mental illness" and the push to seek "help" for "mental illness" when there is so little objective diagnosis information and successful medical treatment. But in this case, I believe Dr. van der Kolk is objecting to, not supporting, the condemned-to-life-concept current in psychiatry. He's objecting to subjective and unreliable diagnosing of young children and putting them on medications prescribed for behaviors, not disorders, with the idea that the children will have to be on them for life.


New Member
I am venting with you-- I certainly cannot point an accusing finger at anyone.....
While my kids are not currently ON medications, nor is my husband or me-- I DID go the medications route, and so far none available helped any of us here. I did not mean to imply they do not help anyone.

Treating mental illness in anyone is relatively new in the context of the world of science or medicine. Actually, much of medicine, - in the big picture is also relatively new....How long has there been people on Earth? How long have there been doctors? Howlong have there been antispetic procedures, handwashing, sterility? Vaccines? Antibiotics? Really not all that long.....and until what? (I am not positive just when so do not hold me to this time frame exactly) mental illness was not really treated so much as just "handled" "warehoused" etc until when? The 50s? ANd was mostly only then with sedation, IIRC (again, I could be wrong with time frames....I may not be exact at all)
18 yrs ago when I first sought help for my "wild child" help was not easy to find. AT that time still much of the time many docs still assumed it was all parenting.....it just "could not be a bipolar child"
Technology has advanced at amazing speeds the last ? 50 years? CT scans, MRIs, fMRIs,EEGs spectscans, DNA testing and mapping etc. It is all relatively new so to speak. Clincal trials involve years of testing and` documenting.......Therapies- how can you consider something successful until you see the effect long term? If so many docs would not diagnosis kids with bipolar just 18 yrs ago, how could anyone possibly have the right answers, the true success stories and know the long term impact yet?

Even the antibiotics we thought would save the world are now showing to also fail or create different problems....even the vaccines we thought worked one way are now being found to wear off, or create drug resistant strains of illness or cause reactions in some people etc. - or other things.

This is complicated by the fact that many kids once diagnosis'ed with one thing, eventually run thru many other diagnosis'es as well.....how many kids here were originally diagnosis'ed ADD or ADHD and then depressed, then mood disorder, then bipolar, and then Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or on the spectrum...and then sometimes thyroid or some other hormonal problem or brain disorder, seizure disorder, lesions, cysts, tumors, etc? or food intolerances or allergies?

How many people have we seen here whose teachers prefer kids to behave one way while we do not like the way the kid is behaving....or vice versa? Without thinking about it I can think of 2 persons who post here who the school LIKED the way their child behaved on a medication but the parent did not like how their kid was on a medication.

How many times have parents said their kid got better when a dose was increased but at the same time other kids here got worse when a dose was upped? ANd that can be from the same medication.

I cannot tell you how many times I sat in team meetings regarding my kids or husband when 2 psychiatrists, or psychiatrists and neurodocs or psychiatrists, peds, ndocs and tdocs argued back and forth from extreme opposite sides of an issue regarding the patient. They would be directly opposed to each others ideas on what to try next. Arguements over diagnosis, arguements over treatment, arguements over medications, doses, and whether what we were seeing was positive or negative
But it is my personal thought------how can anyone know what The ANswers ARe....really no one treatment has been found useful and good for every single one.....and really....sometimes I have to wonder---they- "the professionals" were pleased with MY response to some medications, BUT truth told, I felt like crap. So- seems to me, there is not even yet agreement on what IS a positive result? My docs were pleased but I felt crummy. Is that "positive"?

Yes it is very frustrating it is still unknown the one size fits all answers to what is the diagnosis, what is the best way to treat it......we are pioneers.....it is being researched, studied, etc. Thats more than was being done 20 or 30 years ago. BUT the answers will not come today or tomorrow. and it is not only a problem with mentally ill kids. There are a lot of illnesses disorders etc that prognosis was very grim 30 years ago but now is some better- but still treatment carries risks.....
cancers that used to kill people can now be treated.....but sometimes the treatment that extended the life beyond diagnosis of the original problem does still cause problems later----chemo and radiation for cancers cause cancers later in life. The treatment for my RA and Lupus carries risks of diabetes TB lymphoma among other life threatening problems. .....
Medical science is still learning, still growing.
Along the way there will be ...casualties......mistakes.......etc. SO for now....each of us must weigh the risks we know about.....weigh the pros and cons.....keep our eyes open...each of us has our own things we are going to be willing to risk to get what therapeutic result we hope for. and we are not always going to agree which risks we find acceptable. we also might not always agree with our docs.
(I think I lost my train of thought somewhat.......sorry)

Truth is we do not know the WHOLE entire story of this 2 yr old. We did not live with this 2 yr old. The story may not be depicted with complete total accuracy, some details may be left out....and just from reading posts here at this site......you can see a wide variety of how different people interpret the use of medications, the effects of medications and the symptoms being seen......etc.

And again, I am not anti medication. I am not pro medication. My finger is not pointing at anyone anywhere. We are medication free at the moment becuz of our own personal experiences and with the advice of the docs involved at the moment. I have no idea if or when that might change. And in the 18 years I have lost some of my confidence in medicine and science.....I have watched too many docs argue and guess. ANd some of those docs I have watched are high profile big name top researchers in the world of bipolar children. But I have also learned from my own research just how much this whole thing of mentally ill children is still in it's infancy. And in the world of medicine, things take time......the only way to know long term effects is to wait......a long term....
And a dilemma is....OK we did it THIS way so since we did do this this way, how the heck can we possibly know how THIS one would have turned out if we had done it THAT way? Well. We don't. so that complicates things further.

Yes, we still do need to be able to concretely tease out the different diagnosis es. and we do still need to better understand the long term effects of various treatments. And the only way to accomplish that is by all our kids getting the various treatments they are going thru right now. Observing and gathering data etc.......and interpreting the results as we go.

Almost 10 years ago, my child was put on Zoloft and she got far more suiicidal. She was 8 years old. I said to her docs, yikes she seems MORE suicidal. I got accused of not giving her the Zoloft.becuz gee, the zoloft was SUPPOSED to be an antidepressant and if she got worse I must not have given it to her.
Yeah. Right. But enough people also eventually made the same observation, and now there are black box warnings. Learning as we go.


New Member
wow, lots of posts happened while I was writing mine.

I just want to say-----um.....I do not feel any shame nor do I judge anyone with any illness, mental or pyhysical or whatever the politically correct terms are.
I also condemn noone to anything....things change.
I have felt for a long time most (or maybe all) "behavior" "problems" could very likelly be some type of brain disorder, trauma, injury, illness or abnormality. WHY should THAT be embarrassing or shameful?
I also am not codemning anyone to a life of anything.....my first husband died before age 30 due to brittle diabetes complications (when only human insulin was an option), BUT my brother diagnosis'ed 20 years later with juvenile onset insulin dependant diabetes has a much larger range of treatment options and is doing fine....(with a pump)

My son has seizures, I am not embarrased or shamed by it. Used to be people assumed a person having seizures was possessed or something.....I know better. I am not ashamed.
Neither am I ashamed by my dtrs bipolar. OR her major panic attacks. Nor do I condemn either or think it is the end of the world.
My dtr does not work, cannot work, rarely leaves the house. BUT I also do not think she is hopeless or helpless or anything "bad" and while sometimes she is "down" or depressed....much of the time she is OK enough with her life....and she brings joy to others in her own ways.....her life is not a waste.......and among the people I know in real life, her life and existance and my very ill dhs life and existance are not open for justification, either.
Nor is my sons.with his weird brain abnormalities and shortened tendons, weak muscles, quirky odd seizures and his one truamtized eye.

My non working 18.5 bipolar panic attack dtr made the whole family a loving breakfast at 3 am this morning so it would be on the table at 5 am when we woke. She has been nurturing the kitties incredibly on her own and bottle feeding the sick kitty....
my sillly precious son built an amazing snowman while I ran an errand that brightened my arrival back home.
My easy child got on the honor roll yet again.....and my unbelieveably seriously mentally ill and very physically ill husband surprised me today, too, in a pleasant way and provided me with rather stimulating conversation and debate on a controversial subject, to my amazement.

In my world I do not even use terms "useful productive member of society"

LOL- maybe my husband is still useful and productive after his many years as a Marine in Nam by giving the docs something to keep them busy. Maybe my oldest difficult child is contributing to society by having been a test subject all these years. ANd my son? The world is an open door.
I am NOT embarrassed or ashamed and none of them are condemned.


Well-Known Member
medications are simply mandatory for some people. I am one, and I'm myself so I know this. I am not happy with the doctor's "condemned to mental illness" quote because if you have a psychiatric illness, you just do. It's like diabetes, you live with it, and you deal with it. I do agree that there is a lot more misdx. of psychiatric and neurological disorders because there are no definitive tests. When I think of the garbage my poor son went through, I really get angry, so I try NOT to think about it. It's scary how they were so wrong about him. If they were so wrong about him, they are so wrong about some other kids too. I personally DO NOT trust the psychiatric community in a blind way. I've been a part of it for too long, and know there are some terrible psychiatrists out there who shouldn't be diagnosing and medicating and, worse, are depending more and more on non-MD psycologists and even social workers to do the diagnosing for them. I have had probably ten differing opinions on my own diagnosis. I already told you all about my son. Psychiatric diagnosis. are very subjective and in the eye of the evaluator, which is why it tees me off that they often spend so little time doing all they can to at least make sure they are heading in the right direction. They should do intensive testing, such as Neuropychs do. That won't solve the problem, because there are no blood tests, but it will at least force every professional to do a thorough workup one ach child before snapping his or her fingres and saying, "Yes! ADHD! Ritalin!" It's not the parents who want a quick fix, in my opinion, it's the professionals who see a child once or twice, don't test at all, and decide, "I know for a fact that your child has this." They don't know for a fact. They're guessing. My son's neuropsychologist, who worked at Mayo for ten years, said, "We misdiagnose all the time, even at Mayo." He was being honest. I believe him. As parents it is up to us to see if a professional is helping our child and if the medications are making our children better or not. If they aren't helping, what's the point to them? I'm no saint. I was the one who tried my son on thirteen medications. I learned a bitter lesson. TRUST MY OWN GUT. Me and hub thought "autism" as soon as this child entered our home at two. Umpteen professionals were wrong and, in the end, we were right. We should have not trusted so blindly. My kid wouldn't be so overweight now and, if you know any Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids, you know how hard it is to get them to eat healthy as they have food issues. I hope he loses all that excess weight one day or grows into it.


member since 1999
I'm torn on this one. One one hand, I have a hard time wrapping my head around a 2 y/o being diagnosed and medicated for BiPolar (BP).

on the other hand, if you have a trusted physician diagnosing and medicating.... as parents, we can only try to make informed choices and that involves following medical advice that makes sense to us. Not all of us have medical degrees. Not all of our informed choices turn out to be good ones.

"Condemned to life as a psychiatric patient". Give me a break. Beats the heck out of condemned to life as an untreated severely mentally ill person.

I can think of very few board members over the years who have gotten a "quick fix" with- medications. I think it does a huge disservice to parents to suggest that we just want our kids to pop a pill and voila, instant easy child. As if it worked that way anyway.

BiPolar (BP) may be overused as a diagnosis but I think the article misses a huge point it's actually making:

"In just the last decade, the rate of bipolar diagnosis in children under 13 has increased almost sevenfold, according to a study based on hospital discharge records."

Be interesting to know how much the *hospitalization* rate of aggressive/raging children under 13 has increased over the last decade.

At the end of the day, there are some children who do not respond to typical behavior management, who have excessive and extreme rage reactions to daily life, who are not able to function consistently in their home communities, and who do show some improvement on medication. Good heavens, I'm open to any alternatives if they would help improve thank you's quality of life. I don't care what diagnosis you give him, I don't care if you want me to dance under the harvest moon naked... if it helps my kid *function*, I'm there.