I keep seeing all these things pop up on my Facebook feed from people that are not psychiatrists preaching that minors should not be on psychiatric medications. Information from questionable sources are cited as facts, natural remedies are preached to be the only way to handle mental illness in children.
I have many problems with this.
Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with exhausting natural options before turning to pharmaceuticals. I’ve experienced this with a close family member. Every alternative treatment the family was made aware of was exhausted. Acupuncture, massages, many disgusting herbal remedies, probably more treatments I’m not even remembering were diligently tried. But mental illness is very real and affects minors as well. We can’t ignore that. I lost many friends to suicide in high school. I’ve seen first hand the pain it causes those suffering children, their families, and just how much it can impede daily living for those affected.
I have seen a sweet child become violent to himself, and to others, at a very young age. Suffer from such terrible anxiety that the only place he felt safe was in his room or the shower. He basically became agoraphobic. He paced constantly. His education was severely impaired. Friendships were almost impossible. He has said he never wants children because he wouldn’t want to bring a soul into this world that may suffer as he does every day. This pain is very real for some very young children and adolescents.
I’ve also seen the side effects psychiatric medications can cause. The parent dealing with this particular child had to chose to leave her child in a hospital, away from his mother when he suffered horrible separation anxiety, (amongst the multiple other symptoms and diagnosis) or try a medication that had potentially awful side effects and could cause permanent damage. It’s not an easy choice to say the least. We are supposed to protect our children, but as I know from dealing with a child with Substance Abuse Disorder, you are forced to make lose/lose decisions constantly for both conditions.
The fact is there are mental illnesses that cannot be treated simply with therapy, holistic methods, and dietary changes, some NEED medications to be safe to themselves and others.
What I would say the the “Facebook Physicians” is PLEASE don’t send the message that people are bad parents if their children require these, or encourage people not to listen to medical professionals. If you are questioning your doctor, (and you SHOULD ask a million questions when making a major decision such as this), get second and third opinions! If they all say the same thing well…perhaps it’s worth a try rather than to leave your child in a potentially dangerous situation, or at the very least, in the agonizing pain mental illness causes.
People have titles after their names for a reason. If they don’t, it’s simply an opinion, Facebook “doctors” are not experts. Many articles posted are questionable at best. Shit, I’m not an expert either, but I’m not telling someone to put their kid on medications, or not to! Everything is a case by case basis!
Please keep in mind when you read or listen to posts from non-professionals that this is only their opinion. It shouldn’t necessarily affect yours without concrete information from reputable sources. Even then, they don’t know your child. YOU do!