I have just finished watching this documentary which is available on Netflix. I think the entire movie is on YouTube as well. This is a powerful expose to watch if you are hearing that your child needs to be medicated or your PCP is telling you to take a psychotropic.
When I worked in social services, in the group homes unit, I saw kids being over-medicated all the time. Some of us were very conscious of this and took steps – in court – to make sure this didn’t happen with our kids. However, doctors can be very convincing. Teachers (who have no medical degrees) convince group homes. Doctors who work with children’s programs get tired of staff (who have no medical degrees) bombarding them with pleas for a prescription. I knew of a couple of programs that came from a medical model for treatment. The kids were dependent on their social workers and attorneys to be their advocates.
As a therapist now I am constantly being told by parents that their child’s teacher believes they have “ADHD.” I have adult clients whose PCP’s give them psychotropic meds for self-diagnoses. It is important to do the research online but a comprehensive psychological evaluation from a psychologist will tell you, (through extensive testing) what your diagnosis is. It will also provide recommendations as to what you can do. A psychiatrist will be able to then review this and come up with a treatment plan.
I will never forget the time that I visited my doctor, in California, because I needed permission to go out on stress from my job. His hand held anti-depressants and it was shaking with anticipation that I would take them. I told him I didn’t need drugs, I just needed time off from an extremely stressful job [in social services]. He must have asked me three times about the medications “Are you sure…” I thought to myself, yes, I know my body and I need some empathy here for all the hours I have spent trying to keep kids off of drugs!