Samples Medicine Overmedicating Children

Overmedicating Children

336 words 2 page(s)

Watching the PBS Frontline webcast “The Medicated Child” underlined several issues, both social and medical, associated with mental health and mental health medications. The webcast did a good job of presenting the issues in a balanced way. For example, it seems as though Nicholas were simply a rambunctious 3-year-old who just needed a little more guidance to do well and not medication. Noelle, on the other hand, clearly needed and benefitted from Ritalin.

While I appreciated the concerns expressed by the anti-medication group in Denver described in the course of Noelle’s story, it is difficult, after seeing the positive effect of medication on Noelle, to agree with all of their concerns. The legislation that ultimately did not say that school districts should dictate the use of medication was somewhat refreshing; it seems the question of medication should be a decision made by the family. It was remarkable that Noelle’s parents respected her decision to discontinue her medication when she did; often, adults make health decisions for children regardless of the children’s opinion in the matter.

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While ultimately, especially when children are young like Nicholas the parents must advocate and decide for the children, when they are older (like Noelle), it seems that the desires and wishes of the child should be elicited and considered. One wonders how many kids who are on medication would prefer to be off the medication and how, with a little behavioral modification therapy or extra one-on-one guidance, they may do well without the medication. I was disappointed in the teachers who seemed to force the issue of Noelle being medicated; they seemed overly focused on the point of children getting an education.

While undoubtedly getting an education is important, it is only one aspect of a child’s development. However, the question is: are children overmedicated? It seems that the answer to the question is yes. In the case of Nicholas, and I’m sure many children, what other people see as disruptive behavior is just natural behavior.