How This Guide Will Help?
There are more therapist today than ever before in history. And yet, the number of kids being diagnosed with mental health conditions has skyrocketed. Is the number of children with faulty brain chemistry really on the rise or are we seeing the side effects of over labeling and overmedicating today’s youth?
As a parent, you are expected to make health and wellness decisions on your child’s behalf. Which can be overwhelming under normal circumstances. But when your child is suffering, you feel a sense of desperation and a natural instinct to protect your kid. Under these circumstances, it’s quite easy to succumb to fear and feel pressured into making decisions that don’t feel quite right. You want to end your child’s suffering but question if putting them on powerful, psychoactive drugs is your best and only option?
This guidebook provides parents and caregivers with the knowledge and tools they need to make confident and informed decision about mental health treatment for their kids.
- How therapist and doctors make their diagnosis
- The benefits and risk of putting kids on medications
- What to do when you notice concerning behaviors or symptoms
- How to choose the right kind of mental health professional, what to ask, and how to know it’s a good match for their kid
- How to advocate for their child with less fear and more confidence
- Alternative treatment options for restoring their child’s health and wellness
Mental Health Treatment: More Art Than Science
The Truth About Medications
The Risks No One Tells You About
How to Advocate for Your Child’s Treatment
How to Find the Right Mental Health Professional
Alternative Treatment Options
Sample This Guide
Read an Excerpt From This Guide
What to Consider Before Medicating Your Kid
Our use and dependence on drugs are strongly rooted in our instinct to avoid suffering. Much in the same way that no one wants to experience pain; we will gladly pop a pill to avoid negative emotions like anxiety and sadness, or even more intensified feelings like rage and compulsion. Drugs are powerful, fast-acting, and bring us relief. So, it’s no wonder that as a parent, you would consider giving your child medication to end their suffering. You should never feel guilty about wanting to find the fastest way to help your child. To help you make a decision that will also keep them safe, let’s talk about both the benefits and risks that psychoactive medicines pose to children.
A small percentage of children and adolescents experience a transformation with the right medication. In cases where a child or adolescent has become a threat to themselves or the people around them, it is wise to consider drug intervention. It can bring relief to the child and also to family members who feel unsafe or live in fear of a violent outburst. It can reduce violent or assaultive behavior, allowing a child or teen to remain in the home instead of having to be placed in residential treatment. With a proper treatment team in place, the child or adolescent can work with a therapist to develop the skills required to manage their disorder and a psychiatrist to manage the medication.
I have worked with many adolescents who experienced psychotic thoughts and behaviors. Sometimes these symptoms were the result of brain trauma and Antipsychotics, a form of mind-altering drugs, were the only things that helped them to quiet their minds long enough to do talk therapy. However, these kids make up a small percentage of the population. The majority of children who take psychoactive drugs experience either mild relief from symptoms or no relief at all.
As I mentioned before, drug therapy and talk therapy or a combination of both are the most common forms of treatment for a mental health disorder. An assessment or diagnostic evaluation is performed by a psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or medical doctor. In most cases, the practitioner will use the criteria in the DSM manual to match your child’s symptoms with the most appropriate disorder. Once they have determined a diagnosis, they will recommend treatment. In most cases, doctors (psychologist, psychiatrist, or a medical doctor) will recommend drug treatment, not because it’s the only option but because it’s the most popular option.
Doctors are more informed about drugs than they are about nutrition, so they can only tell you what they know. Doctors also know that most patients are seeking instant relief and usually ask for drugs.
When it comes to prescribing a drug, doctors are well versed in explaining the benefits of the medicine as well as its potential side effects. But there are other risks to consider when taking a medication, especially when it comes to your child. The following risk factors should also be considered if you are thinking about putting your child on medication for a behavioral or psychological disorder.
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