Thursday, October 12, 2006

Blame it on the Brain or Poor Parenting?

My series on mental health gets stalled out every few days (if you haven't noticed) because I just have too many more important things going on (i.e. working, loving my wife, staying sane, etc.)

I will continue to post when I am able about Christianity and Mental Health. I do have much more to report on in this widely misunderstood area of life. Today however, I will post quotes from a great article I read in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press (link to article: Sometime parenting, not chemical imbalance, is the problem)

Please read the article in full, but here are some quotes I pulled and then highlighted certain parts, because I believe they speak right to the misunderstanding real mental health problems and behavioral problems (a.ka. heart problems.)

"temper tantrums of belligerent children are increasingly being characterized as psychiatric illnesses."

"Some psychiatrists speculate that this stunning increase in childhood psychiatric disease is entirely due to improved diagnostic techniques. But setting aside the children with legitimate mental illnesses who must have psychiatric medications to function normally, much of the increase in prescribing such medications to kids is due to the widespread use of psychiatric diagnoses to explain away the results of poor parenting practices."

"According to psychiatrist Jennifer Harris, quoted in the January/February issue of Psychotherapy Networker, "Many clinicians find it easier to tell parents their child has a brain-based disorder than to suggest parenting changes."

"Contributing to this widespread problem is the doctor's willingness to accept, without question, a parent or teacher's assessment."

"These days parents cruise the Internet, take self-administered surveys, diagnose their children and choose a medication before ever setting foot in a psychiatrist's office. If the first doctor doesn't prescribe what you want, the next one will."

"The schools get more state funding for the education of a mentally handicapped student. Teachers have more subdued students in their crowded classrooms. Finally, parents are not forced to examine their poor parenting practices, because they have the perfect excuse: Their child has a chemical imbalance."

"The only loser in this equation is the child, who must endure the side effects of these powerful drugs and be unnecessarily labeled with a mental illness. Medicating a child, based on a misdiagnosis, is a tragic injustice for the child: His or her only advocate is the parent who lacked the courage to apply appropriate discipline."


Carla said...

Thank you Pat. WOW!

Jeff said...

Thank you for the pointer to the excellent article.