Archive for July, 2012

How Psych Drug Studies Shortchange Kids

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

For years, researchers and health policy experts have been charging that psychiatric medications aren’t adequately tested in children – and a new study gives some powerful ammunition to that critique.

The study, from Pediatrics, looked at clinical drug trials between 2006 and 2011, involving five conditions that cause the greatest “disease burden” for children, as measured by a rating that counts the total years of healthy life lost to disability.

In high-income countries like the United States, three of the five conditions with the highest disease burden among kids were psychiatric disorders: depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

But of the drug studies to treat those conditions, disproportionately few involved children.

The lack of trials is troubling because children and adults don’t necessarily respond to medication in the same way. With psychiatric drugs, that’s a potential problem both for physical reasons – and for psychological and developmental ones.


Could Meds Make It Harder To Take the Heat?

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Thermometer 90New York, like much of the country, was mired in a massive heat wave for much of this week. Everyone was complaining that they could hardly stand to go outside – the heat index was 100 degrees. Once high temperatures set in, I began feeling particularly faint and achy, like I was getting sick.

At first, I figured I was about to get a migraine, since I often feel like this before a particularly bad one. But no big headache arrived. Then I figured I was getting the flu. But I didn’t have other symptoms, like a sore throat or an upset stomach.

And then, I read an article online from the Philadelphia Inquirer about how heat and certain medications affect how well the body can regulate its own temperature, making people who take them more susceptible to extreme heat.

I knew that people who take lithium as a mood stabilizer have to be careful in the heat. The drug has has a narrow therapeutic range and can reach toxic levels in your system if you get dehydrated, something that’s much more likely to happen in hot weather.

But it was news to me that other psychiatric drugs, including the antidepressants I take, could alter the body’s ability to regulate its temperature.


Do Meds Reduce the Risk of Being Bullied – or Increase It?

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

In a recent post, I explored the question of whether meds can help reduce bullying behavior in kids with psychiatric conditions, since they are more likely to bully peers than kids without such problems.

But research shows that kids with psychiatric problems are also more likely to be bullied – and that those who are bullied are at elevated risk of suffering from psychiatric disorders later on.

In my own research for my book on young adults who grew up taking psychiatric meds, I was struck that almost everyone I interviewed reported having been bullied during childhood or adolescence (some also reported bullying other kids).

So how does taking psychiatric meds affect the likelihood of kids being bullied? Do the drugs enhance kids’ self-esteem and behavior so that they’re less likely to be picked on? Or do kids get teased because they take meds?


Enduring Psychic Pain vs. Feeling “High” on Meds?

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

#ds358 - Better Living Through Chemistry

Last week, I featured a guest post from M., a reader from Texas who began taking Ritalin for ADHD when she was 12, then quit before college.

M. concluded in retrospect that taking that taking Ritalin taught her she couldn’t rely on herself to control her behavior. Instead, she learned to look to others for feedback, which she thinks provoked her anxiety.

Today, I’m following up with the second half of M.’s medication story, about her experience starting Zoloft in her mid-20s to treat some of that residual anxiety. Read on to find out how she fared during a second stab at medication treatment.


Ritalin and Relying On Others for Approval

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Today I’m featuring the first of two guest posts from a reader, M., about her experience taking Ritalin for ADHD as a teenager and later taking Zoloft during her 20s and early 30s for anxiety.

In this post, M., now 34 and living near Dallas, discusses how her views about Ritalin shifted as she got older. Ultimately, she came to suspect that relying on the medication actually exacerbated her anxiety – and may even have led, in a roundabout way, to her going on antidepressants later on.

And now, in her own words:


Learn more about Dosed now

Check out Kaitlin Bell Barnett's
book, Dosed!

Subscribe to this Blog: Feed

Recent Comments
  • Jeanette: I am a 50-yr-old teacher who has been on bipolar meds for over half of my life. My daughter has ADHD and...
  • vegasangie: What can we do? Evan was so brave and had so much courage for a 15 year old boy. I am 48 and have...
  • Jay: This article very aptly points out the stigma attached to taking these drugs but then seems to stumble in...
  • Kaitlin Bell Barnett: Richard, it sounds like you have a very measured approach to this topic. Very refreshing...
  • Richard: I think that the most important thing that anyone taking any form of anti depressant meds should be aware...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!