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Archives for Childhood

Adherence

How did Lena Dunham turn OCD and ‘countless psychiatric meds’ into a hit TV show?

Lena Dunham, the 26-year-old force behind HBO's popular and much-discussed show Girls, hasn't grown famous through discretion.

Part of the cringe-inducing delight of watching Girls is hearing Hannah say things and do things she knows she shouldn't. And part of what's refreshing about Dunham herself are her irreverent, indecorous comments and self-revelations, whether on Twitter, New Yorker essays, or interviews.

So I was especially curious to hear what Dunham had to say about her obsessive-compulsive...
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Childhood

Can Meds Transform Mental Illness Into Mental Health?

Today is World Mental Health Day, and I've been thinking a lot about the terms "mental health" and "mental illness" ever since reading a recent post post on the topic by blogger Natasha Tracy.

Natasha contends that using the politically-correct, cheerier-sounding term "mental health" trivializes psychiatric disorders and ends up shortchanging those who suffer from mental illness. That got me thinking again about a question I've often pondered:...
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Antidepressants

Waiting Until You’re “Old Enough” for Antidepressants

What's it like to suffer from severe depression for as long as you can remember - and to be too scared to ask for help until age 18?

Today I’m featuring the story of Allie, a 21-year-old college senior in Wisconsin who was ultimately diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Allie kept her unhappiness a secret and didn't begin taking medication when she was old enough to ask for it without her parents finding out.

Allie's...
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ADHD drugs

Medicating Class Cut-Ups But Overlooking the Rest

This weekend a mother published a New York Times column about how her son came to be diagnosed with ADHD and became a member of the ballooning "Ritalin Generation."

"Just a little medication," the teacher told the boy's mother, "could really turn things around" for the boy, who was having trouble focusing on class worksheets and lining up quietly for transitions between classes.

When the mother firmly responded that she and her husband weren't...
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ADHD drugs

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

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
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ADHD drugs

Can We Medicate Away Childhood Bullying?


In recent years, there has been a huge increase in the prescribing of psychiatric medication to treat aggression in children.

Specifically, atypical antipsychotic and mood stabilizing drugs, originally developed for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults, are now routinely prescribed to treat the aggression that occurs in a variety of childhood psychiatric disorders.

Prescriptions for atypical antipsychotics increased sixfold between 1993 and 2002, and the majority were prescribed to treat non-psychotic aggression, according to a...
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ADHD drugs

After Years On ADHD Meds, No Shortage of Questions


What are the issues involved in taking stimulant medications for ADHD from early elementary school onward? And what happens when someone who has done this decides to quit the drugs in college - only to find her motivation and academic capabilities diminish without the meds, and to suffer a crisis of identity and mood problems upon resuming them?

Two recent guest posts from a reader raised these questions and prompted ample discussion and comments...
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ADHD drugs

Is Early Intervention Worth It?

On this blog and in my new book, Dosed: The Medication Generation Grows Up, I explore young people's experiences with medication. And oftentimes, by exposing their ambivalence, even their resentment, toward their treatment from an early age, I end up implicitly questioning the value of early intervention for mental illness.

So in honor of the American Psychological Association's Mental Health Month Blog Party Day, I want to address the question of whether I think early intervention...
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