How depressing is this?

There is a story on Health central about the death of a four-year-old girl, who had been prescribed some pretty serious anti-psychotic medication since she was two years old.

Obviously, I don’t know any of the facts here but that won’t stop me commenting on it. There do seem to be some complicating factors – the parents have other kids on the same medication, they have been under the attention of social services before and were warned about giving the child an overdose.

The Health Central post says

… Seroqel, an anti-psychotic; Depakote, which was presumably prescribed for bipolar disorder; and Clonidine, a blood pressure drug that is apparently used “off-label” to calm children…. my jaw dropped when I read this list of drugs, especially as Rebecca had been taking them since she was 2, when she was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder. ….prescribing several off-label medications together is even riskier, since their interaction has not been tested.

A two year-old on anti-psychotic medicine? Anyone who has met a two year old knows it’s quite hard to distinguish normality from craziness. Attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder. Don’t these define two-year-old behaviour?

Taking up a point made a couple of blogs ago and made more strongly in a comment by Chris, we seem to be ever more willing to find medical solutions to problems. And to see psychiatric problems where we might not in the past.

Hate your life? Don’t do anything to change it, take tablets. Grief stricken after a horrible life event? Don’t expect to have to go through it and come to terms with it, take tablets. Do you get angry or miserable or bored or worried? You know the answer. Don’t think about life, the universe etc. It’s all perfect. It’s you. You just don’t fit in.

Worse, we don’t just do it to ourselves. We are happy to do this stuff to other people who can’t answer back, especially the old and children. Or we do it to children who do answer back.

Loads of our schools in inner-city areas are filled with kids medicated for having behavioural disorders that didn’t even exist thirty years ago. Some of these kids are genuinely ill. A small number of them would be better off being brought up by wolves. A fair number of the rest would be back in the unstigmatised world of the “normal.” if the adults that interacted with them had a bit more intelligence or empathy and allowed a wider range of self-expression.

But these adults are themselves likely to be tranquilised into weapons-grade stupidity.

News stories this week included research findings that the anti-psychotic drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s shorten the lives of the patients. It seems that these drugs are intended to stop people with Alzheimer’s from upsetting other people, as they certainly aren’t any use as a cure. I’d certainly rather be dead than have Alzheimer’s. I think I would much rather be dead than have Alzheimer’s and be chemically restrained and kept in a fog while I was attended to with cups of tea and hair styling done to me.

All this stuff is a gift to the big drug companies. They’ve already got us buying paracetemol and ibuprofen by the bucketload. We now have adverts for over-the-counter cures for eye infections, thrush and a host of other things that used to send us to the doctor’s. It seems deliberately foolish to put up with mild aches and pains when we can easily buy medicine to stop them.

Imagine the effect of applying this mindset to feelings that used to fall within the accepted normal human range, if pharmaceutical ads create a climate of opinion that classifies them as psychiatric disorders.