I wish I was making this one up.
Again, a “doctor” that says, basically, we’re just lazy parents. Here’s his article (reprinted from the Metro West Daily News) and the comment I left on it.
Childhood Bipolar Disorder or Just Childhood? By Dr. Jacob Azerrad
What an ignorant, completely misinformed article.
Doctor Azerrad, have you read Judith Warner’s book, ‘We’ve Got Issues‘ ? It tackles EXACTLY this question. She started with exactly your theory. And after years of research and articles – guess what – she found she was exactly WRONG. Here’s a link to the New York Times Book Review, in case you missed it:
Is Bipolar Disorder the appropriate diagnosis for all children with some type of emotional disturbance. No, of course not. Is it possibly over diagnosed because we simply don’t have another diagnosis to give? Yes, probably. So why don’t you write about the real cause? The overwhelming shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists and psychologist? The non-existent research into childhood psychological conditions?
I have three children, Doctor Azerrad. One is, unfortunately, on powerful psychopharmaceutical medication. We resisted meds for a long time, assuming he was just a spirited child, working with occupational therapists and psychologists in talk and play therapy. Unfortunately, however, after years and years of this, we had to go with medication. My son has Schizoaffective Disorder. Oh – my other two children? Willful? Yes. Spirited? Yes. Medicated? No, of course not. They’re just teenagers.
Trust me – no one WANTS to medicate their child. If you were a practicing child and adolescent psychologist, you’d know that, first hand.
I agree and disagree. Chrisa, parents like you are exactly as you said. Unfortunately, I'm finding that there's a segment of society who prefer to medicate their children into submission. I know of two so-called "parents" who do that. These people are those who will use the system in any way possible and watching these kids is heart-breaking. And there's nothing that can be done… because the "parent" knows how to work it.
This kills me on two ends: one-I'm seeing children have the life sucked from them whenever their meds kick in and worry about them in the future. Can medication when there is no issue cause mental illness in the future?
Two – using state resources to help kids who don't need it takes away from those who truly do.
So, I firmly believe that a segment of our society truly is exactly what the doctor wrote. Additionally, there are parents like you who do care and who are exactly what you wrote.
Ky, have you met them? Have you seen it?
I'd recommend you read Judith Warner's book. She thought exactly as you state. And couldn't find an example.
you go, woman! what an ass! he should visit my house for a couple of days. i HATE blanket statements! who the hell would do what we do if our kids were just spirited? i raised 4 children who are now adults and of course could be a pain sometimes. of course i did not medicate them! my children i am raising now would have NO quality of life without medications. idiot.
As always Chrisa, thank you for speaking out on this. Do I want my 6 year old on Depakote, Zyprexa…or the 17 previous meds she has been on? Hell no! (pardon my language) But it was the only option to keep my Pickles from hurting herself. Am I a lazy parent? I'd like to think not. I spend hours, upon hours, upon hours trying to find anything and everything to help her with the horrors she lives with in her head.
I agree with lynn. I'd like this "doctor" to spend 48 hours with Pickles. How about we start tomorrow?
Of course I don't mind – I think it's fabulous!! I'm running right over there to read it now.
I agree with you Chrisa. However, I DID live in a country overseas and when my 10 year old was going to "outdoor school" for 3 days I was really surprised. Why? I showed up at 8 am, with all of his stuff and saw a few kids playing by the bus and a HUGE line-up of other kids. I hustled him into the line-up thinking it was some sort of check in. Nope. It was the line-up for handing over medications. No word of a lie, it must have been 70 percent of the 3 classes going. This was all meds: antihistimines, over the counter stuff, etc. I guess my point is that I was really surprised to see so many kids that had routine daily meds.
However, I think to insinuate that people put their kids on strong anti-psychotic medicine rather than using "time-outs" etc. is asinine. It really is insulting to the parents of children struggling with mental illness.
This "doctor" is obviously going for "shock" value and to get a reaction. You have to admit though, that the parents on supernanny are usually pretty clueless. There are extremes on either end of the spectrum, but you are right to point out that the vast majority of parents that are in a daily struggle are hardly comparable to some mother on supernanny that needs to grab a clue about parenting techniques. Not even in the same ballpark.
I would be interested to hear a reply if you one.
I watched a few episodes of Supernanny and giggled at the parents and the kids, and how some structure and rules whipped them in to place. I agree, those parents seemed either overwhelmed, clueless, or a bit of both.
But not once did I see Supernanny suggest the kids needed meds.
The "dr" obviously forgot one tiny, cultural fact.
Many Asian cultures hide any person with any type of disability. Period. You don't see them and they don't talk about them.
When we lived abroad we had a driver that was with our family 6 days a week, all day. He spoke a lot of his family and his life. Imagine our suprise when a year later he actually brought his family to a family function and he had a daughter he had only mentioned once in all this time. We never knew her name. She had Downs Syndrome and was kept home 24/7. It was a great honor for him to let us meet her. But she was only allowed to greet us, bow, and then they took her away again.
When a culture treats people with disabilities as personas non gratas, well, then society doesn't have problems – until you go behind closed doors.
I wonder how many sufffer alone treated only with shame.
Hi Chrisa – yes, unfortunately, I have met them, have been part of the extended families for years. I've known the kids since they were toddlers and have watched them grow. Perhaps that's why I agree and disagree. I used to believe that parents were like you – concerned for the kids and striving to do better than the best for them. Sadly, I've seen things this past year that would infuriate you. As our state gets ready for huge cuts in mental health and I see two different families with a parent who is wasting the money that could be going to someone with real need. I never thought I'd say I could see with my eyes and experiences how some would treat their children. Medicate into a stupor so they didn't have to deal with them – and yes, that is the truth for some parents out there. Different segments of society – perhaps maybe Munchhausen's by proxy, but either way, it is the children being hurt. I could chat offline with you about it, but I hope you know me well enough to know that I wouldn't make a statement without the experience. It is not an opinion per se – just these people do exist. And yes, I also know others like you, who truly care and would do everything possible for their child(ren), making agonizing choices sometimes but still advocating for the mental health needs.
As to whether the doctor is going for shock value – yes – the article could have been written without his bias. I'm just saying that there are people out there that he describes… and yes, I do cry about that sometimes….
One aspect that hasn't been mentioned is that if someone has a genetic predisposition to mental illness (like bipolar disorder), it can be triggered or have an earlier onset by trauma/stress and abuse. Just like overcrowded rats becoming more psychotic, I think our society is becoming a pressure cooker. We don't automatically throw teens in jail or lock them up in mental institutions anymore. Instead we mainstream them and inflict them on others. I'm not saying mainstreaming is bad, but my adopted son has major behavior issues and is pretty scary, even on the enormous crapload of meds he takes.
The school keeps putting my emotionally disturbed kids in situations that they are not emotionally able to handle. I cannot make their school environment less stressful, so they are probably on more meds than they might need if they're life were less stressful.
Bipolar runs strongly in my family (although my kids diagnosed with bipolar are adopted). My grandfather's many brothers all hid their issues (because of the stigma) and all 5 of the male siblings ended up committing suicide. My mom hid her disorder as much as she could as well and didn't seek treatment until she was in her late 30s and by then my sister and I had grown up with a mentally unstable parent. No one talked about or treated mental illness. Doesn't mean it didn't exist. Doesn't mean they wouldn't have done better with medication. Also, untreated rages and storms do damage to the brain.
diagnosed Bipolar II
mom to 2 adopted children diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ADHD, PTSD, brain damage…
2 bio kids, the oldest (14) is starting to show signs of adolescent-onset bipolar.