Here We Go Again

Today on ABC News’ website, there is an article entitled, “Physicians: Prescribing Less May Improve Outcomes,” by Stefan Kruszewski, M.D.  In his article, he states that doctors just prescribe ADD meds because they don’t bother to check for chronic marijuana or other drug use.  That in the past, doctors prescribed meds for “disorders” like homosexuality or narcissism, and a “Not Otherwise Specified” or NOS diagnosis is, basically, the same level of ridiculousness.    That parents just let doctors prescribe their kids into oblivion.  Doctors are lazy, and parents are ignorant.

When I read this article the first time, I fumed.  Again, stigma.  Stigmatization of parents of kids with mental health disorders.  From a doctor, no less.  I commented on the article that he may want to read Judith Warner’s book, as she started with the same premise – that parents are over-medicating their kids to avoid parenting – and found out that was flat out untrue.  That we fight to keep our kids off meds.  That we often wait too long to try meds to get our kids stable.  That we lament the meds, every day.

When I read it again, I noticed the footer, explaining Dr. Kruszewski’s credentials:

Dr. Stefan Kruszewski is an Addiction Psychiatrist and CEO of Kruszewski & Associates, a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania based firm specializing in illuminating healthcare and financial fraud.

Hmmmm….could his true motivation be that his is an insurance company shill, trying to extoll the evils of prescriptions to save insurance companies money?  

So I Googled Dr. Kruszewski.  He’s a board certified geriatric psychiatrist.  He’s a professional whistle-blower.  He is contracted by insurance companies and state governments to check out doctors and facilities and pharma companies and put together evidence of over medication and fraud, so that the insurers and governments can sue.  Sounds great.  I don’t like fraud and waste because it’s dangerous for patients and costs me more in my insurance premiums.  He was the main whistle-blower behind the Seroquel lawsuits, where Seroquel was forced to admit they hadn’t been forthcoming about negative study results.  Again – great.  

How could a doctor that is seemingly trying to do so much good say something so amazingly inaccurate and damaging – particularly since he is not a child and adolescent psychiatrist?

So I called him.  I got voicemail, and the option for Dr. Kruszewski was invalid, so I left him a message stating that I’m the mom of a teen with a severe mental illness, that I’d like to ask him some questions about his article, and that he can call me back, read the blog, or send me an email.  I hope he responds.  I’ll let you know.

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  • TLC4evah February 23, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    You go girl. Nothing like poking a mama bear to get her riled up.

    I am interested to see if he responds.

  • Chrisa February 23, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    I don't know if a letter will do it. This guy has beau coup credentials when it comes to whistle blowing. We could all call him though:

    717 234-2684

  • KSorl February 23, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Way to go Chrisa! From my experience, the parents that care and really want to help their kids will try to avoid medications unless there's a real need, such as you with Tim and Clozaril. It's those people who do not want to engage with their children and finding out the best for them, who do not want to deal with the realities of issues, that are all for sedation such as this "doctor" said. True parents do not look for the easy out. You and so many others are true parents!

  • Jen February 24, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    You rock, Chrisa! I will be interested to hear if he responds – it is hard enough to deal with the medication issues without yet another layer of pointing fingers that we're just medicating our children so we don't have to deal with them. These medications, as awful as the side effects can be, have saved my girls' lives, many many times, and saved them from their own demons every day.

  • Lillian Carilo February 25, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Today, such attitudes are inexcusabe; In my day as a small child, my Mom w/ 3rd grade education and welfare clinicians were at a loss. My mom was prescribed Valium and told to cut it in quarters to give me for my (undiagnosed) problems – I was about 7 years old. Today, I am 47 and have been treatmented with meds managed over the last 17 years for depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, fibromyalgia and chronic pain.