This video makes me feel a bit queasy.
It's about diagnosing children with bipolar disorder and medicating them. Not that I'm against medication, because I'm not. I have a close friend who is bipolar and I knew her before she presented symptoms, after she was diagnosed, and I've seen her both on and off meds. She absolutely needs them. There are lots of people, even children, who need some type of medication or other to help them function.
But feeding multiple pills to four-year-olds when diagnosing seems like "an experiment"… ugh… it just hits me in the gut. Especially when you see professionals admitting that children can often be misdiagnosed.
The part I really have a problem with is the portion (I'll summarize for those who don't want to watch) where a mom is asking her 4-year-old child's psychiatrist if there any other options outside of medication, such as therapy, to help her child and the psychiatrist says "No".
There are other options. You can get a second opinion. You can see a panel of specialists, not just one person from one field of study. There are different types of therapies.
OT (occupational therapy) has done wonderful things for Chance. It has also been wonderful for another classmate of Chance's who goes to the same center. Now granted, neither of these little boys have bipolar disorder; they both have sensory processing issues. But OT can be helpful for a variety of issues, including mood disorders. It is an option and one that I don't think is very well-known.
I also have no doubt that if we had "just waited" like so many people suggested, if I had not pushed for Chance's assessments to find out exactly what was going on, if I had not tried the OT (out of pocket I might add), at some point someone in a school somewhere would have told me Chance was ADHD and needed to be put on medication.
So far the OTs and speech therapists that Chance sees are seeing no signs of ADHD. It's all sensory processing disorder (SPD).
My brother was put on Ritalin when he was kid and it never seemed to do much for him. Then as soon as he became a teenager they kept offering him different forms of antidepressants. Looking back at everything, I think he had sensory issues and was misdiagnosed, first as ADHD, and then it was just assumed he was depressed. (Not that depression doesn't run in my family, because it does, but not ALL of us are depressed. I've been offered antidepressants multiple times. I'm NOT depressed. My complaints? Tired and having back pain. Solution, here's an antidepressant. ??)
What's my point? I don't know. I have such mixed feelings about the entire medication and instant diagnoses process. It's so complicated. And again, I've known people who've done great on meds and needed them. But I also personally feel there is an age that is "too young" to give drugs to little kids. I'm not even sure we know how those drugs affect teenagers' development.
I DO think that starting with something that doesn't use drugs, like OT, is a better first step than going instantly to medication.
I want to talk about SPD here more this year than I have. I meant to but I always ended up discarding those posts. However, I'm going to change that. It seems like SPD is so unknown and yet you see it, once you know the signs, all the time. And I feel like if I help talk about it maybe it can help other parents know their options so their kids don't get ignored or misdiagnosed.
Honestly, I'd love it if a few of us parents dealing with SPD got us a website going. Talking parent to parent, you know?