I have been stunned during my recent struggle with PTSD by the number of people who are willing to ask another grown up the following question “Are you taking meds?”
We live in a culture and country where there is an assumption that if someone is struggling with a mental health issue they will take meds. Don’t get me wrong…I am not against taking medication if it can be beneficial.
But it is very personal.
It is also very complicated.
Did you know…
Half a million children in the United States currently take antipsychotic drugs. Children from low-income families are four-times as likely as privately insured children to receive antipsychotic medicines. These medicines are often used to make abused and neglected children more tractable. In 2008, 19.045 children age five and under were prescribed antipsychotics through Medicaid. One study, based on Medicaid data in thirteen states, found that 12.4 % of children in foster care received antipsychotics, compared with 1.4% of Medicaid-eligible children in general. These medications make children more manageable and less aggressive, but they also interfere with motivation, play, and curiosity, which are indispensable for maturing into a well-functioning and contributing member of society.
I am not a child, I am privately insured, I have a solid personal support system, and I am not poor. I have the LUXERY of making the choice to seek other types of care besides drugs because I am in the top % of those with mental health issues that can function and make decisions for my own care.
Instead of helping children and adults who have abuse, trauma, and mental health issues, we just drug them and hope they’ll BEHAVE? We don’t understand them. We don’t offer them real support. Instead, we often ask them to “pull it together”, “get focused and re-energized”, and “come to work (school/home) with the right attitude and face”?**
This MUST change!
If it doesn’t change then we should each be prepared to take some of the blame when children of this system are unable to be functioning members of society and we should each be prepared to own some of the guilt when people who have experienced trauma and live from a place of fear become violent in response to the lack of relief they receive from the system.
We really need to think through how we raise children as a nation and how we respond to adults from these systems. We must be willing to help (and by that I mean give time to, support, and PAY FOR good medical intervention) children in abuse, neglect, and foster parenting systems. And we need to find new ways to talk to, support, employ, and help adults who struggle with emotional and mental disabilities.
Will we? Will I? Will you??
**Direct quotes I’ve heard in my professional life in the last 5 weeks.