One time a guy told me that he didn’t like going to the doctor because it was called a medical practice. His point was that he didn’t want a doctor practicing on him. His point was well taken.
In our country today, some in the medical industry are bent on practicing, or perhaps experimenting, on the youngest among us. In recent years, we have seen an increase of bipolar diagnoses among children, many of whom are on two or three different prescriptions by the time they are four years old.
Medication is a result of God’s common grace. It has made our lives longer and healthier. But the opposite is true when these medications are forced on patients much like a sales associate at Big Lou’s Tire Emporium tries to sell you up on a higher, more expensive model that you don’t really need.
“I drive a mini-van. Why did I just buy 26 inch wheels?”
Obviously, there are times when children need to be on medications. Many children today have outlived their once bleak life expectancy or have enjoyed an incredibly improved quality of life thanks to God’s gracious provision of medication. However, the increase of children being placed on drugs because of behavior problems should make all parents stop and evaluate what they’re being told.
In 2008, the PBS show Frontline documented the way that some in the medical profession push behavioral drugs on kids in a way that would make Freeway Ricky Ross blush. This is in spite of the fact that there is limited documentation of long term side effects and that often the supposed cure seems worse than the initial disease. To cure this dilemma, the answer from some is, “Well, try another drug along with this one.” The result is a customer for life.
The Bible is not primarily a parenting guide and and we grossly miss the point of it if we make it one big message about behavior modification. However, the Bible does speak to the reader’s heart through the power of the Holy Spirit and the heart is the source of our behavior (Mark 7:14-23). Read two verses and call me in the morning is not the answer but careful study of the word in a community context puts parents and children on the pathway to healing by addressing the root of the issue. That’s not something you can say about being prescribed a higher dosage.
Here are the money quotes from the Frontline episode below.
“Most of these doctors were experimenting. They had no clue and were just saying, ‘Try this. Try this.’ There’s nothing worse than seeing your kid, you know, go through something like this.” Iris Solomon, mother of a medicated child
“What you’ve got out there is a whole lot of kids who are being diagnosed with a condition that has not really attained respectability yet and they’re receiving medications that have not been fully tested on children.” David Shaffer, Cheif, Child Psychiatry, Columbia University
“There’s no scientific answer here about what to do but I think we should try to go up a little bit on the medicine.” David Axelson M.D., Bipolar Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center