Comment: This ones for you Sue

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This ones for you Sue

I know you're going to enjoy it. This is a term paper my granddaughter wrote. I was very well researched and informative.

The Use of Psychiatric Mediation On Teens and Toddlers
Where is the Science?

Controversy and questions are mounting over the increase of diagnosing children and toddlers with mental illnesses and the prescribing of off-label psychiatric drugs in these age groups. Is there any scientific proof that mental illnesses like bipolar disorder are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain? How are these mental illnesses diagnosed in children and toddlers? What are the risks of prescribing psychiatric drugs to children and toddlers without knowing the effects they will have on their developing brains and bodies? Has the field of psychiatry been corrupted by the influence of the pharmaceutical drug industry?

Many psychiatrists and psychologists are speaking out about the dangers of prescribing psycho tropic drugs to children. Dr. Peter Breggin has written several books in an attempt to raise public awareness. Some of his books are “Reclaiming Our Children (2000)”, “Talking Back To Ritalin (2001)”, “The Ritalin Fact Book (2002)” and “Medication Madness (2008)”. Dr. Breggin is a board certified practicing psychiatrist in Ithaca, N.Y. “In my practice of psychiatry, I am frequently consulted about children who are taking three, four, and sometimes five psychiatric drugs, including medications that are FDA-approved only for the treatment of psychotic adults.” (Breggin, ¶4). Dr. David B. Stein, Ph.D., a practicing clinical psychologist in Richmond Virginia, and professor of psychology at the University of Tennessee states “If physical growth is suppressed, so is brain size, head size, and overall size of the nervous system. Suppressing normal growth, especially during times in a child’s life when growth spurts occur, is nothing short of nuts!”(, Stein, pg3,¶3)

What medical tests are used to diagnosis children with these mental illnesses? Well, that’s a very important question. Psychiatrists use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, as a reference in diagnosing mental illnesses. The first manual was written in 1952. It only had about 60 different mental disorders listed in the first edition. The DSM-IV published in 1994 has listed more than 250 mental disorders. Who writes the DSM manual? The American Psychiatric Association writes the DSM. Unfortunately, little to no science goes into writing this book. According to Michael B. First M.D., a psychiatrist on the DSM-V research planning workgroup stated “A primary purpose of this group then, was to determine why progress has been so limited and to offer strategic insights that may lead to a more etiologically-based diagnostic system. The group ultimately concluded that, given the current state of technological limitations, the field is years, and possibly decades, away from having a fully explicated etiology and pathophysiology-based classification system for psychiatry.”(, First, pg2, ¶2)

So how are children and toddlers being diagnosed with mental illnesses? Although the DSM-IV manual lists a criteria for an adult with bi-polar disorder there isn’t one for young children or toddlers. I did come across articles about bi-polar in young children but none had a definitive criteria, just examples of types of behavior. I found this description on the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundations website. It states “ Diagnosis is made using the DSM-IV criteria, for which there is no lower age limit. However, it becomes more difficult to apply the DSM-IV criteria to very young children.” This article goes on to say “Symptoms of bipolar disorder can emerge as early as infancy. Mothers often report that children later diagnosed with the disorder were extremely difficult to settle and slept erratically. They seemed extraordinarily clingy, and from a very young age often had uncontrollable, seizure-like tantrums or rages out of proportion to any event. The word "no" often triggered these rages. I’m no psychiatrist but these behaviors sure sound a lot like my two baby cousins. My Grandmother calls it the Terrible Twos. I decided to do a search on the symptoms of the Terrible Twos and this is what I found in an article written by Dr. Vincent Iannelli. Dr. Iannelli says the Terrible Twos can start anytime from age one on. He uses terms like moods swings and temper tantrums that include hitting and biting. The most important thing he says is that these behaviors are part of normal development. So it seems that the behaviors of toddlers is described by one doctor as normal are being diagnosed as a mental illness by psychiatrists. ( Iannelli, pg1, ¶3)

So who would want to diagnose a normal stage of a toddler’s development as a mental illness? According to this article in The San Francisco Chronicle written by Dr. Lawrence Diller, M.D. titled “Are Our Leading Pediatricians Drug Industry Shills?” Dr. Diller writes that Dr. Joseph Biderman is one of the most influential doctors in the US when it comes to diagnosing children with Bi-polar disorder. Dr. Diller writes “Biederman and his team are more responsible than anyone for a child bipolar epidemic sweeping America (and no other country) that has 2-year-olds on three or four psychiatric drugs. The science of children's psychiatric medications is so primitive and Biderman's influence so great that when he merely mentions a drug during a presentation, tens of thousands of children within a year or two will end up taking that drug, or combination of drugs. This happens in the absence of a drug trial of any kind - instead, the decision is based upon word of mouth among the 7,000 child psychiatrists in America. That's why Iowa Senator Charles Grassley's recent revelation that Biderman did not declare $1.6 million in drug company consulting fees is so important, scary and tragic. If true, this scandal is yet one more stake in the heart of American academic medicine's credibility with frontline doctors.” (

Considering the fact that these drugs have never been approved by the FDA for children or teens, the use of these drugs in children and teens for psychiatric problems appears to be nothing more than an experiment. Since the psychiatric diagnoses themselves appear have no science to back them up, they are nothing more than theories. If the most influential psychiatrists are being paid by the pharmaceutical companies that make the drugs, it stands to reason that their motives are in question. After researching for this paper, I’ve come out with more questions than answers. I do know one thing, though. If I were a parent of a toddler or teen, I would need a lot more credible science to even consider putting my child on any of these drugs. It seems today that science just doesn’t exist.