Realizing that your child has a problem is scary. Learning your child is physically sick can be devastating, but discovering your child suffers from a mental disorder only adds another layer of anxiety. New diagnoses seem to come up weekly, and all the misinformation in the media about the medications used to treat mental disorders leaves many parents very confused. If you fall into this category, When Kids Need Meds by Henry A. Paul M.D. is for you. Written by a child and adolescent psychiatrist who has been in practice for over thirty years, the book address many of the questions, fears, and worries that revolve around giving children and teens medication for a diagnosed mental disorder.
Currently, at least fifteen million out of approximately seventy-five million young people in this country are thought to suffer from a bona fide mental disorder. In that number, about half suffer from a mental health disturbance that ranges from serious to extreme. It is therefore no surprise that there has been a tremendous increase in the use of psychotropic drugs—medications that seek to affect behavior, thinking, or emotions—over the last several decades.
Although it is difficult to quantify, Dr. Paul says the increase seems to be at least four or five-fold. Newspaper headlines describe the use of these drugs as an epidemic, and political candidates have promised to investigate the trend. However, while it is estimated that several million children and teens now take medication, people in the mental health field consider they represent only a small percentage of those who need it.
While good healthy debate helps us all, this subject has also attracted many who distort, exaggerate, and even invent stories. Dr. Paul’s participation on radio and television shows, in particular, sensitized him to the dangers of relying on sound-bite newscasts or talk show drama when it comes to terribly important topics.
When Kids Need Meds explains, in plain English, what mental disorders are, and what treatments are available, with a focus on psychotropic drugs, as that is where most of the controversy is centered. The information Dr. Paul provides is based on long, hard, everyday clinical experience. Differing points of view are presented and the sensational fallacies pointed out. You will not come away with absolute certainty about all aspects of giving children psychiatric medicine, but with an appreciation of all the work that has gone into understanding children’s problems, and the enormous strides that have been made toward finding real solutions. While far short of miracle cures, psychotropic medications are safe and save lives, families, and futures. It’s evident that Dr. Paul respects the need for sound information, informed reassurance, and ongoing guidance.
You can visit his website at http://www.whenkidsneedmeds.org