Welcome to my blog, which speaks to parents, professionals who work with children, and policy makers. Through stories from my behavioral pediatrics practice (with details changed to protect privacy) I will show how contemporary research in child development can be applied to support parents in their efforts to facilitate their children’s healthy emotional development. I will address factors that converge to obstruct such support. These include limited access to quality mental health care, influences of a powerful health insurance industry and intensive marketing efforts by the pharmaceutical industry.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

ADHD treatment gone wrong: when prescriptions replace listening

Now that the letters to the editor in response to the New York Times article Drowned in a Stream of Prescriptions have been published, I am going to take advantage of this blog to publish mine.

There is one glaring error in the generally well-researched and deeply disturbing article Drowned in a Stream of Prescriptions. In a record review of Richard’s treatment the reporters found none of  “the more conventional talk-based therapies that experts generally consider an important component of A.D.H.D. treatment.” If only this were true. Just last week, AAP Smartbriefs, a review of newsworthy events in pediatrics, offered this headline Non-Drug ADHD Treatments Don't Pan Out in Study. The “psychological treatments” the study refers to are cognitive and behavioral training and neurofeedback. Talk-based therapy isn't even mentioned.
What is noticeably absent in Richard’s treatment is not talking, but listening. In the age of the 10-minute med check, there is no room for listening. If Richard was truly a well functioning person until mid-college, was his primary diagnosis schizophrenia? Was there some kind of trauma? In a world where ADHD is so quickly diagnosed, there was no time given to fully hear his story. That time that might have saved his life. 

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