Welcome to Childhood Made Crazy, an interview series that takes a critical look at the current “mental disorders of childhood” model. This series is comprised of interviews with practitioners, parents, and other children’s advocates as well as pieces that investigate fundamental questions in the mental health field. Visit the following page to learn more about the series, to see which interviews are coming, and to learn about the topics under discussion:
Rossa Forbes is a blogger with an upbeat and decidedly offbeat mom’s perspective on the journey of schizophrenia. Her memoir, The Scenic Route: A Way through Madness will be published early next year by Inspired Creations LLC.
EM: How would you suggest a parent think about being told that his or her child meets the criteria for a mental disorder and ought to go on one or more psychiatric medication for his or her diagnosed mental disorder or mental illness?
RF: Before going down that road I would insist that the doctor conduct a thorough medical history to assess whether there is an underlying medical condition, e.g. Lyme disease, brain tumor, or an autoimmune condition.
As it is only quite recently (2007) that the link between psychosis and an autoimmune disorder called anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis has been made, it is possible that researchers are already identifying other antibodies in the blood and spinal fluid with links to psychosis.
Do keep in mind that doctors know very little about how the drugs work or what causes mental illness. The word “medication” (as opposed to “drug”) implies the presence of a disease state that can be successfully treated pharmaceutically. As schizophrenia (the mental illness with which I’m most familiar) is considered by the medical profession to be incurable, in the same way that they consider most mental illnesses incurable, this negates the idea that a medication exists that can treat it.
The drugs are actually major tranquillizers and they are generally effective at dampening psychosis –masking it, not getting rid of it. In the process, these drugs make the person sluggish and prone to weight gain and other side effects.
I know from experience, how hard it is to manage “schizophrenia” without resorting to a prescription drug. I do think it is possible, but I think most parents initially are not in any way familiar with how to do this. Acquiring this knowledge may take years of trial and error, although there are online courses that are beginning to teach these skills.
Read the rest of the interview here