Tonight at 9pm on BBC2, in America’s Medicated Kids, Louis Theroux takes a look takes a look the increasingly tendency in the US to medicate young children. He travels to the Western Psychiatric Institute in Pittsburgh which is described as a leading centre in in the treatment of children with psychiatric issues and he meets the children, families and doctors to explore the tendency to medicate children.
As the BBC site describing the programme states
Children who a few decades ago would have been written off as naughty, troubled, or delinquent are now being diagnosed instead: “ODD” for oppositional defiant disorder, “CD” for conduct disorder, “SAD” for social anxiety disorder, “GAD” for general anxiety disorder, and so on.
Critics of the phenomenon see it as rampant overmedication. Some call it “cosmetic psychopharmacology” or “steroids for the soul”. They say kids are being medicated in lieu of proper parenting – or that the diagnoses are being sought by “pushy parents” looking to give their kids a competitive edge – since some of the drugs have “performance enhancing” qualities.
… But while it is easy to make fun of many of the diagnoses – and understandable that we should be wary of the medications – it is clear that for many of these families the medications have been a lifeline.
I am rather fond of Theroux and his approach to documentary making so I’m quite looking forward to the programme and how he might present these issues which I think are ripe to be explored.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back with a review of it over the next couple of days..