Let’s say that your child is despondent. You might send your child down the road of mental disorder labeling and chemicals.
But surely there are other things you might also try, either instead of the label-and-chemical route or simultaneous with that route. You might investigate whether that despondency has something to do with diet and nutrients. You might wonder if it has something to do with family dynamics—for instance, that your mate bullies your child—and make an effort to improve the situation. You might wonder if it has something to do with an event that’s just transpired or is about to happen—say, the death of a pet or a pet’s impending euthanasia—and treat the situation as one of grief, educating yourself about what helps someone who is grieving. The list is very long as to how you might conceptualize the situation and what avenues you might try.
How can you know what’s making your child despondent before you do a little investigating? Do you feel sanguine that turning your child over to a mental health professional who only knows to go down the first route is everything that you can or should do? Doesn’t it make good sense to try to arrive at thoughtful answers to the thirty-one questions I’m posing this month? It is holding the bar too high to suppose that you will become some sort of expert in these matters since frankly, no one is. But I know that you agree that exploring additional avenues makes sense. The first steps might be making a nice, long list of the possible causes of whatever is ailing your child and then identifying something to try for each possible cause. Doesn’t that sound like important parental homework?
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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.