Mad in America’s Family Resources section provides information and resources for parents and other family members who wish to explore alternatives to conventional, drug-based psychiatric care for their relatives— especially children of all ages. Our mission becomes all the more urgent at a time when prescription rates for psychiatric drugs for children and adolescents are on the rise globally, particularly in the United States. Meanwhile, the effects of these powerful substances on the developing brain are under-researched. What we do know isn’t encouraging. For example:
- Longer-term studies of children given a diagnostic label of ADHD have found worse outcomes for medicated youth.
- A large study from the National Institute of Mental Health concluded that few youth “benefit long-term” from antipsychotics (neuroleptic drugs prescribed for psychosis and mood disorders, as well as “off label” for other diagnoses).
- Research shows that the use of marijuana, stimulants, and antidepressants increases the risk that a youth will receive a diagnostic label of bipolar disorder.
This information is important to consider when considering whether your loved one should take or discontinue these drugs, but is often not offered (or even known) by most care providers. To assist with this process, Mad in America has summarized the research on the use of both psychiatric drugs and alternatives in children and youth (see links below). We are also co-sponsoring a Town Hall on the topic.
An Important Event
Next week, Mad in America—along with the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry, the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal, and A Disorder4Everyone—will bring together four international experts to outline the extent of the problem and discuss solutions. This event will be the fourth in a series of live, online Town Hall discussions focusing on issues related to psychiatric drug withdrawal.
When: August 13 at 12 pm EDT
Where: Online. You can register here.
As always, the Town Hall will feature a panel comprising a mix of professionals and people with lived experience. Following the discussion, there will be an opportunity for viewer questions.
Laura Delano is a former psychiatric patient and the founder and Executive Director of Inner Compass Initiative, a non-profit organization that helps people make more informed choices about psychiatric drugs and diagnoses.
Mo Therese Hannah, PhD
Mo Hannah is a New York State licensed psychologist, a Professor of Psychology at Siena College in Loudonville, New York, and a practicing psychotherapist. She specializes in grief therapy, relationship therapy, traumatic stress, grief, and protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome. (Listen to an MIA Radio interview about her own family’s experience with psychiatric drugs here.)
Elia Abi-Jaoude is a psychiatrist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto. He works mainly with children, adolescents, and their families. He is particularly interested in how social factors influence how we view the experiences of youth.
Sami Timimi, MD
Sami Timimi is a UK-based child and adolescent psychiatrist who writes from a critical psychiatry perspective. He is the author of over 130 published articles, dozens of chapters, and co-author of 12 books. His latest book, Insane Medicine, is available in serialized form on the Mad in America website.
Host: John Read
John Read is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of East London. He has published over 150 research papers, primarily on the relationship between adverse life events and psychosis. John is Chair of the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal.
IIPDW Administrator Lucy Fernandes will moderate the chat and MIA’S James Moore is technical advisor.
Please join us! In the meantime, you can explore MIA’s drug information resources:
Research on psychotropic drug use in children and adolescents:
- Stimulants for children with a diagnostic label of ADHD
- Antidepressants for children with a diagnostic label of depression/anxiety
- Antipsychotics (neuroleptics) for children with a diagnostic label of psychosis, bipolar disorder, and more
Research on non-drug treatments:
- Non-drug approaches for ADHD
- Non-drug approaches for depression
- Non-drug approaches for psychosis, bipolar disorder, and more
Information on withdrawal from psychiatric drugs
Directory of therapists/providers who support drug withdrawal.
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.