Drugging Our Children: How Profiteers Are Pushing Antipsychotics on Our Youngest, and What We Can Do to Stop It

By Sharna Olfman; Brent Dean Robbins | Go to book overview

8
Strategic Family Therapy
as an Alternative
to Antipsychotics

George Stone

It is hard work to see what is in front of your nose.

—George Orwell

There has been a 1,000-fold increase in the number of American children labeled mentally ill since the first antipsychotic drugs were introduced in the 1950s. At that time, only 7,500 children were diagnosed as psychiatrically disturbed, and the newly minted antipsychotics were targeted to adult schizophrenics. Today, more than 8 million children have a psychiatric diagnosis, and antipsychotics have become a blockbuster drug for the treatment of a host of children’s behavioral issues. By 2008, antipsychotic drugs topped sales in all other categories because of skyrocketing prescriptions to children in spite of the fact that they are known to reduce quality of life and shorten life span. Furthermore, psychotherapy has been shown to be as effective for treating psychiatric disturbance as drugs in the short term and more effective in the long term.1 One measure of a society’s values is how it treats its most vulnerable members. The indiscriminate marketing of dangerous drugs for use with children in order to shore up the bottom line speaks to the primacy of corporate greed in American society.


THE MEDICALIZATION OF CHILDHOOD

In 1976, the late Henry Gadsden, then CEO of Merck Pharmaceuticals, gave a candid interview to Fortune magazine. Frustrated that

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