In his book "Back to Normal", Enrico Gnaulati explores a topic which I'm sure many of us have pondered as parents. As a child psychologist himself, he has an inside glimpse of what is expected from doctors by the insurance industry and pharmaceutical companies.
Enrico cites lack of proper training and pressure for a quick fix as two sources of the confusion. Psychiatrists hand out the medication and psychologists do the counseling. They are generally not put together as a team. The first source of concern is usually a referral given by the teacher at school to have a child evaluated. The parents contact a psychiatrist who gives the medication prescription and the child is under control without further investigation as to what may be causing the behavior.
If a family is willing to stick it out, counseling over a long period of time may get to the root of the problem without the need for medication. In today's hurried lifestyle, parents are unable to take time off from work for a counseling session. Children are pushed into so much activity through the schools and extra-curricular activities that there is no time to talk.
I have thought of two other examples that were not mentioned in the book. The first is the possibility of a neurological or medical condition. Doctors usually hand out medication at the first mention of behavior and that's the end of it.
The second example was when my son was in fourth grade. The teacher advised me to have him assessed, stating that he was too pre-occupied with "Power Rangers". I was thinking, "Yeah, as is every other fourth grade boy who watches cartoons and before that it was" Ninja Turtles "and before that something else. Next year it will be the latest craze." At that time, the school also banned trading of "Pokemon" cards. That was the stupidest thing I've ever heard. It's a cartoon which now, no one even cares about.
Trying to be a responsible parent, I complied and made an appointment. I was upset when after going to the first appointment, the insurance company went bankrupt and I was turned over to collections for a $ 200.00 bill in which we did absolutely nothing but fill out the new patient paperwork. I later found out that if a school asks you to get evaluated, they have to pay for it.
Each family has to work through what is needed in their scenario. For some, it is a truly needed resource. However, before using medication as the first solution, do a little research and explore all the options.