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Should we be medicating children's behaviour problems? Read our guest blogger Pat McFadden MP and join the conversation

(6 Posts)
ElenMumsnetBloggers (MNHQ) Tue 25-Oct-11 11:52:19

Is the medicalisation of childhood cause for concern? Should we be using drugs such as Ritalin to medicate children's behaviour problems? Our guest blogger and Labour MP Pat McFadden discusses the dangers of medicating behaviour problems, and explains why he thinks it's an issue worth debating in Parliament. Join the conversation started by Pat, and share your views.

patmcfadden Tue 25-Oct-11 12:35:47

Since I posted this earlier today the Government has announced £32million for child mental health therapy (just before today's debate on the subject...). If this is genuinely new money it is a welcome announcement because it is important that parents, healthcare and teaching professionals have access to a range of treatments provided locally. However I still believe that even with this new money we should have a review into the growth in the use of methylphenidate drugs to treat ADHD to see if we are responding to child behavioural problems in the best way we can.

SNM Tue 25-Oct-11 14:57:20

Sometimes it is not possible for a child to take advantage of talking therapies until their behaviour has been brought more under control with the help of medication. Often however, the talking therapies are not available. I have tried medication for my son and at first it helped. What REALLY helped was getting him into the right educational environment so that he does not need medication because the teachers are experts at teaching children like him (ASD). If you think there is too much prescribing, perhaps it is because the Child psychiatrist has little else at his disposal. Maybe this 'new' money if it is that, will help?

tallulah Tue 25-Oct-11 16:10:52

Of course there has been a huge increase in prescribing Ritalin since 1997. 1997 was the year ADHD first began to be talked about in the media. Prior to that it was more-or-less "unheard of", inasmuch as these poor kids were just labelled naughty.

The drugs aren't treating the child's behavioural problems, but the poor connections in his brain. The drugs enable the child to function. If Pat McFadden doesn't realise that then I wonder if he is the right person to be leading a review into the subject hmm

SallyDon Tue 25-Oct-11 19:45:17

I visited a paeditrician with my son who was 6 at the time and who had suffered early neglect and abuse. We were barely through the door before the doctor mentioned Ritalin. He then got angry with me when I said that I didn't think ADHD was the issue.
We have since had support in parenting our son in a different, more therapeutic way and it has made a huge difference. I am no expert in child mental health but I think the approach taken with our son was morally wrong.

SNM Wed 26-Oct-11 13:18:43

I've read the whole debate and written a blog post about it on my other blog for special needs,

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