Monday, December 8, 2008

you gotta wonder.

I've always been kind of annoyed that I was born when I was. So many things in my life could have gone so much better if I'd made my debut in the late '70s, say. But, wasn't my call. :-)

One of the things that always bugs me, though, is the lack of long-term drug studies. I've had various health problems throughout my life. I've been on something like 35 of the top 50 psych meds, some for years and years, since the late 1990s. Most of them have only existed since 1980. More and more evidence comes out every day about Big Pharma buying positive results for clinical trials. Meanwhile, it doesn't appear that I'm ever getting off these things. When I'm 70, am I going to have 3 heads and 5 eyes because there isn't enough solid science to prove their safety?

This comes up because I just read something else about kids on antiseizure meds. I was on one of those from infanthood to age 18. My last seizure was at age 6, but I was kept on the med.

Round about age 22, I saw a little brief in the newspaper saying, "Oh, you shouldn't give phenobarbital (what I was on all those years) to anyone under 18 -- it can lower IQ 30 to 40 points and cause learning disabilities."

Huh.

It took till I was 31 and could afford to pay for my own assessment to get anyone to believe me that I REALLY. DIDN'T. GET. math, I really wasn't just lazy or stubborn. But I have vivid memories of being frustrated as hell as early as first grade with trying to make sense of math. (See? 1st grade in 1971 = Dark Ages in terms of recognizing LDs and knowing how to work with them.)

(BTW, the ed psych who did 4 weeks of tests on me said he'd never seen anyone of normal intelligence with such a large gap between their math and verbal abilities.)

Just now I saw something saying that kids who become seizure-free after a course of antiseizure meds should be taken off them. Most outgrow the disorder (I did). Those who don't are like 5% of the population. Those who go off the meds and have another seizure can go back on, for a limited time, and then try to go off again. And then they don't risk ending up permanently stupid -- or with 3 heads and 5 eyes.

Doctors need to think about this stuff before they just go willy-nilly prescribing things for kids that might end up causing more problems than they solve.

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4 comments:

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

It makes me wonder, also, what the generation AFTER my kids will be like. It's not just the meds. It's the food additives we ingested and the air we breathed. It's the teaching styles we were subjected to. This is called PROGRESS. Remember that newspaper you saw in London - when people died of TEETH?

So I wonder how I'm ruining my children (besides the obvious one - the kid on Ritalin).

CAC said...

I hear ya. With the prevalence of significant health problems in our generation, I wonder about the food additives and pollution too -- and you do NOT want to get me started on the educational tactics we were subjected to!

I hope the generation after our kids will still have a planet to work with -- at this point, ya never know. :-\

Engineering Goddess said...

Gosh I never knew that. And I certainly don't remember you struggling in math - I DO remember that we both loved to WRITE (and draw pictures of Snoopy - LOL).

In our day it was the antiseizure med - today it's ADHD meds. I worry about that ALOT for my daughter.

I remember some kid at John Deimer and I can't remember if it was 3rd grade or if he was in our 5th grade class(Mikey?) that "flapped around the room" saying "eeeeeee". I look back and think that poor kid definitely needed some help.

CAC said...

Danny. Danny who wouldn't change out of his blue Star Trek shirt and flapped his arms and yelled "eeeeee" all the time. I felt bad for him, but I'm not sure if he'd been medicated if it would have been any better for him in the long run. Wonder what ever happened to him.

I'd be worried about the ADHD meds too, and little kids getting dx'd bipolar terrifies me. They can't even get it straight with gronwups.