Letters to the Editor

Children and psychotropic drugs

Joelle Kendle struggles with the decision of whether her 6-year-old son, Matthias, should be prescribed an antipsychotic. Letter writers suggest alternatives to the trend where a rising number of American families are using multiple psychotropic drugs to temper their children’s troublesome behavior.
Joelle Kendle struggles with the decision of whether her 6-year-old son, Matthias, should be prescribed an antipsychotic. Letter writers suggest alternatives to the trend where a rising number of American families are using multiple psychotropic drugs to temper their children’s troublesome behavior. The New York Times

Alternatives to drugs

Re “One psychotropic drug or 2 for kids? Parents weigh risk, hope” (Page A1, Nov. 15): I appreciated the article by Alan Schwarz of The New York Times on the dilemma that parents face when their doctor prescribes multiple psychotropic drugs for controlling their child’s behavior. But the article did not describe effective alternative psychological treatments.

Intensive outpatient programs enable parents and their children to transform acting-out behaviors even when the behaviors are entrenched. Children can learn to connect to their feelings and express them appropriately; they can learn how to engage, relax and calm themselves; and they can develop compassion and the ability to relate to each other.

Parents can learn how to set boundaries and create meaningful rhythms in their family lives that support predictability and security. While psychotropic drugs can temporarily change brain chemistry or subdue a child chemically, no medication can teach skills. We know from research that gains made with psychotropic drugs are not sustained and relapse rates are high.

Ursula R. Stehle, Fair Oaks

Tired but happy kids

This dilemma reminds me of the old saying regarding the behavior of dogs: “A tired dog is a happy dog.”

Kids today could benefit from a lot of the old-time recreation of running and exploring, free from the specter of competition and over organization by adults. Kids these days are shortchanged in the physical play of childhood.

Rachel Johnson, Sacramento

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