I was a little disturbed at the opening paragraph of this article about new proposed guidelines for prescribing antidepressants for preschoolers:
With the number of preschool-age children being prescribed stimulants, antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs on the rise, a group of researchers has suggested a standardized approach to treatment. (emphasis added)
On one hand, I can see the need for coming up with guidelines, as I imagine doctors have and use them from time to time. On the other hand, preschoolers? Psychiatric drugs? On the rise? Wow. And I don't think the laughably misnamed "New Freedom Commission on Mental Health" recommendations ever really took off. Imagine if that federally-funded, nationwide mental health screening of preschoolers ever came to pass? Talk about on the rise!
The concluding sentence:
The group encourages clinicians to conduct full assessments on children before, during and after medication is prescribed.
Well I should very well hope so! I hate that this sort of common sense approach to practicing medicine needs to be stated as an option, not a requirement. Certainly any doctor worth anything would be doing that anyhow. I should hope he would not need to be "encouraged."
So that's one thing I came across recently. Here's another: A 10 year old girl brought a steak knife to school! And for what evil purpose? Why, she was actually intending to cut her steak with it. The nerve! She is now facing felony charges.
"She did not use it inappropriately. She did not threaten anyone with it. She didn't pull it out and brandish it. Nothing of that nature," explained Marion County School Spokesman Kevin Christian, who added that it made no difference what the knife was being used for, they had no choice but to call police. (emphasis added)
Context, people! Oh, right. Context is unimportant. Also, it's too hard for many grown people since it requires firing up some neurons in the gray matter. Thinking! Try it!
In other news, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recently issued a new report with recommendations for handling childhood obesity. According to Weight of the Evidence, the recommendations include four "stages" of intervention (all emphasis added):
The first stage will be "Prevention Plus" through your doctors office. You'll now be expected to visit the doctors office for monitoring more frequently and ensure your child eats 5+ servings of fruits and vegetables daily, ideally eliminate sweetened beverages from your child's diet or limit to 1 per day, limit television time to less than 2-hours per day, make your child do physicial activity for 1+ hours per day, prepare meals at home, eat at the family table 5-6 times per week, have a "healthy" breakfast daily, and get the whole family on-board with the changes. You'll have 3-to-6 months for the doctor's office to see results, with visits scheduled to follow-up and monitor each month, and if no progress is noted, you and your child will be bumped to stage 2.
Stage 2 assumes you didn't do enough on your own, so now you and your family will be expected to follow a "structured" planned menu, reduce television time to less than 1 hour per day, engage in planned "supervised" physical activities and record what you are doing to prove you're complying with the recommendations and "achieving targeted behaviors"! If progress is not noted within three to six months, yup, you'll be bumped to stage 3.
In stage 3 you'll enjoy an intervention team (note sarcasm) that includes a behavior counselor (social worker, physcologist or other mental health provider), registered dietitian, exercise specialist and primary care provider, as well as weekly office visits to monitor progress in the "structured program in behavior modification" which will include, "at minimum", food monitoring, short-term diet and physical activity goal setting and "contingency management."
This "Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Intervention" now intensifies the urgency and seeks to maximize "behavior changes." That's because, if all this fails to result in progress and a reduction of BMI to the "healthy weight" category, they're going to pull out the big guns and take your child to stage 4 - the "Tertiary Care Intervention," which can include admission to a tertiary care facility for children as young as two, very low-calorie diets for children as young as two, medications for children as young as six, and/or bariatric surgery for children older than twelve.
And this is the scariest part of all:
. . . justification of the new guidelines in the opening sentences, "The majority of US youth are of healthy weight, but the majority of US adults are overweight or obese. Therefore, a major health challenge for most American children and adolescents is obesity prevention - today, and as they age into adulthood."
Obesity prevention by a structured mandate. They're really doing it for our own good, since most kids are healthy, but most adults are overweight. They're saving us from ourselves, see? "Participants" in the program must monitor and report such individual decisions as television watching time, and exercise type, and food consumed. The worst failures will result in children being removed from the home and put into a "tertiary care facility"--children as young as 2. And children who are not even overweight may be targeted simply because one or both parents are overweight.
No regard for rationality or individual choices or an attempt to educate people by appealing to their minds. The time for education in this matter has officially passed, I guess. It's time to mandate and control, since many people are making bad choices. We need to save them and their children from the consequences of these bad decisions and if we need to do it by weekly visits to a pediatrician and reports and supervised visits by a nutrition "team", then by God, let's do it. After all, it's for the children.
Arrrghh! How long? How long until my atheism is a "bad decision" and my children must be rescued from the consequences of growing up in an atheist household? How long until my decision not to push my child into reading at 5.5 is a "bad decision" and they'll take him and stick him in a school? How long until our decision not to hit our kids is determined to be ultimately detrimental? How long until every pregnant woman needs to report every single thing she eats to her OB, to make sure that the fetus is protected from potential bad decisions (as defined by a committee somewhere)? I know it sounds paranoid, but when I read things like this, it's hard not to follow the path of logical consequences of this kind of rationale.
I mean, sheesh, there was mandated exercise in Oceania, with people to monitor whether a person did it or not. Remember?