Thursday, November 09, 2006

Depression - It's Not Just for Grown-Ups Anymore

Mollie Murphy, a four-year-old girl in England, sad because she wasn't admitted to the same primary school as her friends from nursery, has been diagnosed by her family doctor as suffering from stress and depression and according to this Daily Mail opinion piece (HT: Psych Watch), her mother has been advised to put her on an antidepressant.

Jill Parkin, author of the Daily Mail article, expresses what I think is appropriate dismay over what little Mollie and children like her are learning and what it says about our culture:
...she's in danger of being taught a very dangerous lesson, before she can even read or write. It's a lesson that goes like this: Got a problem? Pop a pill. Finding life hard? Blame someone else.
Treating a little child with anti-depressants because she didn't get into the school she and her parents wanted is not just ridiculous and unnecessary, it is the most shocking example yet of a culture of dependency in which life's setbacks are not simply challenges to be confronted and overcome, but are medical conditions to be diagnosed and treated by 'professionals'.
I may not be a doctor, but this I can be sure of: little Mollie will get over her temporary sadness far faster without medical intervention. She needs a dose of good parenting and common sense, not Valium.
Mollie was alluded to this morning in a news segment Good Morning America ran on depression in infants (estimated as occurring in one in forty). ABC is also asking readers to vote on whether they would allow their baby to take antidepressants if doctors determined that he or she was depressed. After I voted a few minutes ago, 1,631 people had responded "Absolutely not. It's not safe," 315 replied "No. Babies can't be depressed," and 93 said "Yes. If the doctors thought it was safe then I'd be okay with it."

Two weeks ago I asked with tongue slightly in cheek, "
Can fruit-flavored, infant-formula antidepressants be too far off?" In light of the above, I'd like to ask a different question. How long will it take?


Anonymous said...

I just found your site linked on another page. Glad to find your blog, I look forward to reading your thoughts. thanks.

KP said...

Welcome, Mike and thanks for introducing yourself. I'm glad to have you as a reader.