The Rights of Children and Parents Regarding Children Receiving Psychiatric Diagnoses and Drugs
Peter R. Breggin, MD, Children & Society, Volume 28, (2014) pp. 231-241
Peter R. Breggin, MD
Center for the Study of Empathic Therapy, Private Practice of Psychiatry. Ithaca, New York. USA
Based on the author's extensive clinical, forensic and research experience, this article addresses the
scientific and moral question of whether it is ever in the best interests of a child to be given a psychiatric drug. The focus is on the diagnosis Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and stimulant drugs, and on the diagnosis Bipolar Disorder and antipsychotic (neuroleptic) drugs. The conclusion is that we should work towards a prohibition against giving psychiatric drugs to children, and instead focus on safe and effective alternative ways of meeting the needs of children within their families, schools and society.
© 2014 John Wiley ft Sons Ltd and National Children's Bureau.
Keywords: children, mental health, rights.
Introduction: setting standards for the protection of children
This article deals with negative rights that is, the right to be free of certain kinds of interferences in one's life. In regard to children, these rights are protected by society, often regardless of parental wishes, such as legal prohibitions against physical or sexual abuse. In making judgments about children, this analysis will, like in the USA courts, rely upon the standard of the child's best interests (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2012; also see Gottstein, 2012), including the 'the physical, mental, emotional and moral well-being' of the child (FindLaw, undated: 1). However, I will argue that when it comes to the psychiatric drugging of children, which, I maintain, can be seen as a form of child abuse, this standard cannot be relied upon to protect children. Using the examples of stimulant drugs for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and antipsychotic drugs for Bipolar Disorder, I ask. 'Is it ever in a child's best interest to be psychiatrically diagnosed and medicated?' Read the full paper: The Rights of Children and Parents In Regard to Children Receiving Psychiatric Diagnoses and Drugs