Read the “Mission Statement” of the organization “Mad in America” here: https://www.madinamerica.com/about-us/
Next, read this overview of ADHD treatments: https://www.madinamerica.com/adhd-info/
Finally, read this personal story, featured on their website, here: https://www.madinamerica.com/2019/06/letter-child-psychiatrist/
Individuals with mental health issues are often encouraged, and in some cases, threatened, into “medication compliance” to treat their diagnosed mental conditions. There is a growing movement of “individuals with lived experience” made up of what would traditionally be known as “patients with mental illness” who believe medication does more harm than good and they advocate for the right to refuse medication (as well as many other rights related to forced hospitalization and forced treatment). “Mad in America” is a leading group advocating other treatment approaches (besides medication) and highlighting the perceived harms of psychotropic mediation. After reading the sections above (and any other areas of the website of interest), answer the following questions.
In general, how do you reconcile the predominant perspective regarding psychotropic medication in the American medical establishment (i.e., pro-medication), as well as the data presented in your textbook, with what you read on this website? How do you explain both discrepancies in conclusions among these sources, as well as their general attitudes about medication?
Evaluate the credibility of the following sources – the individuals with first-hand experience taking these medications (“patients”), researchers conducting medication trials, spokespeople for the pharmaceutical companies, leaders of psychiatric associations which provide guidance and standards for providers, the creators of the website, and the textbook author? Make sure you discuss possible biases, expertise, motivation, and any other factors you consider relevant.
Was your opinion swayed, one way or the other, by anything you read on this website? Did you find any of the material you read more persuasive or compelling compared to other sources (such as the textbook), and if so, why? Did you find any of the website material overly biased or suspect?
In the ADHD Overview, the authors discuss informed consent in children who are to be treated with medication for ADHD. Do you think it is advisable to allow children to have a say in whether they take medication? What are the pros and cons of involving the child in his or her own treatment decisions? Do you foresee pushback about this proposition, and if so, from whom and why?
The authors mention briefly a “Bill of Rights” for children and adolescents. What elements or guidelines would you include in such a document? Would you include different rights based on age or developmental level, and if so which rights would be age-dependent and why? For more information on Mad in America see this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_in_America
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