When I started my training in psychiatry 45 years ago, the prevailing model for understanding mental disorders was broadly bio/psycho/social in the grand tradition of Pinel. When psychiatry is practiced well, it integrates insights from all the different ways of understanding human nature.
Patients come into doctors' offices asking for something they've seen on TV. Big pharma's advertising blitz, coupled with its aggressive marketing to physicians (who all too often are readily seduced to prescribe), results in the ever-increasing number of prescriptions offered to patients.
Medicine can do amazing things these days. Whether it's face transplants or new treatments for diabetes or curing many kinds of cancer, it can seem like medicine can do everything. But medicine can't -- and shouldn't -- do everything.
If you decompress, you become more efficient and less anxious, and you sleep better. Slowly integrating other healthy lifestyle choices such as exercise and good diet can help you rid yourself of the need for the high-performance cocktail.
Each child deserves a balanced, thorough evaluation that allows everyone involved to proceed in a thoughtful way. And even when ADHD medication is indicated, we need to remember that medication alone is never enough.
Public schools have essentially been turned into prisons with constant surveillance and harsh, often absurd zero tolerance policies towards drugs, alcohol, weapons, violence and other forms of misbehavior.
My brother Robert has been a patient in the NYC mental health systems for the past 46 years, and though outraged by Esmin Green's death, I'm not surprised -- people with mental illness remain the stepchildren of the medical system.