Are We Overmedicating our Children?

I’m not a big fan of medications, at least those that treat symptoms rather than the cause.  I can understand taking medications for things like high blood pressure, cholesterol, heart conditions, etc. that you use to get things under control, but when you cover up a symptom, you’re usually not treating the root cause.

For instance, get on cholesterol reducing medication if you need it, but be sure you also watch what you eat.  Take blood pressure lowing medication, but also go out and exercise.  I’m always troubled by the mentality that just by popping a pill things are all better.

In America, I think we live in a highly medicated society.  Growing up I was told I had ADD/HD and I had to take Ritalin.  I still think I was just bored in school.  Feeding a kid a form of speed in order to make things seem more interesting isn’t my idea of treating the root cause, maybe there problem is that school really is boring?

There is an interesting post on a blog over at Vox, it rambles a bit, but definitely gets the point across that we do live is a society that overmedicates.

So it wasn’t really a surprise when I saw an article from the Washington Post,because most people seem to be under the impression if a little medication is good, then a lot of medication must be better.  Some of the text of the article is as follows:

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson on Thursday voluntarily recalled certain infant cough and cold products, citing “rare” instances of misuse leading to overdoses.

In a statement, J&J’s McNeil-PPC unit cited “rare instances of misuse”, which could lead to overdoses “particularly in infants under two years of age.”

The products being recalled include:

  • infants’ Tylenol Drops Plus Cold;
  • Concentrated Infants’ Tylenol Drops Plus Cold & Cough;
  • Pediacare Infant Drops Decongestant;
  • Pediacare Infant Drops Decongestant & Cough;
  • Pediacare Infant Dropper Decongestant;
  • Pediacare Infant Dropper Long-Acting Cough;
  • Pediacare Infant Dropper Decongestant & Cough (PE) products.

And when I think about it, when I was sick with a cold or a cough, I usually got tea with a bit of honey to soothe the throat.  But here’s the thing to remember – If you or your child is sick, your body will react in the way it best knows how to fight off the sickness.  Most medications will not “cure” sickness, but just mask them.  Sometimes it’s best to let nature run its course.

Granted, there is a time a place for medications.  But when we’ve gotten to the point where we have “anti-bacterial” everything (including counter-tops, soap, and athletic socks) and we’re at a point where the wonder drugs like penicillin are becoming ineffective against bacterial infections today, I just have to wonder if we’re heading to disaster in the form of a super-bug that’s developed resistance to all of our medical arsenal.

3 thoughts on “Are We Overmedicating our Children?”

  1. thanks for the comments on my blog…yes, I think it does have to do with the whole little is good more is better attitude. Its so silly in my opinion…but anyway…

    There are superbugs already forming. Working at a nursing home, we were educated on MRSA, a superbug of sorts, that was HIGHLY resistant to any antibiotics. This is also found in hospitals. Its scary scary stuff.

  2. Yes I heard this story on NPR a few days back. I too think nature will take its course in most instances and the symptoms appear as part of the body’s natural defenses. We are a country that loves its medicine becuase we have lost touch with ourselves and put faith in the pharmeceudicals. The problem with that of course is that these companies exist to make money and health is of a secondary concern.

  3. I’m glad to see it’s finally getting media attention. It has actually been a problem for a long time. People have become accustomed to “easy” solutions. Reminds me of a cartoon I once saw, where a man sitting on the examination table says to the doctor, “I didn’t come to have you tell me to stop burning the candle at both ends. I came for more candle.”

    People want pills to make things better because that’s easier than admitting that our schools may be boring, or diets may be dreadful, and sitting in front of the TV for endless hours may not be beneficial.

    Not that all medicine is bad, but we take way too much of it and often for the wrong things. Take vitamin C and chicken soup for a cold, not antibiotics. Save those for the big battles.

    Anyway, glad to know that common sense is popping up, even if just in a few places.

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