About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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November 27, 2006

Mental Illness in Our Troubled Children Grows

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Over the past month the NYTimes has published a series of important articles about the increasing number of children whose problems are diagnosed as serious mental disorders. At least six million American children have difficulties that are diagnosed as serious mental disorders, according to government surveys — a number that has tripled since the early 1990's.

The earlier articles examined one family’s experience and the uncertainty of diagnosis. Later articles look at the transition to adulthood, the role of parents and the marketing of drugs for children. I won't attempt to synthesize the articles here in blog format as it wouldn't do the exceptional journalism justice. Instead I recommend taking an hour of time next weekend to read all three articles in their entirety. They are sure to stir emotions and reactions in all of us.

Don't miss this multimedia graphic that shows different class of psychiatric medications and their use in children, click here.

Part 1: Living With Love, Chaos and Haley, By PAM BELLUCK -- The families of children diagnosed with mental disorders are often left on their own to sort through a cacophony of conflicting advice.

Part 2: What’s Wrong With a Child? Psychiatrists Often Disagree, By BENEDICT CAREY -- Increasing numbers of children are being treated for psychiatric problems, but naming those problems remains more an art than a science.

Part 3: Proof Is Scant on Psychiatric Drug Mix for Young, By Gardiner Harris -- I also recommend checking out the opinions printed in response to this article. You can also post your own opinions here.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Mental Health Issues


1. Kensai on December 2, 2006 7:46 AM writes...

Interesting stories.
Frankly, though, I believe many mental maladies are overdiagnosed. And we shouldn't have a pharmacological approach when there is space to try something behavioral-cognitive first.


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2. anon on January 11, 2007 5:58 PM writes...

i have watched the first video on the nyt site, and i am very concerned as the symptoms of anxiety, restlessness and feeling bad, needing constant reassurance etc sound exactly like what i have experienced as side-effects of the antipsychotic respiridone. Basically, i felt a whole lot worse on that stuff, which is why i no longer take it, no matter how ill i get. i can't comment on 'tourette's', but i really really would advise anyone not to give antipsychotics to a child. i wonder how aware the parents are of this as an issue? they won't hear it from a physician- remember, they don't have to take the drugs they prescribe. i can't watch anymore, it is bringing back too many bad memories of how antipsychotics made me feel.

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