Sunday, May 08, 2011

There should be concern if children are being prescribed medication as a quick fix.

As I mentioned in a previous post, reviewers have been critical of Richard Bentall's book Doctoring the mind for taking aim at child psychiatrists. They also suggest that he characterises psychologists as better educated and trained than psychiatrists to "understand people and the human experience and to provide healing therapy".

I'm not sure if this is the case, but I do know that psychiatrists are more likely to take a biomedical rather than biopsychological approach. I'm a member of both the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the British Psychological Society (see my talk Psychiatrists can have understanding too).

And, it's the British Psychological Society that has supported a call for a national review of the use of medication to treat children’s behavioural issues (see Treating children's behaviour). Peter Kinderman, Chair of the Division of Clinical Psychology, seems confident that psychiatry colleagues would be equally concerned if there is evidence of inappropriate use of drugs or medication.

I don't know how much these sort of reviews achieve. A previous technical report for MPs is a bit out of date now. Still Richard Bentall is concerned that there is inappropriate use of medication, whereas it seems Peter Kinderman would only be concerned if there was. Perhaps we do need an authorative view to let us know. And the reviewers criticised Richard for not providing a reference to back up his view, so he would at least then have one.

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