[back] Bipolar disorder
Let's talk about bipolar disorder among kids. As one doctor said, that
used to be so rare as to be almost nonexistent. Now we're seeing it all
over. Bipolar is exploding among kids. Well, partly you could say that we're
just slapping that label on kids more often; but in fact, there is something
real going on. Here's what's happening. You take kids and put them on an
antidepressant -- which we never used to do -- or you put them on a
stimulant like Ritalin. Stimulants can cause mania; stimulants can cause
.....so the kid ends up with a drug-induced manic or psychotic episode. Once they have that, the doctor at the emergency room doesn't say, "Oh, he's suffering from a drug-induced episode." He says he's bipolar
they give him an antipsychotic drug; and now he's on a cocktail of drugs, and he's on a path to becoming disabled for life. That's an example of how we're absolutely making kids sick.
Ritalin is methylphenidate. Now methylphenidate affects the brain in exactly the same way as cocaine. They both block a molecule that is involved in the reuptake of dopamine.
So methylphenidate is very similar to cocaine. Now, one difference is whether you're snorting it or if it's in a pill. That partly changes how quickly it's metabolized. But still, it basically affects the brain in the same way. Now, methylphenidate was used in research studies to deliberately stir psychosis in schizophrenics. Because they knew that you could take a person with a tendency towards psychosis, give them methylphenidate, and cause psychosis. We also knew that amphetamines, like methylphenidate, could cause psychosis in people who had never been psychotic before.
So think about this. We're giving a drug to kids that is known to have the possibility of stirring psychosis. Now, the odd thing about methylphenidate and amphetamines is that, in kids, they sort of have a counterintuitive effect. What does speed do in adults? It makes them more jittery and hyperactive. For whatever reasons, in kids amphetamines will actually still their movements; it will actually keep them in their chairs and make them more focused. So you've got kids in boring schools. The boys are not paying attention and they're diagnosed with ADHD and put on a drug that is known to stir psychosis. The next thing you know, a fair number of them are not doing well by the time they're 15, 16, 17. Some of those kids talk about how when you're on these drugs for the long term, you start feeling like a zombie; you don't feel like yourself.
Millions of kids! Think about what we're doing. We're robbing kids of their right to be kids, their right to grow, their right to experience their full range of emotions, and their right to experience the world in its full hue of colors. That's what growing up is, that's what being alive is! And we're robbing kids of their right to be. It's so criminal. And we're talking about millions of kids who have been affected this way. There are some colleges where something like 40 to 50 percent of the kids arrive with a psychiatric prescription. Psychiatric Drugs: An Assault on the Human Condition Street Spirit Interview with Robert Whitaker