Dr. Shannon discusses the warning signs of childhood psychological disorders and explains why medication is not always the best solution.
So some of the indicators would be poor sleep. If your child is having great difficulty falling asleep, waking with nightmares, not sleeping through the night – that’s one indicator.
If their energy is low and they are lethargic and they are not enthusiastic, happy and vital like a child should be, that’s a warning sign.
If they are having difficulty separating from you to go off to school, that can be a warning sign.
If there’s irritability, explosive temper, rage – those can be a warning sign.
If you see a sudden dramatic fall off in their school performance, if their grades go from As and Bs to Cs and Ds, then that can be an indicator.
So there are a variety of different indicators; some of this is going to be dependent on the child’s age and obviously their sex, but I think in general, if you see a significant change in these indicators, then that can be a sign that something is going on.
In the last 15 or 20 years we have seen a tripling or quadrupling in psychiatric medications for kids, and unfortunately this is in spite of evidence to show that, often times, this can be unsafe in some children.
And certainly the science proving its effectiveness is not where it needs to be, and I think finally we are reaching the point in integrative psychiatry where we have safe, natural tools that have been proven to be effective to offer as choices for parents that prefer a different approach.
About Dr. Scott Shannon, M.D.:
Dr. Scott Shannon, M.D., graduated from the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Following a psychiatric internship he worked for four years in rural Arizona as a general practitioner. Dr. Shannon then completed a psychiatric residency at a Columbia program in New York. After his child psychiatry fellowship at the University of New Mexico he moved to Colorado. His practice includes a wide variety of approaches including herbs, supplements, medications, nutrition, and acupuncture. Dr. Shannon served as the Principle Investigator on a recent research grant exploring the value of acupuncture in the nausea of chemotherapy.