4 things to know before you give psychiatric medicines to your teen

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The girl was hardly 18 years. She looked extremely beautiful. She approached me in the break and said, “Ma’am, I want my parents to trust me. They kill me with their watchfulness.”

“That must be frustrating indeed!” I encouraged her gently to speak further.

“Yes. I loved a man and it didn’t sit well with them. So they broke us up. But since I was overly emotional, they took me to a psychiatrist.  I take now an anti-depressant, a tranquilizer, another two medicines that are supposed to bring down my violence. I feel so dull all the time.”

I was so shocked. Here is a girl, not yet out of her teens, and she is medicated because the parents want her to forget her boy friend?!

“Oh ma’am, I wish my parents can understand that the drugs are messing up with me. I fight not to have those medicines every single day. But my mother cries every time, my father throws up a tantrum and they emotionally blackmail me. I end up having those tablets even though I realize that they totally screw up my system.”

Now this is NOT the first time I have heard a story like this from a teenager. Sometimes they tell me about how the parent medicated them for problems like lack of concentration, anger issues, bad friends, love issues, sibling rivalry, over excitement and so on.

These stories never cease to horrify me beyond my wits. What are these parents thinking? That brain medicines are harmless peppermints?

Unless your teen has a genetic issue of psychiatric problems, diagnosed with serious mental illness like schizophrenia, you should never ever bring a psychiatric medication within a mile radius.

here is why you shouldn’t ever expose them to even a  harmless sleeping pill.

  1. Brain medicines interfere with the development of the brain:

Your teen’s brain is still developing furiously. Various areas of the brain like the pre-frontal cortex, responsible for decision making,  are not developed until age 20. And interfering in this process with external chemicals stunts the development and has life-long consequences.

  1. Brain Medicines Create lifelong dependency:

Since an extremely sensitive equilibrium is maintained within the brain in terms of its chemical composition, introducing an external chemical during the formative stage, makes addictive patterns in the neuro-transmitter path ways. Once addicted, these drugs create a life long dependency and have  long term side effects some of which are really serious.

  1. Brain medicines hinders normal life:

These drugs, as a rule, bring about a lethargy in learning as well as all aspects of life which can be highly dangerous to a developing teen. The feel the need to just stay in the haze created by the drowsiness of these tranquilizers.

  1. The social trauma is too huge:

Teens thrive with the belongingness to the ‘gang’. And the stigma of taking a psychiatric pill can be really stressful on the mind, and strike at the core of their identity. In unavoidable cases like bi-polar or schezophrenia, one has no choice. But for heaven’s sake,  a concentration problem or a love failure definitely doesn’t need medication by any stretch of imagination.

During teen age, emotional upheavals are quite the norm. What your teen needs is correct guidance from a mentor, or courses that focus on emotional intelligence. Not medication. Please don’t screw up their life with all your good intentions.

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