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The Last Normal Child: Essays on the Intersection of Kids, Culture, and Psychiatric Drugs

Overview

Behavioral-developmental pediatrician Lawrence Diller continues his investigation into the widespread use of psychiatric drugs for children in America, an investigation that began with his first book, Running on Ritalin. In this work at hand, Diller delves more deeply into the factors that drive the epidemic of children's psychiatric disorders and medication use today, questioning why these medications are being sought, and why Americans use more of these drugs with children ...

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Overview

Behavioral-developmental pediatrician Lawrence Diller continues his investigation into the widespread use of psychiatric drugs for children in America, an investigation that began with his first book, Running on Ritalin. In this work at hand, Diller delves more deeply into the factors that drive the epidemic of children's psychiatric disorders and medication use today, questioning why these medications are being sought, and why Americans use more of these drugs with children than is used in any other country in the world.

There is relentless pressure for performance and success on children as young as three, Diller acknowledges, but his analysis goes further, and his conclusion is both surprising and ironic. In the name of preserving children's self esteem, American society has become intolerant of minor differences in children's behavior and performance. We worry so much about how our children feel about themselves that struggles once within the realm of normal are now considered abnormal - indicative of a psychiatric or brain disorder, requiring diagnosis and treatment wth psychiatric drugs, often for years. The Last Normal Child also addresses the role of drug companies in the advertising and promotion of both disorders and drugs. The pharmaceutical industry has garnered incredible profits and power in influencing the way we view children today. Diller illustrates through vivid and poignant stories of real patients, how he, together with families, make informed decisions about using psychiatric drugs for children. Parents, educators, pediatric and mental health professionals will gain valuable insights, tips and tools for navigating what has become a truly perilous trip of childhood for children in America today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Last Normal Child, explores the root causes of the surge in psychiatric drug treatment for children and suggests different approaches."

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USA Today

"Diller has witnessed a dramatic change in the kinds of children who are brought to him for behavioural problems by their parents. He aims a great deal of his ire at Big Pharma itself, for pathologizing childhood before offering its E-Z solution. He cites TV ads in which parents, asked if their kids are having trouble with homework, are soothingly offered Ritalin as a solution."

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The Toronto Star

"The author is a behavioral-developmental pediatrician with over 20 years of experience in treating problems of behavior and learning in children at home and at school. His previous books on drug use include Running on Ritalin (1998) and Should I Medicate My Child? (CH, Oct'02). In this work he identifies and discusses problems associated with the increasingly widespread use of Ritalin--not only in children with suspected attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but also in young adults (primarily college-age students, before taking the SAT or other tests), and even in adults who wish to improve their intellectual performance. (The Ritalin production rate has increased an astounding 1,700 percent in the US in the last 15 years; the US consumes 80 percent of the world's Ritalin.) The well-written chapters are short essays, each reflecting the author's experiences. Readers will encounter no forced preaching; Diller lets his audience draw its own conclusions….Highly recommended. All levels."

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Choice

"The past few decades have seen both skyrocketing rates of children diagnosed with psychological disorders and a related rise in prescriptions for psychiatric drugs. In The Last Normal Child, Lawrence Diller offers a balanced perspective on these trends, focusing mostly on ADHD and its treatment by stimulant medications….[t]he humility found in the book's uncertainty is ultimately comforting in its own way, and is clearly the main reason that so many families continue coming to Diller for help."

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Metapsychology

"This text maintains the same high quality of the other volumes in this set and is very readable. Diller's writing style is informal and easy to digest. His many personal accounts dealing with the families of children diagnosed with ADHD give a fresh spin on academic work….[a]nyone with an ADHD child should read this text for the clarity it brings to bear on a somewhat complicated issue. Diller has done a wonderful job of explaining pharmacotherapy for children, and many people will benefit from reading about his experiences."

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PsycCRITIQUES

"It cannot be denied that Diller's essays provoke an existential itch….Diller has done us a favor in demonstrating how ADHD occupies a pregnant cultural moment through which psychiatrists will help define future conceptions of nothing less than what it means to be normal."

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Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275990961
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Series: Childhood in America Series
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 162
  • Sales rank: 548,232
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

LAWRENCE H. DILLER, M.D., is a pediatrician who specializes in child behavior and development.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I The influence of science, politics, money, and culture on psychiatric diagnosis and treatment of children in America 1
1 The last normal child : America's intolerance of diversity in children's performance and behavior 3
2 Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Ritalin 21
3 Gender, power, and ADHD 26
4 Science, ethics, and the psychosocial treatment of ADHD 31
5 When does a right become wrong? : unflagging accommodated SAT scores 37
Pt. II One pill makes you larger : stories from the real world of families coping with children's behavior and psychiatric drugs 49
6 Just say yes to Ritalin! 51
7 Ritalin works! : great? 58
8 Getting up to speed for the SAT 62
9 The invariant prescription redux : the key to effective parenting 67
10 In the valley of motivational fatigue - diagnosing ADHD in early adolescence 78
Pt. III Drug companies, academic medicine, and the way we treat children's problems in America today 87
11 Strattera, now playing everywhere 89
12 Galileo's grandmother : what happens when your life's work falls outside the demanded result 93
13 Fallout from pharma scandals : the loss of doctors' credibility 107
14 Successfully marketing incompetence : the triumph and tragedy of the therapy/pill culture 116
Professional and family factors : a personal postscript 122
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