Musing alert ahead. I was reading a post earlier about a man whose daughter had temper/lack of discipline issues when she was young. Her behavior was unlike their other children and when someone first suggested ADHD, they dismissed the idea. Fast forward to age nine and a counselor did convince them of the diagnosis and the need for medication. However, it was an approach where different dosages were tried to find the minimal amount effective which also did not have side effects. In the early part of the post was the man’s initial belief that ADHD was too quickly diagnosed and most children could be managed with “better parenting”. This is not an uncommon reaction and as the mother, especially when I was a single mother, of a very active child – the one who didn’t sleep through the night until he was four years old – I have no doubt there were people who thought he, too, might be ADHD on at least some level. He was definitely a handful and there were plenty of rounds of tantrums, etc., but he did respond to actions and yes, that often included a swat or two across the bottom. (No more than that and never anywhere except his bottom, and I realize many will still disapprove). I do think medicating children is something that must be very carefully considered and other alternatives should be thoroughly explored first.
On the opposite end of the spectrum though is medicating the elderly, especially when they enter some kind of assisted living arrangement. As I discussed in the book, “Your Room at the End: Thoughts About Aging We’d Rather Avoid”, there is almost always some condition that can be medicated. Then if there is a side effect to one medication, there is one to offset that. Before you know it, the number of prescriptions have doubled or even tripled. I’m not against medications; I take one prescription for blood pressure and some over-the-counter supplements. I am very cautious though when it comes to immediately recommending continuing medications if other viable options are available.