The Medication Generation Grows Up
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About the author
Kaitlin Bell Barnett is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in numerous national and regional newspapers and magazines, including the Boston Globe, New York Observer, Atlanta-Journal Constitution, and Prevention. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband. This is her first book.
Over the last two decades, we have seen a dramatic spike in the number of young people taking psychiatric medication--but, despite a heated debate on the issue, we haven't heard directly from the "medicated kids" themselves. In Dosed, Kaitlin Bell Barnett, who was diagnosed with depression as a teenager, weaves together stories from members of this "medication generation, exploring their experiences at home, in school, and with the psychiatric profession. For many, taking meds has proved more complicated than merely popping a pill, as they try to parse their changing emotions, symptoms, side effects, and diagnoses without conclusive scientific research on how the drugs affect developing brains and bodies. While negotiating schoolwork, relationships, and the workplace, they also struggle to find the right drug, deal with breakdowns, decide whether they still need treatment at all--and, ultimately, make sense of their long-term relationship to psychotropic drugs.
The results of what one psychopharmacologist describes as a "giant, uncontrolled experiment" are just starting to trickle in. Barnett shows that a lack of ready answers and guidance has often proven extremely difficult for these young people as they transition from childhood to adolescence and now to adulthood. With its in-depth accounts of individual experiences combined with sociological and scientific context, Dosed provides a much-needed road map for patients, friends, parents, and those in the helping professions trying to navigate the complicated terrain of growing up on meds.
; April 2012
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Author: Kaitlin Bell Barnett
In the press
“Sensitive, provocative . . . Rais[es] questions that go far beyond abstract hand-wringing about overmedicated kids.” —Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe
“An insightful, timely analysis of an issue I have yet to see anyone confront head-on: the effects of psychotropics on the first generation raised on them from a young age. Dosed is a book that should be read by everyone concerned about quick fixes for complex problems.” —Lauren Slater, author of Opening Skinner’s Box
“Dosed is thoughtful, potent and overdue.” —Paula Span, contributor, the New York Times’ Science Times
“The implications of Barnett’s book are important and unnerving.” —Casey Schwartz, The Daily Beast
“[Dosed] is thoughtfully written, a wonderful presentation of the full range of the issues everyone should be thinking about when prescribing psychotropics to children and teens, and Kaitlin Bell Barnett does a commendable job of communicating her masterful understanding of a complex topic.” —Dinah Miller, MD, Clinical Psychiatry News
“The author’s clear rending of the tough questions surrounding this knotty topic should make it required reading for anyone touched by this issue.” —Kirkus Reviews
“[A] disturbing and often heartbreaking debut, journalist and blogger Barnett is...Cogent and thoughtful” —Publishers Weekly
“This nuanced examination of the effects of the increased use of medications to change behavior and mood in children, adolescents, and adults is a must-read for advocates and critics alike. Kaitlin Bell Barnett blends personal stories with historical perspective to paint a fascinating picture of how attitudes towards psychiatric disorders and treatment have changed in the United States over the past thirty years.”—Glen R. Elliott, emeritus professor of clinical psychiatry, the University of California, San Francisco; clinical professor (affiliated), the Stanford School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
“Dosed is a fascinating, well-researched, and very important book. After reading it, I hope that no parent, pediatrician or psychiatrist will give psychiatric medication to a child or adolescent without very careful consideration of the potential long-term consequences. Bell Barnett shows that these medications are often not a ‘quick fix,’ but rather have deep, lasting impact, not only on physical and emotional health, but also on a person’s core sense of self.”—Claudia M. Gold, MD, author of Keeping Your Child in Mind
"Like the other young adults she deftly portrays in a series of poignant narratives, Kaitlin Bell Barnett belongs to 'Generation Rx'—the children of the 1990s who were medicated with psychoactive drugs, and are now asking how those drugs shaped their identities. With wisdom, insight, and clear-eyed analysis, Dosed gives eloquent voice to this medicated generation, and poses tough questions—to parents, doctors, and society at large—about how we have treated our children, why, and at what cost."—Stephen S. Hall, author, Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience
From the Hardcover edition.