How Has Treatment for Mental Disorders Changed?

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It's nothing less than extra ordinary, the advances that we've made in the past 25 years. Traditionally, child analysis in psychiatrists were people who just we're able to play and listen to kids and today because of pediatric psychopharmacology because of behavioral but most importantly evidence-based interventions, we are able to change kids' lives and in some way, save kids' lives, the way my colleagues cardiology and neurosurgery have been doing for a decade.

Pediatric psychomacology has truly been a remarkable intervention for children who have specific disorders, so we know that for children who have ADHD the only effective treatment, you're in and you're out 250 studies later has been that psycho-stimulant is an excellent treatment and that's really dexedrine and the derivatives and the new versions of those medications.

They're not cures, they're treatments, very much the same way that insulin is a treatment for diabetes. And so it's important to know that when you're on those medicines for 4 hours or 8 hours depending on how long they last, your attention span expands, your impulsivity decreases and your hyperactivity goes down.

You're never as "normal or average" as the average, typical kid, but you have significantly less symptoms and therefore you naturally are going to have an easier time paying attention to a baseball game, to a math lesson, to a conversation. And those medicines have truly been lifesavers for many kids.

The SSRIs are the other major breakthrough and so for those people who can remember back pre-Prozac years, we were stuck with medicines called tricyclics, Tofranil, Elavil and those medicines, while they're terrific for treating depression in adults were totally ineffective in treating depressions for adolescents and so, those new medicines have been really lifesavers for kids who have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, children who have Separation Anxiety Disorder, kids with generalizing anxiety disorder and I think most importantly kids without adolescent depression.

Those medicines not for a lifetime but those medicines for about a year in a kid's life and a low dose in most cases can really change the way their brain functions and the way they feel and the way they act.