The topic was children's headaches, and featured two MD's, who first shared facts about children's headaches, and then discussed how parents of children suffering from headaches might proceed. Although I was surprised to learn just how common headaches are in children, the reason I felt compelled to write about this particular show, was that after explaining how rarely headaches are indicative of anything truly serious, they did mention that environmental triggers including specific things in the diet, can be a cause of headaches in children. But then, the doctors went on to caution against parents trying too hard to actually figure out what their child's triggers might be, for example keeping a log of what their child may have been doing, exposed to, or eaten as a way of figuring out what their child's triggers might be. They pointed out that doing this ran the risk of making the child see him or herself, as sickly and that would not be good for the child. Since we have good treatments for headaches (drugs) and it can be hard to pinpoint the triggers, many times it's better to just treat the headache (i.e. give your child drugs) so as to not pathologize the child by trying to figure out if anything that they have control over might prevent the headaches.
Really? And being a regular user of pharmaceuticals would be less likely to cause a child to see themselves as sickly?
As I heard them saying this, I found myself thinking back to the days when I worked in the pharmaceutical industry. I remember how I was trained and how I was instructed to bring information (that supported sales of Merck's products) to doctors and to frame things in ways that connected making their job easier with revenue for my company. I couldn't help but imagine these docs having been at some medical conference, where a charismatic, pharmaceutical sales person made the case to these docs about how harmful it could be to a child, for their parent to spend time and give them attention as they work together to take note of when headaches happen, and then record data about what they ate and did just before that -- while the alternative --giving a child a powerful pharmaceutical, would spare them this possible psychological trauma and so obviously be the better choice.
All drugs carry the possibility of side effects. Aspirin can cause bleeding from the gut, and if taken when incubating specific illnesses, can be deadly. Tylenol can impair kidney function -- and long before there is clear kidney disease, reduced kidney function may mean a person has increased exposure to environmental toxins that healthy kidneys would remove. (Perhaps increasing risk long term from these other toxins) These are but two very simple examples. But the other big issue for me -- regarding using drugs in children, is that it lays a foundation for children to use drugs -- it starts with a pill for every ill, but also makes the possibility of using drugs recreationally when they get older more of a possibility. Of course if my child was in a lot of pain, I would do whatever I could to stop it...BUT I would first consider options that, "Do no harm."
Doctors who believe that giving a child a drug is better for them than helping them learn how to take charge of their own health and find and eliminate the cause of whatever is making them suffer have obviously drank the big-pharma Kool-aide.
Raising children to be wary of all drugs -- right from the start is one of the best things we can do to protect their health. Not just because even the most common and presumably "safe" drugs used correctly can still have adverse effects (with new dangers coming to light all the time) but also because this is one of the most important was for parents to lay a GENUINE foundation for drug resistance before they become teenagers.