In July, the Washington Post reported that Corporate America is hoarding a record $1.8 trillion in cash while it waits for profit-making opportunities. At the same time, record numbers of American children are being prescribed toxic psychiatric drugs at earlier ages. These two facts are connected.
The corporate class steal trillions by exploiting workers at home and abroad, paying them less than their labor is worth, and by laying off workers and squeezing the rest to work harder and longer for less.
They also steal from our children.
Exploitation and deprivation cause parents to be distressed, discouraged, anxious, overwhelmed, and angry.
An estimated 15 million American children (one in five) live with an adult who suffered a major depression in the previous year. A report from the Urban Institute found that 7 percent of all 9-month-old infants live with severely depressed mothers, and 41 percent of 9-month-old infants live with mothers who suffer some form of depression. These rates are higher among mothers living in poverty, who are also more likely to suffer domestic violence.
Children respond to parental distress with symptoms and behaviors. The greater the parent’s distress, the greater the child’s distress.
Instead of demanding that the corporate ‘surplus’ be used to support families, the medical system labels distressed children with mental disorders and drugs them into submission.
For several decades, researchers Peter and Ginger Breggin have documented the shocking extent to which psychoactive drugs, including powerful ‘antipsychotics,’ are being prescribed to American children.
In adults, these drugs are known to increase the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, suicide, seizures, infection, kidney failure, nervous-system damage, and sudden death. The effects on children are unknown.
Last September, an FDA report found that the number of ‘antipsychotic’ prescriptions dispensed to children (0-17 years) had risen 22 percent over the previous 5 years.
The FDA examined 6 of these drugs: Seroquel® (quetiapine); Zyprexa® (olanzapine); Risperdal® (risperidone); Abilify® (aripiprazole); Geodon® (ziprasidone); and Invega® (paliperidone). Of the 32 million prescriptions dispensed for these drugs in 2008, 4.8 million were dispensed to children (15 percent of the total).
When we look at individuals, one million children were prescribed ‘antipsychotics” (19 percent of the total of 5.5 million individuals). Here are the numbers, by age group:
- 1,770 children aged 0-2
- 64,664 children aged 3-6
- 414,451 children aged 7-12
- 540,760 children aged 13-17
‘Diagnoses’ applied to the infants and toddlers (aged 0-2) included: Attention Deficit Disorder; Mental/Behavior Problems, Behavioral Problems; Other Emotional Disturbances, and Residual Schizophrenia, a diagnosis that can be made on the basis of “odd beliefs and unusual perceptual experiences.”
A more accurate diagnosis for these children’s symptoms and behaviors would be “Severe Parental Distress due to Heartless Capitalist Policies.”