America’s Medicated Kids

Jun 19, 2024 | Health, Videos

Parents in America are increasingly turning to psychoactive medication as a means of managing the challenging behaviour of their children, despite the fact that these drugs, and the diagnoses they are built upon, remain controversial. Louis Theroux’s documentary ‘America’s Medicated Kids’ examines this growing trend, taking viewers inside one of America’s leading psychiatric treatment centres for children in Pennsylvania.

The documentary focuses on two key families; Hugh and Jack’s. Hugh is a 10 year-old boy diagnosed with ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, Asperger’s syndrome and bipolar disorder. Louis spends time living with Hugh and his family to gain a better understanding of how medication can both help and hinder those it is prescribed to. Meanwhile six-year-old Jack has been excluded from school due to his explosive behaviour, and is now taking antidepressant medication for anxiety. 15-year-old Kaylee also features in the film, having been diagnosed with ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder; viewers get to see first-hand what life is like for her when she decides to take a day off her medication.

This thought-provoking documentary seeks answers on how much parents should rely on pharmaceutical treatments for their kids – even going so far as to ask if they have become an alternative form of parenting – rather than relying on traditional techniques of discipline. Through personal stories and interviews it examines questions surrounding diagnosis accuracy, the effects of overmedication, as well as ethical debates surrounding prescribing such powerful substances to children.

If you’re interested in gaining further insight into this complex subject then be sure to watch ‘America’s Medicated Kids’. It offers remarkable access into an often unseen world that will leave you questioning whether or not we have reached our tipping point when it comes to medicating our young people.

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David B