email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
12 and HoldingA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Lethal InheritanceA Mother's Courage: Talking Back to AutismA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA Special EducationA Toss Of The DiceA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainABC of Eating DisordersADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your LifeADHD Grown UpADHD in the Schools: Assessment and Intervention StrategiesADHD NationAdolescence and Body ImageAdolescent DepressionAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAlpha GirlsAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAsperger Syndrome and Your ChildAsperger Syndrome, Adolescence, and IdentityAsperger's and GirlsAssessment of Childhood DisordersAttention Deficit DisorderAttention-Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderAutism - The Eighth Colour of the RainbowAutism and MeAutism's False ProphetsAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBeen There, Done That? DO THIS!Before I DieBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBipolar ChildrenBipolar Disorder in Childhood and Early AdolescenceBipolar DisordersBipolar KidsBlackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive DevelopmentBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoy AloneBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingBullying PreventionBut I Love HimCan't Eat, Won't EatCaring for a Child with AutismCatalystChild and Adolescent PsychiatryChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChild and Adolescent PsychopathologyChild NeuropsychologyChild Well-BeingChildren and SexualityChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren with Sexual Behavior ProblemsChildren, Sexuality and SexualizationChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneCommunication Issues In Autism And Asperger SyndromeConcepts of NormalityConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinConsuming KidsContesting ChildhoodCount Us InCrackedCrossesCutCyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy TeensDamageDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDisconnected KidsDoing SchoolDon't Bother Me Mom--I'm Learning!Don't Pick On MeDying to Be ThinEarly Intervention Programs and PoliciesEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismEight Stories UpElijah's CupEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEpilepticEthical Dilemmas in PediatricsEvery Girl Tells a StoryExiting NirvanaExploiting ChildhoodEye ContactFacing BipolarFamily HistoryFast GirlsForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillFrictionGirl CultureGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlhoodGirlWiseHandbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and AdolescentsHandbook of Preschool Mental HealthHealing ADDHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Hyperactive KidsHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHelping Students Overcome Depression and AnxietyHelping Teens Who CutHollow KidsHope's BoyHow Infants Know MindsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHurry Down SunshineI Am Not Joey PigzaIdentifying Hyperactive ChildrenIf Your Adolescent Has an Eating DisorderIn the Company of CraziesIncorporating Social Goals in the ClassroomIntegrated YogaIntrusive ParentingIssues for Families, Schools and CommunitiesJake RileyJoey Pigza Loses ControlJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKim: Empty InsideLearning and Behavior Problems in Asperger SyndromeLearning Disorders and Disorders of the Self in Children and AdolescentsLearning Outside the Lines Let Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLook Me in the EyeLoserLove and SexLove That DogMad at SchoolMaking ADD WorkMaking American BoysManicMastering Anger and AggressionMaverick MindMedicating ChildrenMind FieldsMind to MindMommy I'm Still in HereMore Than a LabelMy Flesh and BloodMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNew Look at ADHD: Inhibition, Time, and Self-ControlNo Child Left DifferentNo Two AlikeNon-Drug Treatments for ADHDNot Much Just Chillin'NurtureShockOdd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the WoodsOvercoming ADHDOvercoming School AnxietyParenting a Child Who Has Intense EmotionsParenting Children With ADHDParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeople with HyperactivityPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPlease Don't Label My ChildPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Problem GirlsPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy with Children and AdolescentsPurgeRaising a Moody ChildRaising BlazeRaising Generation RxRaising Resilient ChildrenReady or Not, Here Life ComesReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRemembering Our ChildhoodResilience in ChildrenRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRitalin NationRunning on RitalinRunning with ScissorsRutter's Child and Adolescent PsychiatrySeeing EzraSex and the American TeenagerSex, Therapy, and KidsSexting and Young PeopleSexual Teens, Sexual MediaShort Term 12Should I Medicate My Child?SmashedSnapshots of AutismSongs Without WordsSophie Spikey Has a Very Big ProblemSpeakStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStraight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for KidsStraight Talk about Psychological Testing for KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrange SonStudent DepressionSuicidal Behavior in Children and AdolescentsSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTemple GrandinThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Anti-Romantic ChildThe Bipolar ChildThe Boy Who Loved Too MuchThe Boy Who Loved WindowsThe Boy Who Was Raised as a DogThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully Action GuideThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Burn JournalsThe Color of AbsenceThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Evolution of ChildhoodThe Explosive ChildThe Eyes of van GoghThe Fasting GirlThe Field of the DogsThe Flight of a DoveThe Hidden Gifts of the Introverted ChildThe Horse BoyThe Identity TrapThe Inner World of a Suicidal YouthThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Kindness of StrangersThe Last Normal ChildThe Little MonsterThe Medicated ChildThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Nurture AssumptionThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe Other ParentThe Perversion of YouthThe Philosophy of AutismThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Ride TogetherThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Science of ADHDThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Survival Guide for Kids With LD*The Unhappy ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouThings Tom LikesThrough the Glass WallThumbsuckerTotally WiredTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreating ADHD and Comorbid DisordersTreatment of Childhood DisordersTwistedUnder the Wolf, Under the DogUnhappy TeenagersUnstrange MindsWastedWe've Got IssuesWeather Reports from the Autism FrontWhat about the KidsWhat in the World Are Your Kids Doing Online?What Works for Whom?What Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhat's Happening to Tom?When Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhose America?Why Don't Students Like SchoolWill's ChoiceWinnicott On the ChildWorried All the TimeYou Hear MeYoung Minds in Social WorldsYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
Dr. Timothy Wilens is an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and specializes in pediatric and adult psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Wilens has published prolifically on child and adolescent psychiatric issues. Straight talk about psychiatric medications for kids is divided into three parts. Part I, "What every parent should know about psychiatric medications for children", contains four chapters. This includes Chapter 3, "The diagnosis and treatment plan: laying out a strategy to help your child"; and Chapter 4, "Treatment and beyond: Collaborating in your child's ongoing care." Part II, "Common Childhood Psychiatric Disorders" contains seven chapters, including Chapter 5, "Attentional and Disruptive Behavioral Disorders"; Chapter 9, "Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders"; and Chapter 10, "Disorders of Known Medical and Neurological Origin".
Part III, "The Psychotropic Medications", contains seven chapters, including Chapter 12, "The Stimulants and Nonstimluants for ADHD"; Chapter 15, "The Anxiety-Breaking Medications"; and Chapter 16, "The Antihypertensives". The book also contains an Appendix, "Representative Medication Preparations and Sizes Used for the Treatment of Childhood Emotional and Behavioral Disorders". The Appendix contains a table with information on the generic and brand names of medication, along with each medication's dosages and form (i.e. tablets, skin patch). The appendix also has a "Medication Log", which provides spaces for the start/end date of a medication, the name of the medication, the daily dose, the response (ie. "good", "very good", "excellent"), the side effects experienced, and comments, such as "good school performance", "good behavior", and "attention problems". There is an example of a completed Medication Log, and a blank Log for photocopying.
The book also contains a Resources section. The information in this section is divided by disorders. In addition, there is a Bibliography, also divided by disorders. This creates more ease of use for parents discovering resources for their child's condition.
The book is written for parents of children who may be taking or are currently prescribed psychotropic medication. The book is written at a level that is understandable and respectful to parents. Even the chapter titles are written in user-friendly language. Instead of titling a chapter "Anxiolytic Medications", Wilens has titled it "The Anxiety-Breaking Medications". This gets the same point across without having to use a dictionary to find out what "anxiolytic" means. The book is written in second person, thus directly addressing the parents. This makes the book more personable and accessible.
In Chapter 3, "The Diagnosis and Treatment Plan: Laying out a strategy to help your child", Wilens writes, "You should agree to treatment only if you are satisfied that the practitioner understands your child and your concerns and has accurately assessed the problems" (p. 81). Wilens writes that "leaving your child untreated for a short period is unlikely to have any harmful effect" (p. 83, italics as per the book). Wilens' view that the parent is the expert on the child is empowering for the parents and helps them advocate for their child. Wilens recommends that parents speak with their child's doctor about their concerns, and also do some "independent research", such as obtaining information from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, contacting support groups, or the resources listed at the end of the book. Wilens writes that doing "independent research" results in one of three options: the doctor's recommendation is confirmed; the parents will find alternatives that can be discussed with the doctor; or the information will help the parents ask questions in order to gain more information from the doctor. Wilens presents questions that parents commonly ask, such as "When should we consider getting a second opinion?" (p. 84). In answering this question, Wilens writes that if a parent does seek a second opinion, the child should be reevaluated instead of having the second opinion doctor review the report from the first doctor.
Chapter 5, "Attentional and Disruptive Behavioral Disorders", Wilens discusses Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and Conduct Disorder (CD). Wilens describes the role of acetylcholine and nicotine in ADHD in a very understandable way. He also writes about the parts of the brain affected by ADHD, and the fact that brain activity and brain imaging is "not considered reliable or valid in diagnosing ADHD; nor are blood tests" (Wilens, p. 147). The chapter includes a table of medications prescribed for ADHD, ODD, and CD.
Chapter 9, "Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders", Wilens begins the chapter by defining psychosis, delusions, and hallucinations, and states that "your child should not be diagnosed as psychotic unless the boy or girl has either delusions or hallucinations" (Wilens, p. 183). Wilens also points out that children may not tell their parents about their delusions or hallucinations. Usually it is other severe behavior issues that first become apparent. The chapter includes table of medications prescribed for schizophrenia and psychotic disorders. The table not only lists atypical and older antipsychotics, but also lists medications that may be added to antipsychotics if there are mood swings, severe outburst, or anxiety present in addition to the psychotic disorder.
Chapter 16, "The Antihypertensives", discusses clonidine, guanfacine, and propranolol, medications which are used to treat high blood pressure in adults. However, they are also prescribed for ADHD, tic disorders, autism, and sleep difficulties. Wilens details each medication, providing the generic and brand names, dosages, and how the medication is available (tablets or patch). He also gives the possible side effects of the medications. Wilens also defines terms such as "adrenergic nervous system" in a way that is user-friendly and understandable.
Straight talk about psychiatric medications for kids is one of the definitive books on pediatric psychopharmacology. It is an additional bonus that it is written specifically for parents. Straight talk about psychiatric medications for kids is highly recommended for clinicians and parents alike.
© 2009 Stephanie Sarkis
Stephanie Sarkis PhD is the author of three books: 10 Simple Solutions to Adult ADD: How to Overcome Chronic Distraction & Accomplish Your Goals (2006); Making the Grade with ADD: A Student's Guide to Succeeding in College with Attention Deficit Disorder (2008); and ADD and Your Money: A Guide to Personal Finance for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (2009). Dr. Sarkis is a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) based in Boca Raton, Florida. She provides counseling and coaching to children and adults with ADHD/ADD. She is also an adjunct assistant professor in Counselor Education at Florida Atlantic University.