Cover image for Should I medicate my child? : sane solutions for troubled kids with, and without, psychiatric drugs
Should I medicate my child? : sane solutions for troubled kids with, and without, psychiatric drugs
Diller, Lawrence H.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xi, 243 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RJ504.7 .D54 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



When Running on Ritalin was published in 1998 it touched off a firestorm about treating children with psychiatric drugs. Dr. Lawrence Diller established himself as the leading expert on the controversial use of stimulants for attention deficit disorder. Since then, parents, physicians, teachers and psychologists, have clamored for his expertise on psychological problems beyond ADD and on drugs beyond Ritalin. More and more parents are asking the simple question: Should I medicate my child?The answer is not as simple as some "experts" say. Children who are angry, intense, distractible, over-energetic, obsessive, shy, listless, or remote rarely benefit from an either/or strategy. Unlike those with a strong pro- or anti-drug agenda, Dr. Diller advocates a balanced approach; he shows how a wise pediatrician--one who prescribes drugs but also urges non-pharmaceutical interventions when possible--makes decisions. Should I Medicate My Child? empowers parents to ask the same questions Dr. Diller poses in diagnosis and treatment: Have all non-drug approaches been tried? Is the diagnosis accurate? What's known (or unknown) about the recommended drug?Calmly comforting, authoritative, and illustrated with real-life examples, Should I Medicate My Child? is essential reading for parents who have been told their preschooler should be "tested" for a disorder, whose fifth-grader has been prescribed Prozac or Depakote, or whose teenager has been diagnosed with a "chemical imbalance." Should I Medicate My Child? features a detailed, easy-to-access Appendix of Frequently Prescribed Drugs--what they do, side effects, dosages, and more. Should I Medicate My Child? answers parents' vital questions: * Is it fair to discipline my hyperactive child if he can't help himself when he misbehaves? Choosing the right kind of discipline is essential. Often the time-honored "time-out" is not the best choice. * The psychiatrist says the medication he's prescribing is "safe." How can I know if that's true? Dr. Diller's detailed Appendix includes little-known information on how (or if) a drug has actually been tested on children. * Does it make good sense to use medication right away? Dr. Diller explains why this can sometimes be the best course of action. * My pediatrician says there are drugs that will help my shy six year old be more outgoing. Is this true? Prescribing drugs for withdrawn children is a risky business. Dr. Diller explains why and offers alternatives to help ease their distress.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Behavioral pediatrician and family therapist Diller (Running on Ritalin) presents a thoughtful and balanced discussion of the use of psychiatric medications for adolescents and children. His position is middle of the road. Medication alone doesn't solve a child's behavioral problems, he argues, and therapy and changes in discipline at school and at home sometimes can be enough in themselves. On the other hand, medication can offer some immediate relief and assist in otherwise overwhelming situations. Diller purports to cover all kinds of childhood concerns, from hyperactivity to depression and autism, but the bulk of the book deals with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with other problems dealt with rather cursorily in appended chapters. This won't give parents all they need to know on ADHD-for that, Russell Barkley's Taking Charge of ADHD is a good, basic title-or any other childhood emotional disorder, but it is a good addition to a well-stocked parenting collection in medium and large public libraries.-Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Parents of children with emotional or behavioral problems who ask the title's question will find within guidance in finding the correct answer. Noted behavioral pediatrician and family therapist Diller devotes a chapter to a discussion of each of eight questions that he feels parents should seek answers to before deciding whether medication is the proper treatment for children with such problems. He takes a neutral approach, advocating a thorough evaluation that includes physician, parents, child, teachers, and any immediate family members, exploring all possible behavior modifications before considering medication. His approach is based on the belief that too often such behavioral and emotional problems are judged to be medical problems correctable only and most readily with medication. Others have reached the same conclusion: see David B. Stein's Ritalin Is Not the Answer (CH, Oct'99), Richard DeGrandpre's Ritalin Nation (CH, Jul'99), and Peter R. Breggin's Talking Back to Ritalin (CH, Feb'02). The work includes a useful guide to the psychiatric drugs most commonly prescribed for children and three chapters on help for children with specific problems. All levels. R. S. Kowalczyk formerly, Ferris State University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Part 1 Eight Questions to Ask Yourself Before Accepting or Rejecting Medicationp. 1
1 Weighing Your Optionsp. 3
2 Does Your Child Have a Disorder?p. 15
3 Has Your Child Received a Complete and Ethical Evaluation?p. 33
4 When Time-Outs Don't Work: Have You Tried These Strategies for Effective Discipline?p. 57
5 Beating Mrs. Bossy and Defeating Darth Vader: Can You Externalize the Problem?p. 79
6 How Can Teachers and Schools Help?p. 91
7 When Is Enough Enough?p. 111
8 How Will the Medication Affect Your Child?p. 119
9 What If Your Child Can't Swallow the Pill? (And Other Questions About Day-to-Day Life with Psychiatric Drugs)p. 153
Part 2 Specific Help for Specific Problemsp. 169
10 Intense, Distractible, Energetic, Angry: Kids Who Act Outp. 171
11 Shy, Sensitive, Fearful: Kids Who Act Inp. 185
12 Kids Who Don't Connect with Othersp. 197
Part 3 Beyond Diagnosis and Drugsp. 213
13 Toward a Moral Treatment of Behavior Problems in Childrenp. 215
A Quick Guide to the Psychiatric Drugs Most Commonly Prescribed for Childrenp. 223
Indexp. 235
About the Authorp. 243