What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: Are we over-medicating our children?

Harold Koplewicz: I think one of the great myths is that we are over-diagnosing and over-treating and over-medicating the children of America.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  While there’s tremendous increase in the identification of something like Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and therefore more children are able to get ahold of medication, the overwhelming majority do not get identified and don’t get treated.  

The good news is that these medicines have been available since the 1930s, no one has ever died of taking a psychostimulant like Adderall or Dexedrine or Ritalin. And more importantly, kids who get treated early are less likely to use illicit drugs than kids who don’t get treated or kids who get treated late when they have ADHD.  

And it makes perfect sense.  If you don’t diagnose and treat a real psychiatric illness and a kid feels demoralized and feels irritable and feels terrible about themselves and about their self-esteem, the psychiatric medicines don’t work, they start treating themselves with alcohol, with marijuana, with cocaine, with ecstasy, with illicit drugs, with cigarettes.  And so ignoring these disorders and worrying about the fact that we’re medicating too much... when in reality I think we need to get better at identifying kids when they’re in trouble, recognizing that these are not "feel good" medicines.  They have no street... I mean, take this pill, take this Prozac, you’ll feel better in six weeks.  You know, it has not street value—is really a problem and America has to get their head around the fact that psychiatric illness is real and at times needs not only real treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy or behavioral treatment or whether it’s remediation or accommodations for learning, but also needs medications at times.  

And with medication there’s always the risk of side-effects and the potential of a positive effect that at the end of the day will let a child or a teenager truly be able to live a full life, at work, at school, at play and in love, with friends and with their family.

Recorded  August 18, 2010

Interviewed by Max Miller

More from the Big Idea for Sunday, February 13 2011

 

We Aren't Over-Diagnosing O...

Newsletter: Share: