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Dosed: The Medication Generation Grows Up Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; 1 edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807001341
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807001349
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #982,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

  • "The author's clear rendering of the tough questions surrounding this knotty topic should make it required reading for anyone touched by this issue." -Kirkus Reviews
  • "[A] disturbing and often heartbreaking debut...Cogent and thoughtful" -Publishers Weekly
  • "Quality food for thought for any family trying to decide how to treat a child with a psychiatric disorder." -Booklist


  • "[A] sensitive, provocative look at...the medication generation...Barnett's own experience lends authenticity and authority to her calls for better attention to the real needs of children and teenagers struggling to grow up whole." -The Boston Globe


  • "This conversation is long overdue...The implications of Barnett's bookare important and unnerving." -The Daily Beast


  • "Dosed should be required reading for all clinicians working with mentally ill children, as well as for their parents and other concerned participants in their lives." - The American Psychological Association, PsycCRITIQUES review
  • "Rarely has a book so thoroughly covered the territory of what it is like, from inside out, to be a medicated child." - Daniel Carlat, Director of The Pew Prescription Project, writing in Psychiatric Services


  • "An extremely well-researched and comprehensive overview of the past three decades of child psychiatry." -Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • "[Barnett] does an impressive job of going into depth on every issue one might consider when prescribing medications to children." -Clinical Psychiatry News


“The implications of Barnett’s book are important and unnerving.”— The Daily Beast 

“The author’s clear rending of the tough questions surrounding this knotty topic should make it required reading for anyone touched by this issue.”—Kirkus Reviews 

“[A] disturbing and often heartbreaking debut, journalist and blogger Barnett is...Cogent and thoughtful”—Publishers Weekly

“Kaitlin Bell Barnett’s debut is an insightful, timely analysis of an issue I have yet to see anyone confront head-on: the effects of psychotropics on a generation raised on them from a young age. Barnett takes on the topic with perspicacity and aplomb, making Dosed a book that should be read by everyone concerned about quick fixes for complex problems.”—Lauren Slater, author of Opening Skinner’s Box

“This nuanced examination of the effects of the increased use of medications to change behavior and mood in children, adolescents, and adults is a must-read for advocates and critics alike. Kaitlin Bell Barnett blends personal stories with historical perspective to paint a fascinating picture of how attitudes towards psychiatric disorders and treatment have changed in the United States over the past thirty years.”—Glen R. Elliott, emeritus professor of clinical psychiatry, the University of California, San Francisco; clinical professor (affiliated), the Stanford School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

“A skillful and knowledgeable storyteller, Kaitlin Bell Barnett uses young adult’s sagas of their childhood struggles with psychiatric diagnoses and drugs, her own included, to explore a fundamental question: What does it mean to grow up as ‘the medicated kid’? Dosed is thoughtful, potent and overdue.”—Paula Span, Contributor, the New York Times’ Science Times
 
Dosed is a fascinating, well-researched, and very important book. After reading it, I hope that no parent, pediatrician or psychiatrist will give psychiatric medication to a child or adolescent without very careful consideration of the potential long-term consequences. Bell Barnett shows that these medications are often not a ‘quick fix,’ but rather have deep, lasting impact, not only on physical and emotional health, but also on a person’s core sense of self.”—Claudia M. Gold, MD, author of Keeping Your Child in Mind

"Like the other young adults she deftly portrays in a series of poignant narratives, Kaitlin Bell Barnett belongs to 'Generation Rx'—the children of the 1990s who were medicated with psychoactive drugs, and are now asking how those drugs shaped their identities. With wisdom, insight, and clear-eyed analysis, Dosed gives eloquent voice to this medicated generation, and poses tough questions—to parents, doctors, and society at large—about how we have treated our children, why, and at what cost."—Stephen S. Hall, author, Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience

From the Inside Flap

Over the last two decades, we have seen a dramatic spike in young people taking psychiatric medication. As new drugs have come on the market and diagnoses have proliferated, prescriptions have increased many times over. The issue has sparked heated debates, with most arguments breaking down into predictable pro-med advocacy or anti-med jeremiads. Yet, we've heard little from the "medicated kids" themselves.

In Dosed, Kaitlin Bell Barnett, who began taking antidepressants as a teenager, takes a nuanced look at the issue as she weaves together stories from members of this "medication generation," exploring how drugs informed their experiences at home, in school, and with the mental health professions.

For many, taking meds has proved more complicated than merely popping a pill. The questions we all ask growing up--"Who am I?" and "What can I achieve?"--take on extra layers of complexity for kids who spend their formative years on medication. As Barnett shows, parents' fears that "labeling" kids will hurt their self-esteem means that many young children don't understand why they take pills at all, or what the drugs are supposed to accomplish. Teens must try to figure out whether intense emotions and risk-taking behaviors fall within the spectrum of normal adolescent angst, or whether they represent new symptoms or drug side effects. Young adults negotiate schoolwork, relationships, and the workplace, while struggling to find the right medication, dealing with breakdowns and relapses, and trying to decide whether they still need pharmaceutical treatment at all. And for some young people, what seemed like a quick fix turns into a saga of different diagnoses, symptoms, and a changing cocktail of medications.

The results of what one psychopharmacologist describes as a "giant, uncontrolled experiment" are just starting to trickle in. Barnett shows that a lack of ready answers and guidance has often proven extremely difficult for these young people as they transition from childhood to adolescence and now to adulthood. With its in-depth accounts of individual experiences combined with sociological and scientific context, Dosed provides a much-needed road map for patients, friends, parents, and those in the helping professions trying to navigate the complicated terrain of growing up on meds

More About the Author

Kaitlin Bell Barnett is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in numerous national and regional outlets, including Salon, the Boston Globe, the New York Observer, Parents, and Prevention. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband. This is her first book. You can find more information at www.rxdosed.com

Photo Credit: Nina Subin, 2012.

Customer Reviews

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The subject tends to be discussed in a generalizing and polemical way.
David Paulson
As a parent who has struggled with a child that does have some issues with mental illness this book hit home.
Dad of Divas
In addition, I YouTubed her, so as to be able to watch and listen to her speech and manner.
mark jabbour

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By David Paulson on April 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I attended a book reading at Book Court and purchased this book. I am not in the mental health profession and have no prior association with the writer.

I recommend this book highly. I have personal experience with this subject: two now grown-up kids using the class of drugs described in this book, one childhood friend who died of side-effects of anti-psychotic drugs, and I also swallow a Zoloft pill daily. If I had read this book before my kids started medication and therapy, the kids would have benefited, and I would have got a lot more out of my multi-hundred thousand dollar investment.

What did I like about this book? First, I admire the journalistic professionalism of the writer. She points out that too much of the discussion of this topic occurs in the abstract, and that drugs too easily become a metaphor for something else. The subject tends to be discussed in a generalizing and polemical way. The writer has avoided this pitfall completely. Her observations are grounded on a mastery of the professional literature, and on the personal experience of the writer and her interview subjects. It is a nuanced, well-rounded treatment of the subject, and the work offers some good practical suggestions to parents and professionals.

I hope people will read the book, but here are just some of the writer's observations that I found interesting:
- The writer talks about how important it is to explain the disorder and the treatment to the child, and how difficult it is to encourage children to take ownership of their own treatment. If this is not done correctly, the result is non-compliance or chaos (I've seen it).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dad of Divas TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a parent who has struggled with a child that does have some issues with mental illness this book hit home. The author brings to light some very valid arguments and concerns that my wife and I have struggled with when it came to whether or not to medicate our child. What I loved most about this book were the real life examples and stories of long time users of medication and what this has done for them (in the positive and negative) and how taking this medication has impacted their life. All of the children were now old enough to describe their feelings and thoughts on this which made the book even more compelling. I am now re-reading a few of these stories and I know that when I am done I plan to share this book with a clinical social worker that is our neighbor as she also works with kids in these types of situations and I know that she too will find this to be an interesting and informative read.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that works with medicated children, parents who have children who are medicated or are contemplating medication or others who work with children in many different ways!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mary Cool on May 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A really valuable book with a careful, balanced review of the pros and cons of life on meds. There's hardly any family out there, really, that hasn't been touched by mental illness, and having a book that deals head-on with the identity issues and coping strategies that result from growing up "medicated" is an amazing resource. The best parts of the book are the real-life journeys of child psych patients and how their experiences on meds have not only affected how they've thought about their lives, but even in some cases, impacted the efficacy of the medication. Also striking are the sections in which Ms. Bell Barnett discusses how children are often deeply and enduringly affected by how their parents and healthcare professionals explain their treatment to them --- moreover, children who don't receive a clear explanation about their condition are often at risk for self-modifying or abandoning their treatment altogether. For this reason alone, I think this book is a must-read for anyone who has, works with, or treats children taking pscyhotropics: the case studies will help you understand how young people process and make decisions about their medications --- for better or for worse --- and how talking with them about it openly can really be its own life-saving intervention.
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Format: Hardcover
DOSED is an excellent read for anyone interested in what "medicated kids" have to say rather than just their parents, docs, teachers or other people who so very often like to speak on their behalves. Kaitlin Bell Barnett makes excellent use of scientific research and other studies while seamlessly interweaving the stories of several real life "medicated kids", including herself in an un-selfconscious manner. Her subject is certainly territory that needs to be further explored, and Dosed is a good beginning to what I hope will be both more scientific and more practical writing by and about mental health consumers themselves.
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By MLG on June 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
as a practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist over the time period of which Ms Barnett writes, I find her work to explore a number of issues which are thought-provoking to those of us in the field. a number of her concepts are, however, overly simplistic to factually inaccurate--her work would have benefitted from input from an experienced physician.
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