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Dosed: The Medication Generation Grows Up Hardcover – April 10, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


  • "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

“Sensitive, provocative . . . Rais[es] questions that go far beyond abstract hand-wringing about overmedicated kids.” —Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe

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

Dosed is thoughtful, potent and overdue.” —Paula Span, contributor, the New York Times’ Science Times

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

“[Dosed] is thoughtfully written, a wonderful presentation of the full range of the issues everyone should be thinking about when prescribing psychotropics to children and teens, and Kaitlin Bell Barnett does a commendable job of communicating her masterful understanding of a complex topic.” —Dinah Miller, MD, Clinical Psychiatry News

“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

“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
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

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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: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,644,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephanie Schroeder on July 10, 2013
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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Format: Hardcover
I saw the author interviewed on CSPAN by Judith Warner of The NYT. I was impressed by both women.
The author herself has more credibility with me than say a psychiatrist because she has experienced anxiety and depression herself as a younger person.
In the interview she never discussed drugs such as Ritalin or anti-anxiety drugs (Benzos), just anti-depressants.
When asked if she would consent to medication for a child of her own, she said yes cautiously, but not right away.
And yet I read a statistic that said that if you take your child to a doctor, a pediatrician, child psychiatrist or even just a GP, the odds of an immediate prescription is 33%.
That is troubling.
At the same time the interviewer pointed out that there is generally a lack of follow up and monitoring for various reasons, one of which insurance doesn't cover them fully.
Therefore a conscientious doctor simply makes less money in that scenario - far less.
I am more in the camp of Dr. Peter Breggin, who is just outright skeptical about all these medications and wary of little understood side effects. His view and mine are that a natural response to experience that may result in difficult emotions should perhaps be dealt with on their own terms by parents, thus allowing the child to follow a more natural course.
In the interview it is mentioned that there are some indications of a connection between anti-depressants and Diabetes 2. But other than the possible quite dire physical effects, it is just as damaging perhaps when these pills interfere in the natural process of Life and Experience themselves.
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Format: Hardcover
After readng the life stories of children in this book put on prescription drugs for mental or emotional problems (and who took the drugs into adulthood), I read The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Anti-depressant Myth. There are multiple patterns and things to be learned. Here's a brief summary:

1) 1980s-Children with ADD were given Ritalin as a stimulant without knowing the side effects
2) 1990s-The SSRI drugs were rotated because the first prescription worked only temporarily on depression and anxiety
3) Multiple drugs prescribed because causes and long term effects were still unknown
4) Children considered therapy an invasion of privacy and told the doctor what they wanted to hear
5) Political correctness said a child could not have self esteem issues (part of growing up)
6) Some children act up to get attention
7) Insurance companies were willing to pay for prescriptions but not therapy so doctors became "pushers"
8) A few extreme cases had positive results from drugs but Big Pharma claimed the same results for a much broader category
9) In most cases the problems will clear up in time or the drugs will only treat the symptoms
10) The "chemical imbalance" theory is not based on ANY fact nor is there any test to quantify it
11) Read the doctors' reviews and comments about the other book and you will see how much the profession resembles a cult.

P.18 Years later, when Liz studied psychology it would occur to her that she was the "designated patient" whose problems stood in for the dysfunction of the whole family.

This book is one of many exposing psychiatry, its diagnosis, its drugs, and its practices as mostly (but not all) the modern day equivalent of the snake oil salesman.
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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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