Louis Theroux: America’s Medicated Kids

There’s something about Louis Theroux which I can’t help but find endearing. I admire his bluntness and how he says the things that I’m thinking but would never speak. Either he has a wealth of knowledge on the subjects of his documentaries, or he or his research team do their jobs very well.

Having previously been encaptured by Theroux’s documentaries about prisons, America’s most hated family (Oh how I wanted to punch them) and, more recently, gambling, I was interested to see what slant he would take this time. Putting a child on meds is a touchy subject. Different viewers will have a huge breadth of opinions and beliefs on the subject. Unlike the programme on that awful American family, the audience of this show won’t necessarily have a huge majority sharing one belief. This is why Theroux occasionally edged on the side of caution.

Often it seemed that he was trying to suggest that the parents were a part of the problem. And I have to agree that, in one particular example, appeared to be the case. Personal attitudes towards these drugs contributed hugely to seeking out a diagnosis. The youngest child featured was an OCD suffering six year old. SIX. At that age they’ve only just started school. Although, this boy had already started school and been expelled. But that helped Theroux to question the difference between a disruptive child and one with a medical problem. It’s a very blurred line, and putting a child on meds when they’re simply being naughty is not a solution – it’s more like an excuse.

Yes, I know I have no personal experience of it and so, perhaps, my opinions aren’t valid. Yet I have huge questions over this subject. One boy was given meds that had been proven to work in adults. Working for an adult with a definitive diagnosis is one thing, but on a ten year old who’s yet to hit puberty is another.

There’s not much I can say on this programme without telling you everything that features. I can just suggest that you watch it and see if your opinions/beliefs change. In the classic Theroux style, it’s truly insightful.

Watch it.

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2 comments so far

  1. kellie hill on

    I found the programme quite uncomfortable viewing. In fact I did switch it off. My son is being assessed for aspergers and ADHD and while I really don’t like the idea of medication, i’m not sure what I’ll do it it actually comes to that

    @Bigfashionista x

    • catherineelaine on

      Ultimately, I think you can’t know what you’d do until your put in such a difficult situation yourself.
      Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and can do what they wish.
      For aspergers and ADHD there is far more research within children, it’s when the example of a family who have a son on medication for several of the aforementioned (and possibly more) already who, when Louis said that he believed the boy looked as though he simply had aspergers, they were contented although “if you could medicate that we would too”. They had a huge dependance on medications – even their dogs was on anti-anxiety drugs. To me, they just seemed to be slightly extremist in their reliance on medication as the one solution.
      But I understand that every situation is different and maybe that is the best thing for said child (and said dog?!)
      Good luck with your own situation. I hope you all stay strong and happy.


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