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Child Psychotropic Use & the Brain Science of Emotion

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Heather Williamson

on 1 April 2015

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Transcript of Child Psychotropic Use & the Brain Science of Emotion

Child Psychotropic Use & the Brain Science of Emotion
Why are we worried?
Prescribing for kids has increased by 250% over 15 years.
until recently mental health was largely based in the theory of chemical imbalance.
The idea that mental illness was due to chemical imbalance
If too much or too few chemicals caused the imbalance...
Then a psychotropic could restore the balance...
Medicine was viewed as a "silver bullet" fix.
It's true that chemicals are important.
Brain Structure
But the theory was too simple...humans are too complex.
15 years ago, a child's brain was thought to reach structural maturity by early childhood. so, Medicine was prescribed based on adult studies & trials & Weight.
New Imaging Techniques in last 10 years
Functional MRI shows brain function (not just structure).
New imaging shows wiring
Structure + Function + Wiring
Better pictures means a new understanding of human development.
This is a huge breakthrough...how huge?
Imagine going from a bird's eye view...
To a detailed street level view.
Architectural Maturity
the human brain doesnt reach maturity until the mid-20's or later.
Children are always changing.
Need for Child Medication Trials
kids can't be treated as mini-adults. Response to medication is developmentally dependent.
Side effects can be serious.
Foster Kids
The impact of trauma & Neglect - Are we medicating a biological concern or trauma-related behaviors?
Complex trauma impairs development.
Trauma, Mental Illness, Both?
Psychotropic medications do not cure anything. they can help to stabilize biology, but 90% of foster kids are impacted by trauma. They present a complex clinical profile, but need the least restrictive level of care.
Psychosocial interventions first or with psychotropic use.
Brain Science is in its infancy...
we are still learning how the brain responds to psychotropic medications and the importance of environment and developmental age.
There are no easy answers or "silver bullet fixes".
There are goals for changing things
Recap & Review
Psychotropics can help, but treating foster children with these is complicated and requires monitoring & advocacy.
training will focus on medication management....
-understanding psychotropics, advocating for least restrictive means, attempting psychosocial as monotherapy before adding medication and monitoring for side effects & efficacy.
Training Resources
you will receive a medication management reference resource. please print and bring a copy to training. a more in-depth manual and a certificate will be emailed after training to those who attend.
Mental illness or traumatized child?
there are many reasons why psychotropics may not work for a child.
Kids in the Child Welfare System...
* Often receive Mental Health Diagnoses without considering other sources for the symptoms.
* It is important that the impact of trauma be evaluated when a child is assessed for mental illness.
Depression, Anxiety, Developmental Delay
Pre-Education Training
Please review the three presentations in your email. you also should have received a survey.
responding to the survey serves as your confirmation that you plan to attend. respondants will receive printable material to bring to training. the Pre-education material just provides some basic background and terminology.
Full transcript