Mental illness medications and children

Learn about: Mental illness medications and children from Kenneth Duckworth, MD,...
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Mental illness medications and children

People ask me what the role of medication for children and adolescents with a psychiatric illness. The first question I go back to is; have they had a comprehensive evaluation? Do we understand the whole picture? From medical vulnerabilities to what the child's strengths are and what you are building upon. What are the developmental pathways that you are trying to support the child in getting back onto? I come to think about a game plan for a child involving many dimensions. It can be working with the family. It could involve a different school. It could involved a different environmental connection or after school activity. Pyschotherapy medications are pretty well tested interventions for specific conditions. I think it's important to recognize that meds are never the only tool. They are, however, a tool. If you use your tools in thoughtful ways and you monitor for side-effects. You give people informed consent, including information that there has been very little long term studies of the impact of medications on children. Then if people have the information, you can work in a collaboration and try things, whether its psychotherapy or medications. Hopefully, you have what you are trying to accomplish with the interventions.

Learn about: Mental illness medications and children from Kenneth Duckworth, MD,...


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Kenneth Duckworth, MD

Psychiatrist, Harvard Professor & Medical Director for NAMI

Ken Duckworth, MD, serves as the medical director for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He is triple board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Adult, Child and Adolescent, and Forensic Psychiatry and has extensive experience in the public health arena.

Dr. Duckworth is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard University Medical School, and has served as a board member of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists. Dr. Duckworth has held clinical and leadership positions in community mental health, school psychiatry and now also works as Associate Medical Director for Behavioral Health at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Prior to joining NAMI in 2003, Dr. Duckworth served as Acting Commissioner of Mental Health and the Medical Director for Department of Mental Health of Massachusetts, as a psychiatrist on a Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) team, and Medical Director of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.

Dr. Duckworth attended the University of Michigan where he graduated with honors and Temple University School of Medicine where he was named to the medical honor society, AOA. While at Temple, he won awards for his work in psychiatry and neurology. He also has a family member living with mental illness.

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