Elaine Korry :By the time DeAngelo Cortijo was 14, he had been in more than a dozen foster homes. He had run away and lived on the streets for months, and he had been diagnosed with bipolar and anxiety disorders, attachment disorder, intermittent explosive disorder or post traumatic stress disorder. He had been in and out of mental hospitals and heavily medicated.
After his later diagnoses, he was prescribed a combination of anti-psychotics, antidepressants and stimulants, and was told that taking them was his only hope of being normal. Instead, he said, medication made him feel "doped up and completely lost."
It was not until he spent several months developing a relationship with a horse — "and it was huge," said Cortijo with a smile.
Children in foster care are prescribed anti-psychotic drugs at double to quadruple the rate of that not in foster care, according to a Government Accountability Office report. Hundreds of children were found to be taking five or more psychotropic medications at a time, although there is no medical evidence to support such a drug regimen. Read More...
Team Backup knows first hand that finding a child's interest in a long term program, such as a sports team, music program or in this case equine-assisted therapy beats pills and 'sit & talk' therapy.
The author of this article is not ruling out the need for medication for some but rather, "making alternative interventions available at the same level at which medication is available."
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