Profile: Kaitlin Bell Barnett

Kaitlin Bell Barnett is a science journalist and blogger based in Brooklyn. Her first book, Dosed: The Medication Generation Grows Up, came out in April from Beacon Press. It examines the experiences of young adults who came of age taking psychiatric meds. She also blogs on the subject at PsychCentral. Her work has appeared in Salon, The New York Observer, Parents, The Huffington Post, Gastronomica,Prevention, The Boston Globe, among other publications.

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The Hidden Costs of Medication

Taking psychiatric medications can really add up, even for those who have health insurance, and even when they can take generic instead of brand-name drugs.
Psych Central

Category: Health

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Taking Meds, Being Judged

With all the attention on the misuse of psychiatric drugs, I think it’s worth taking a look at how the increased scrutiny affects people who have a diagnosis and a legitimate prescription. I don’t mean to suggest that just because someone has been diagnosed and a doctor has seen fit to prescribe her medication that she necessarily needs the meds – or even that she “should” be on them. Plenty of people have unjustified diagnoses and unneeded prescriptions. But for those who do benefit from treatment, you’ve got to wonder how all the media attention affects their experience.

Category: Health

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How Lena Dunham’s Real-life OCD made it onto ‘Girls’

How closely does a writer’s work mimic her life experiences? It’s a perennial question made all the more irresistible as it pertains to Lena Dunham, the 26-year-old creator of one of TV’s most talked-about shows, and her recently-revealed history of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
In the first season of HBO’s Girls, Dunham stirred up debate by, among other things, repeatedly revealing her less-than-perfect body while playing the show’s main character, Hannah Horvath. What got people talking as the second season progressed, though, was how serious the show seemed to be getting, especially with its depiction of Hannah coping with a resurgence of her OCD symptoms.

Category: Health

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The Challenge: Tricking Your Medication History

Ever have a hard time remembering to take your meds regularly? Now try tallying up all the psychiatric meds you’ve ever taken, their dosages and side effects. It’s harder than you might assume – especially as time goes on. When I was interviewing my peers for my book about growing up taking psychiatric meds, I started with what I thought was a basic question: Can you give me your medication history – which meds you’ve taken in the past, and for how long? I was shocked at how many people couldn’t answer the question with any confidence.

Category: Health

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Overmedicated Kids? First Consider This

A recent and widely publicized study by researchers from The National Institute of Mental Health provides data on some -but not all – key measurements of youth medication use. Its main finding: Just one in seven teens with a diagnosable psychiatric conditions have recently taken medications to treat it. The study, which was published online in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, surveyed a large, nationally representative sample of more than 10,000 teens ages 13 to 18.

Category: Health

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Waiting Until You’re ‘Old Enough’ for Antidepressants

What’s it like to suffer from severe depression for as long as you can remember – and to be too scared to ask for help until age 18? Today I’m featuring the story of Allie, a 21-year-old college senior in Wisconsin who was ultimately diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Allie kept her unhappiness a secret and didn’t begin taking medication when she was old enough to ask for it without her parents finding out.

Category: Health

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How Long is Too Long for Antidepressants?

Young people spend too long on antidepressants without examining whether they still need them, a Duke psychiatrist argued in a recent New York Times post. The psychiatrist, Doris Iarovici, is almost certainly right that more young adults are taking these meds for longer these days than in the past. The problem is that we don’t have a very good idea of how many – or for how long. As a result, it’s hard to know how much concern is justified.

Category: Health

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Mixing Meds & Alcohol: How Dangerous Is It?

Most psychiatric drugs bear some version of the warning: “Do not drink alcoholic beverages when taking this medication.” But that’s easier said than done, especially for young people. Teens and young adults face significant peer pressure to drink – and drink heavily. So, given these realities, what should young people – or older ones, for that matter – do when it comes to mixing meds with alcohol?

Category: Health

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ADHD Meds: Getting the Childrens' Perspective

If you’ve followed much of the media coverage and commentary about ADHD medications in recent years, you might well assume that kids – some of them allegedly not even meeting the criteria for ADHD – were being drugged by parents, doctors and schools eager for a “quick fix” for disruptive behaviors and sub-par academic performance. Shockingly absent from the debate is any discussion of how the kids themselves feel about their meds. Academic research on the subject is sparse, and often not limited to ADHD medications in particular... until now.
Article Courtesy PLOS Blogs Network
(CC BY 4.0)

Category: Health

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