Medication. That elephant in the room. The bull in the china shop. Except these elephants and bulls can help children lead relatively normal lives. Not that what they are isn’t normal; what they are is terrified. Which is why medication is the best option when children with a multitude of psychological illnesses come for help.

First off, imagine almost hitting an animal with your car. Imagine being jump-started over and over by different people. That rush of adrenaline coursing through your veins, that fear and panic, overcoming every cell in your body — this is a minor panic attack. After that wonderful image, I bet you will still never be able to experience the terror that 8 million children experience constantly. Imagine a child having to go through that. Every day?

There are some things that children with psychological disorders can do to help them through their disorder, like therapy or medication, but society has put a taboo of sorts on medication. How often do you see people unabashedly going to physical therapy? Or using an Epi-Pen? Quite often. Now how many kids brag about going to therapy? Or taking medicine to simply control their impulses? Society believes that psychological illnesses are easier to deal with than physical illnesses, which is simply not true.

Using medication as an outlet to control certain impulses; some of America’s federal testing facilities have approved it. The FDA has certified multiple medications to help with some of the side effects of having a psychological disorder, such as schizophrenia, OCD, ADD, ADHD, depression, autism, Tourette’s and DMDD (bipolar). The problem with giving children medication is the fact that there aren’t more medications for kids. And the reason for the lack of medications is because kids can’t participate in clinical trials, and therefore we don’t know the side effects of certain medicines. Because of the lack of testing, sometimes side effects of medicines are severe, which makes parents reluctant to turn to medicines. Another problem is that parents give up after the bad reaction of the first medicine, but there are more types. Medicine reacts with different people in different ways.

I know some people who use medication, and they all say that the first medicine they used was not the right one for them. And they believe that certain medications make them feel not themselves, but once they found the right medicine, they were able to cope with drawbacks. One of my friends with OCD found it easier to ignore things (after medicating) that normally draw all their attention, like a crooked desk or mismatched socks. Medications don’t cure diseases, they give their recipients a way to maneuver and thrive in today’s society.

Some believe that society — specifically children — is over-medicated. I agree, but is giving pain medications to open-heart surgery recipients over-medicating? Is giving Novocaine to a patient undergoing a root canal over-medicating? Is giving a girl Zoloft to help her go through day-to-day activities without a panic attack over-medicating? I don’t think so.

Zoe Olson is an eighth-grader at Bucksport Middle School.