18 September 2008

What I’m Watching: Generation RX

By Jason Buchanan, ALL MOVIE GUIDE

Last week I received an unexpected telephone call from Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker Kevin P. Miller. Apparently, the health-conscious filmmaker and President/CEO of Well TV had stumbled across the All Movie Guide pages for his previous films, and was seeking to get the word out about his latest project – a passionate and informative look at the questionable methods often used to diagnose and treat children deemed to be afflicted by the behavioral disorder du jour. The call couldn’t have come at a more serendipitous time: Just two nights prior, my parents-in-law and I had engaged in an extended conversation about this exact topic, and having witnessed firsthand the shattering effects that Prozac had on a close family friend, the subject was still very much fresh in my mind when the telephone rang. Kevin seemed like a very sincere guy, and much to my surprise, he asked if I would be willing to take a look at his latest documentary, Generation Rx.

The following week I received an envelope containing the film and, being curious as to what Mr. Miller would have to say about the topic my in-laws and I had discussed just a few days back, I immediately went home and fired up my DVD player. Eighty minutes later, as the screen went black and the credits began to roll, I found myself struggling to process the heartbreaking stories and blistering testimonials that had just flashed so forcefully before my eyes.

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I’m an avid horror geek, but few films have genuinely frightened me as much as Generation Rx. Back when I was in high school, my parents took in a close friend whose home-life quickly turned violent after her mother began taking Prozac. The experience made me worry about the increasingly prolific use of pharmaceutical drugs in treating so-called “behavioral disorders.” Not only in terms of the averse effects they may have on the patient, but also in terms of their ability to inflict serious damage on those surrounding the patient. It was obvious to me that so-called “mood stabilizers” and lifestyle drugs of this nature could destroy entire families when taken under the right (or wrong, as it may be) circumstances.

Of course, I had read the articles and seen the news magazine specials about ADHD, but it wasn’t until watching Generation Rx that the implications and complications of diagnosing this disorder became so undeniably clear to me. Reactionaries and moralists like to point the finger at Marilyn Manson and violent video games when students load up on guns and head out on a shooting spree, but what if the true catalysts for these and other youthful tragedies is something far more sinister; the result of something we’re doing as parents that’s actually intended to help our children, but instead ends up harming them in ways we could have never anticipated? While the answer to this question may be difficult for some parents to fathom, as a father I believe that it’s one worth asking.

Generation Rx is a film that every parent should see, especially if they’re considering putting their child on any form of antidepressant or mood-altering drug. I’ll have a full review up for the film shortly, but for now I encourage those seeking to learn more about Generation Rx to head on over to filmmaker Kevin P. Miller’s blog, or e-mail him directly at Kevin@CommonRadius.com.


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