The treatment of intellectual and developmental disabilities has a long history that is glaringly characterized by abuse, torture and malpractices. In the ancient era, the developmentally disabled were simply left to die. Caging them, isolating them and abandoning them were common practices since it was widely believed that there was no treatment for such individuals. Later, the concept of institutionalization and hospitalization came about but there was little change in the way people mistreated the developmentally disabled and were repulsed by them. For a long time trepanation and blood letting were considered effective treatments, but patients undergoing such treatments often died. It wasn’t until the 1900′s that the world was truly exposed to the plight of the disabled and attempted to better their situation. The scientific and medical community spent more time and money researching developmental disabilities, and this was especially noticeable after the Civil Right Movement and the Disability Rights Movement during the 1950′s. Psychotropic Medication for Developmental Disabilities is a concept that was deeply researched after the mid- 1900′s and today is perhaps the most widely accepted and effective method for treating a wide range of developmental and intellectual disabilities.
The 1950′s are considered the decade of development of antipsychotics. The 1960′s were the decade of the antidepressants while the 19070′s was the decade of anxiolytics, used for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Mood Stabilizers and Stimulants were successfully created to address a wide range of disabilities including bipolar disorders, ADHD, schizophrenia and narcolepsy. Psychedelics and hypnotics refer to a group of medical drugs that had strong effects on the patient and are consumed only under strict medical supervision. Today, the medical community is researching and working towards a new kind of psychotropic medication; commonly referred to as “second generation” drugs. These drugs are developed to treat specific types of illnesses. Modern Science and technology has allowed scientists to create “second generation” drugs that are much more effective and have fewer side effects than the ones that were earlier administered to the developmentally disabled.
The hard truth remains that even the most advanced drugs and medication cannot completely cure developmental and intellectual disabilities. Psychotropic drugs are administered for two reasons: either to better a medical condition or to prevent it from getting worse. They cannot be expected to cure a severe developmental disability or illness, but it must be remembered that this is still a giant leap from the medical treatments that were being practiced only a few decades ago. Science has been progressing at a fascinating rate, and maybe sometime soon an accurate and effective treatment for severe and sometimes debilitating developmental disabilities will be created.
Bobby Harris is a driven, experienced and knowledgeable professional within areas such as healthcare, childhood education,abuse intervention and crisis prevention; organizational leadership and intellectual / developmental disabilities.