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FRONTLINE Interviews Children's Hospital Psychiatrist

Dr Marianne Wamboldt chief of psychiatry
Dr. Marianne Wamboldt, chief of psychiatry at The Children's Hospital, was interviewed for the PBS FRONTLINE special 'The Medicated Child.'

PBS FRONTLINE presented “The Medicated Child” on Jan. 8 about the risks and benefits of prescription drugs for troubled children. The PBS special, which focused on bipolar disorder, included interviews with Dr. Marianne Wamboldt, chief of psychiatry, and profiled Jacob Solomon, whose symptoms are more under control since becoming a patient at Children's Hospital Colorado, where he has been introduced to alternative therapies.

From the FRONTLINE press release:

Like many of the 1 million children now diagnosed with bipolar, 5-year-old Jacob Solomon was initially believed to suffer from an attention deficit disorder. His parents reluctantly started him on Ritalin, but over the next five years, Jacob would be put on one drug after another.

"It all started to feel out of control," Jacob's father, Ron, told FRONTLINE. "Nobody ever said we can work with this through therapy and things like that. Everywhere we looked it was, 'Take meds, take meds, take meds.'"

Over the years, Jacob's multiple medications have helped improve his mood, but they've also left him with a severe tic in his neck which doctors are having trouble fully explaining.

"We're dealing with developing minds and brains, and medications have a whole different impact in the young developing child than they do in an adult," says Dr. Marianne Wamboldt, chief of psychiatry at Denver Children's Hospital. "We don't understand that impact very well. That's where we're still in the Dark Ages."

See the FRONTLINE special.