Lowered ADHD Threshold “More Harm Than Good” (BMJ)


Analysis in the British Medical Journal concludes that the lowered thresholds for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder diagnosis in DSM-5 will mean “that many children and their families may be harmed due to costs of medication, particularly if it is not needed, medication side effects, and psychological labels,” according to the lead researcher. “The drugs used to treat ADHD have side effects such as weight loss, weight gain, and growth problems, and we don’t know whether they work in the long term.”

Abstract →

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: are we helping or harming? British Medical Journal. November 5, 2013; 347:f6172 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f6172

Of further interest:
Broader Definition of ADHD Will ‘Do More Harm Than Good’ (MedScape)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]


  1. Pathophysiology

    Global electromagnetic toxicity and frequency-induced diseases: Theory and short overview


    4. Psychological disorders

    Related to the neurochemical disturbances mentioned above, the psychological disorders induced by electromagnetic fields may be even more ubiquitous and difficult to show, particularly those which blend with minute aspects of human evolution (decades of detrimental activities which show no immediate or intangible effects on the populations, but post-dose effects in the subsequent generations). There has thus been a series of attempts to depict the negative psychological effects by electromagnetic fields. The phenomenon on psychological disorders induced by radiation was investigated by a German group of scientists recently [48]. In their study, Thomas and colleagues demonstrated a statistically significant effect from electromagnetic radiation from wireless and mobile telephone networks on the behavior of adolescents and children. There were 1498 children and 1524 adolescents in the experimental group, which were tested using a SDQ (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire). The results showed that adolescents were more prone to behavioral problems as affected by mobile telephone frequencies GSM 900, GSM 1800, Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS 2100), Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) and Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN 2400) frequencies (Fig. 1). Seven percent of the adolescents showed behavioral problems, while 5% of the children. The results related the observed effect from the dosed exposure to the radiation applied at controlled intervals, and among possible explanations, the still developing nervous system in adolescent and the effect on it by radiation was postulated. Also in the children group, the sensitivity of the nervous system to radiation was mentioned, as also earlier reported [49], [50] and the effects were also behavioral disorders. The cognitive system seems on the short-term not to be affected according to a study [51], however the opposite was documented in another study [52] and explained by the modulating effect of mobile phone radiation on the response patterns in human brain activity [53]. Furthermore this may be connected to that preparatory slow-brain potentials have been documented to be affected by electromagnetic fields with particular emphasis on the temporo-parieto-occipital brain regions, but not on the frontal one [54]. This may partly be the explanation to that no significant effects where observed in another study, regarding electromagnetic field effects on human brain activity and sleep variables [55]. Correlated with the findings from Johansson et al. [56], the cognitive character of electrohypersensitive individuals can therefore play a pivotal role in explaining the disagreements between studies. In the study by Johansson et al. the electrohypersensitive persons reacted more intensively to the effects by radiation, thereby accounting for the differences. In the study by Johansson et al. the emotional aspects following exposure to radiation were also reported, where depression, anxiety and exhaustion were reported for a group tested on exposure to electromagnetic radiation. In this study, the electrohypersensitive individuals reacted indeed more intensively to electromagnetic fields. Similarly to the investigation by Thomas et al. [48], sleep disturbances, tiredness, stress, anxiety and concentration difficulties were also reported in a study performed by a Swedish group among a group of adolescents [57]. Yet convincing, a study by Huber et al. demonstrated that electromagnetic fields including signals from mobile telephone networks do alter the cerebral blood flow and sleep and waking EEG [58].

    The observed mechanisms of reaction to radiation may be summarized in a pattern of reaction (POR) where the frequency of radiation may be associated with types of pathology. In the POR we postulate that a dose-dependent response to radiation may be summarized as follows (see Fig. 1).