The incoming president of Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists told The Times that psychiatrists are not the ones responsible for the epidemic of expanding definitions of mental illness and over-drugging that’s occurring in the country. Instead, said Professor Sir Simon Wessely, teachers, parents, non-profit advocacy groups and poorly run government health services are to blame.
Wessely reportedly acknowledged that ADHD drugs are being massively abused and antidepressants are being given out too freely to children. But Wessely told The Times. “Medicalisation is not often done by doctors. In areas that are more accessible to public debate it’s almost the other way around. Now we see a huge rise in support groups, we see pressure brought to bear to bring in labels.” He said parents and teachers also put enormous pressure on physicians to label and treat children.
Conversely, Wessely said psychiatric experts are the ones who understand how to determine when real mental illnesses are present. “It’s psychiatry which is against the medicalisation of normality,” he told The Times. Nevertheless, with respect to climbing rates of ADHD medication use, Wessely said “the evidence that stimulants are good, effective treatments is overwhelming,” and added that Ritalin “is probably over-prescribed, but it’s also under-prescribed because we don’t have good enough [child and adolescent mental health] services.”
Doctors under pressure to label bookish children as mentally ill (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED – The Times, June 21, 2014)