Tag: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
On MIA Radio this week, Miranda Spencer, Mad in America's Parent Resources editor, interviews Dr. Craig Wiener, a licensed psychologist who specializes in the treatment of children, adolescents, and families. He discusses approaches to helping children with "ADHD" behavior that don't involve drugs and constant monitoring.
The time has come that the fictitious ADHD qualifies for my ‘Enough is Enough’ series. It’s time to stop addressing pharmaceutical psychiatry on its own terms: its fraudulent and corrupt 'science,' its spurious 'evidence base,' and its imaginary psychiatric ‘diseases.’ I’m done with this. The evidence is in. Let’s get real. Psychiatry has become a profession of drug pushers. As a psychiatrist I am beyond troubled. Let’s get real.
The general theme, that various "mental illnesses" are being "overdiagnosed" is gaining popularity in recent years among some psychiatrists, presumably in an effort to distance themselves from the trend of psychiatric-drugs-on-demand-for-every-conceivable-human-problem that has become an escalating and undeniable feature of American psychiatric practice. But the implicit assumptions – that there is a correct level of such labeling, and that the label has some valid ontological significance – are emphatically false.
The stakes are very high when loving parents anxiously sit down across from a child psychiatrist who has completed an ADHD evaluation of their child. All of the parents' high hopes for their precious child's well-being and future happiness are pressing on the parent's heart and mind. The psychiatrist leans to the side, reaches into a drawer, and lifts out a life-size model of a human brain for the parent or parents to see. The little five-year-old sitting on the floor playing stops and looks up at a model of his or her brain as the psychiatrist breaks the bad news. And the question is formed right then in the little boy or little girl's soul that may haunt the child for the rest of their lives – "Why is there something wrong with my brain?"
At the risk of stating the obvious, ADHD is not an illness. Rather, it is an unreliable and disempowering label for a loose collection of arbitrarily chosen and vaguely defined behaviors. ADHD has been avidly promoted as an illness by pharma-psychiatry for the purpose of selling stimulant drugs. In which endeavor, they have been phenomenally successful, but, as in other areas of psychiatry, the hoax is unraveling.
A new analysis of the information that the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) publishes for parents about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) concludes that the children’s experiences and contexts are ignored and that medication is presented, misleadingly, as the only solution supported by research evidence.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that, three years into an Australian study that is following 178 children with ADHD and 212 children without ADHD, the...
The future of mental health interview series continued this past week with interviews with Peter Kinderman, president-elect of the British Psychological Society, on the efforts of the British Psychological Society, Jed Diamond on individual psychotherapy, Ruth Folit on healing through journaling, Shawn Rubin on gender diversity issues, and Marilyn Wedge on reclaiming childhood.
I urge parents, doctors, educators and everyone concerned with the well-being of children to take a look at the debate on ADHD presented in the Times. The series of articles makes it clear that the hard line separating ADHD-like behavior from normal childhood reactions to environmental stress or normal developmental phases is beginning to soften. The number of ADHD diagnoses in the United Sates has exploded by 300 percent since 1983.
In October of 2013, I wrote a blog on the Foundation for Excellence website (‘The Story of My Perfectly Wonderful Children and the Change WE Need to Make in the World to Save Them’) shortly after finding out that my son’s guidance counselor suggested he (then 10) consider ‘distraction meds’ to aid in his school performance. If I could sit every member of this school system down right now and ask them all my most burning questions, they would be: Do you want to be a tool of the system? The one who knows all the rules and holds all the lines? That says 'no, we can't do that', just because that's the way it is? Or do you want to be a guide through all that mess?
ADHD (or “Attention Deficit Disorder” - with or without Hyperactivity) is not among the “cutting-edge pathologies” of contemporary clinical practice, such as the addictions, eating disorders, narcissistic disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, or fibromyalgia; however, in my view ADHD is paradigmatic of the contemporary ethos that some have described as hypermodernity. The advocates of ADHD explain to us that a hyperactive child with an attention disorder is a disturbed and often disturbing child, who does not comply with the adults’ rule, often has his own idea of development, and whose problems, unless they are treated, threaten to undermine his autonomy and self-esteem; the two supreme values of the hypermodern society.
For the New York Times Well blog, Katherine Ellision writes about how the rise in ADHD diagnoses globally is sparking “debates about the validity of the diagnosis and the drugs used to treat it.”
A paradigm is a way of thinking about things. For the past 60 or so years, our thinking about mental health and illness has been dominated by what can be referred to as the "DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) paradigm." What this looks like in everyday practice is that when a child is referred to my behavioral pediatrics practice for anxiety, the questions that parents, referring doctors, and teachers ask is, "Does he have anxiety disorder?" followed by "How to we manage his behavior?" and "Does he need medication?"
Let’s face it, as our kids slowly developing brains wrestle with behavioral and maturity issues while also trying to juggle expectations related to academic and social challenges, some of the behaviors they display can be quite concerning. Understandably, after trying what seems like everything in the books plus the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room sinks, caring and often exhausted parents are actively looking for help, resources and answers. But guess what? Without any need for pharmaceutical intervention or “drug therapy,” for centuries parents have been quite capable of helping challenged children overcome semi-annoying and concerning behaviors that some “experts” want to label today as symptoms of a mental disorder. Behaviors that a billion kids worldwide display every day.
I imagine that everybody on this side of the issue knows by now that the eminent psychiatrist Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, Chief Psychiatrist at Columbia, and past President of the APA, called Robert Whitaker "a menace to society." The grounds for Dr. Lieberman's vituperation were that Robert had dared to challenge some of psychiatry's most sacred tenets! But in all the furor, it was largely ignored that in the same interview Dr. Lieberman had said something else that warrants additional discussion.
In recent years, we've seen an increasing number of articles and papers from psychiatrists in which they seem to be accepting at least some of the antipsychiatry criticisms, and appear interested in reforms. It is tempting to see this development as an indication of progress, but as in many aspects of life, things aren't always what they seem.
Most people on hearing that ADHD is a "neurodevelopmental disorder" would assume that a neurological pathology is implied. But all the DSM-5 requires is that the individual be functioning below par (for any reason) in one of several areas. It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to see how individuals who are distractible and impulsive have a higher mortality rate. But people who ride motorcycles routinely also have a higher than average accident-related mortality rate. Should we therefore conclude that riding motorcycles is a "valid" illness?
This short blog is inspired by the always entertaining and witty Thank You Notes ritual Jimmy Fallon does on the Tonight Show every week. It’s intended to be funny, but of course not as funny as Jimmy Fallon; he’s the best. People say I am funny, and have a great face for radio, but come on… how funny can you be when you talk about mental health and drugging kids?