Letter: Fraudulent Diagnosis?

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), November 17, 2000 | Go to article overview

Letter: Fraudulent Diagnosis?


Byline: Brian Daniels

I am writing in response to an article that appeared on November 1 entitled "Drug for hyperactive kids cleared''.

While the debate continues regarding the copious use of stimulant drugs in children, the point being missed is that the diagnostic criteria for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) are synonymous with normal childhood behaviour. An "inability to sit still'', "doesn't pay attention to details'', "makes careless mistakes in schoolwork and other activities'', "is often on the go'', or "often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat'' are just a few of the criteria for AD/HD.

It would appear that psychiatrists have taken a set of behavioural and emotional characteristics and labelled them as a "disease''. This spurious claim has no medical or scientific basis. It was in 1987 that the American Psychiatric Association voted AD/HD into existence, whereupon it was enshrined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

While it cannot be denied that some children have problems learning in school, that some can be excessively active, argumentative and even disruptive, psychiatry's fixation on labelling such difficulties as a mental illness or disorder is not only unscientific but medical fraud.

The greatest tragedy in all of this, apart from the ruined life, is that parents are being led to believe that categorising their children as mentally disordered and drugging them is therapeutic. …

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