Getting around the stability issue

Biological psychiatry has been cozying up to neuroscience for awhile now. The idea is to remove mind from the equation. We are not dealing with minds, we are dealing with brains. The problem biological psychiatry has is that this cozying represents something of a leap. Neuroscience deals with the brain; the proper sphere of study for psychiatry is “mental illness”. Brain is physical, the organ of thought, and a noun. Thought, produced by an action of the brain, isn’t physical per se, it’s mental.

We have the disjunction between minor and major “mental illness” to contend with for one thing. Minor “mental illness” is still seen as a mind thing, stress has gotten to this person or that. The problem is all in their head. Major ‘mental illness”, on the other hand, is seen as a brain thing. This or that person is seen as having a brain defect owing to their biology, their mix of genomes received from mom and dad.

This is biological psychiatry’s way of dealing with some of the criticism it has faced in the past. While “mental illness” may be seen as an illusion if it’s a thought thing, it’s harder to make an illusion out of a brain thing. If “mental illness” is a brain thing, you can’t fault psychiatrists for their lack of scientific rigor, it is assumed. If we can make an error in judgment an error in judging instrument, we’ve bridged the gap all the way back to medicine once again.

The problem we are facing now is the gap between the recoverable minorly disturbed person and the irrecoverable majorly disturbed person. Is it just a matter of degree, or is it a matter of type? I mean stress produces anxiety, and therefore, we have what is referred to as “generalized anxiety disorder”. Were we to up the pressure a great deal, would this increased stress produce in a human subject psychosis? If major and minor are simply measurements, the mad genes get even more slippery to grab a hold of than we might have imagined them at first to be.

What if one out of a thousand majorly disturbed person had their disturbance play itself out? If this happened, biological psychiatry would be disproven in every one out of a thousand cases, but it would be disproven nonetheless. When such happens, the question that remains is what differentiates this case from the other 999 cases? Well, biological psychiatry is disproven a great deal more than in every one out of a thousand cases. The question is, in those cases that don’t fully recover, what is it that prevents them from disproving the premises put forward by biological psychiatry, too?

Anti-anti-psychiatry misses again

Whooee! It’s been a long time! It’s been since the PSYCHout 2010 conference in Toronto in fact. Here’s a commentator attacking the great bug-a-boo of modern psychiatry, “the anti-psychiatry movement”. The article, from columnist Jack Bragen, in The Berkley Daily Planet, bears the heading, On Mental Illness: Responding to the Anti-Psychiatry Movement.

What anti-psychiatry movement!? I’ve never liked the term anti-psychiatry myself precisely because it gives too much credit to psychiatry. The late departed David Cooper, rest his soul, a colleague of the also late departed RD Laing, revived a word that had fallen into neglect and disuse. RD Laing himself, being a psychiatrist, wasn’t entirely partial to the term. This makes it difficult to speak of a homogenous anti-psychiatry movement. There are therapists who term themselves critical psychiatrists in an effort to get away from the taint of guilt by association, only, there isn’t much of an association, not to mention, guilt involved. Mainstream psychiatry would have the anti-psychiatrist fully discredited. A fact that leaves me laughing and wondering who will manage to get the last laugh out of that joke. Anti-psychiatry starts off by discrediting mainstream psychiatry, and psychiatry would turn the tables on anti-psychiatry by having anti-psychiatry discredited in turn. You think? Delve a little deeper, thank you. Where is a religion without its devil?

I get the point that many people who have seen my column completely disagree with the practices and theories of psychiatry. I am not a psychiatrist. I have not always believed that I require medication. In my thirty years as a mental health consumer, I have seen some of the abuses perpetrated by the mental health treatment system.

Here we have the words of convert, not a recent convert, mind you, but a convert nonetheless. He tells us he was converted 30 years ago. He believes he needs what he thinks is medication. I’m not sure about the relationship of medication to medicine except I imagine it is supposed to have one. To the outsider, he sounds like a character from science fiction. What we used to call a “mental patient” has now been not so magically transformed into a “mental health consumer”. We’d have to write a history of our own to explain that one. This “mental health consumer” has seen “abuses perpetrated by the mental health treatment system”, or, as I like to call it, the mental health/illness system.

I am familiar with the abuse that happens to psychiatric patients. I would rather not describe my experiences in detail. I tolerate the mental health treatment system in spite of its many instances of unfairness because I have a disease that requires treatment; and I cannot afford to get this treatment on my terms—I am not a wealthy movie star. Many in the anti-psychiatry movement apparently believe that the human brain will automatically fix its own problems through the natural regulatory mechanisms that Mother Nature provided. They believe that intervening on an episode of mental illness with medication only prevents this restoration from naturally occurring, and actually worsens the problem. This argument seems to be the most important one in the anti psychiatry movement. Furthermore, there is the claim that in third world countries, where psychiatric treatment is unavailable, people don’t get mental illness.

I tend to see unfairness and abuse as mistreatment. Mistreatment is a human rights violation and issue. The problem with psychiatry is that a person in the psychiatric system is often presumed “sick”, without a trial, and “sick” for life at that. How is a person determined to be “sick” in the mental health/illness system? By a pronouncement of the psychiatrist, high priest of the “mental illness” religion, coupled with a legal proceeding. The criteria for this “sickness” in the legal system is “danger to oneself or others”, recently expanded into the soothsaying dimension of pre-crime, that is to say, at some time or other to come. The criminal justice system makes mistakes, but the mental health/illness system is perfect. The mental health/illness system NEVER makes mistakes, only misdiagnoses. People on the receiving end of the mental health/illness system are presumed to be “ill”. This “illness” they have has never been identified except through the behavior they exhibit. It is a theoretical construct of the literature on the subject. It is the substance of a religion. A person becomes “well” by betraying this religion, and abandoning it’s most sacred premises, for they certainly aren’t principles. When the folly of youth gives way to the wisdom that comes of experience the system is at a loss for words. It just can’t happen. We’re dealing with “disease” here, folks.

Asserting that mental illnesses don’t really exist is like saying that the Apollo Lunar Landings never took place. You can write as many books on the subject as you want, and you can argue the point until blue in the face. I will still believe the Lunar Landings took place, and mental illness exists. Everyone else is entitled to their own opinion.

Stating that pneumonia didn’t exist would be like saying that the Apollo Lunar Landing never took place, but we’re not dealing with bacteria, as far as we know anyway. Nobody has ever found any “mental illness” bacteria. From psychosis to anxiety attacks to bed wetting–“disease”, right? Whatever. If you can’t control it, it’s a “disease”. If you don’t learn to control it, it’s a “disease”. If you don’t want to control it, it’s a “disease”. A pill is expected to smooth over all the little bumps and potholes in life. Strange to think that discomfort should become a new comfortable belief, our new comfort zone, if you will, but it has done just that. Some of us, then, would find such a comfort zone limiting and, in the end, would forsake it. Doing so may be a little like going to the moon for you but, hey, look, the Apollo astronauts managed it. For some people who have survived the mental health/illness system, mental health is a new frontier. Being mentally healthy, for a person who has been labeled “mentally ill”, and who has endured the mental health/illness system, is a little like landing on the moon. All it takes is abandoning the chemical straitjacket, trying your own feet for a change, and using a less specialized and debilitating jargon. It can be done, and it doesn’t take 30 plus years to do so either. Of course, for others of us, there is always the “mental illness” excuse, uh, I mean faith.

Contending with the Cliché in Contemporary Mental Health Treatment

Many clichés have come in recent years to dominate contemporary standard practice in mental health treatment. If you want more encouraging outcomes, I suggest a good way to arrive at those improved results would be by scrapping the cliche’.

Before I elaborate on this subject, let’s go to the dictionary for a definition of cliché, and then we can work on any judgment as to the relative truth or merits of this statement. I’m going to Merriam-Webster Online for my definition.

Definition of CLICHÉ
1: a trite phrase or expression; also : the idea expressed by it
2: a hackneyed theme, characterization, or situation
3: something (as a menu item) that has become overly familiar or commonplace

Merriam-Webster also supplies a word origin.

Origin of CLICHÉ
French, literally, printer’s stereotype, from past participle of clicher to stereotype, of imitative origin.
First Known Use: 1892

This leads to the use of certain expressions on the subject of mental health treatment, such as you see in this article from The Bemidji Pioneer, Here’s to You: First steps for families coping with mental illness.

We start with the bafflement of families having to deal with a bereaved or disoriented, “sick” as one would have it, relative.

When families first learn of mental illness in the family, they often feel lost about what to do for the family member, or where to find information to help.

I imagine that to be an innocent enough situation when it doesn’t lead, as it does in this instance, to the concept of “denial”.

They may deny there is anything permanent occurring: “She’ll get over this in a few months, and then she can get back to work again.”

The presumption of permanence, as far as emotional states are concerned, in the mental health field, is a cliché. The concept of denial, arising from the same psychology textbook that gave us those tenacious diseases of the mind, is yet another cliché.

We should never be so presumptuous. Self-defeat is premature when it comes without a trial, and it is even more premature when it is accepted as a given, or when it is seen as the toxic fruit of an ancient curse.

Could it not also be a matter of denying the impermanence of the difficulties he or she was facing?

While some people do have a temporary condition, for many in our community it is a long-term illness that must be managed over time.

Now we are juxtaposing a “long-term illness” to a “temporary condition”. Sounds pretty suspiciously like a cliché to me. Why would we have here in our problematic relative “a long-term illness that must be managed over time”?

The Online Entymological Dicionary, through Dictionary.com, tells us a little more about the word origin of the word stereotype.

stereotype
1798, “method of printing from a plate,” from Fr. stéréotype (adj.) “printing by means of a solid plate of type,” from Gk. stereos “solid” (see sterile) + Fr. type “type.” Noun meaning “a stereotype plate” is from 1817. Meaning “image perpetuated without change” is first recorded 1850, from the verb in this sense, which is from 1819. Meaning “preconceived and oversimplified notion of characteristics typical of a person or group” is recorded from 1922. Stereotypical is attested from 1949.

I suggest resorting to a different typeface in the interests of arriving at a different conclusion. A tradition of defeat is not the kind of tradition that I would wish to perpetuate nor to honor. The dead should not be expected, in this instance, to bury the living. Let me be more blunt on the subject. Relatives who care about relatives don’t saddle those relatives with “long-term illness[es] that must be managed over time”.

The same goes for those “medications” used to “manage” such “long-term illnesses”. The trashcan is a better lodge for those noxious chemical compounds that “blunt” folks emotions than the medicine cabinet. Take the “medication management” away, and you can expect a much better outcome than the usual sorry state of affairs doctors of psychiatry have come to stick us with, money and worry-wise.

Child Killing Psychiatrist Back In The News

2 years after 7 year old Gabriel Myers suicide, his psychiatrist, Dr. Sohail Punjwani, is still managing to make the pages of the Miami Herald. The Broward County section of that paper has a headline claiming Boy’s county psychiatrist has other issues.

On July 18 of last year, Sohail Punjwani was arrested by Miami Beach police officers for driving under the influence and cocaine possession.

Dr. Punjwani is in a pre-trial diversion program, and he won’t be prosecuted if he finishes the program.

It must be the stress from being accused of causing this young boy’s death, don’t you think?

Punjwani provided The Miami Herald with a sworn statement from a consulting doctor who concluded “within reasonable medical and psychiatric probability” that Gabriel’s death was not attributable to Dr. Punjwani’s prescribing practices.

Ain’t that cute! How does he defend himself from these charges? He gets a ‘brudder’ psychiatrist, a hired “consultant”, to come to his aid, and say that his prescribing practices didn’t have anything to do with the kid’s suicide.

“Gabriel had exhibited impulsive and aggressive behavior well before he was prescribed any medication by Dr. Punjwani, and he had undergone a number of significant and very emotional changes in the several weeks predating his death,” concluded Manuel R. Garcia, a child psychiatrist and lecturer who taught psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of California at San Diego.

Uh, anybody looking into the prescribing practices of this Dr. Garcia?

A report made by the FBI Behavioral Analyst unit following the death of Gabriel Myers seems to be at odds with this assessment.

Punjwani, the team wrote, “has already been sanctioned for over-prescribing medications to patients, and, for the age-inappropriate prescription of medications to Gabriel Myers.”

7 year old boys don’t ordinarily kill themselves. If Punjwani had been over-prescribing psychiatric drugs, certainly the boy’s death was related to his prescribing practices.

It seems that Punjwani’s prescribing practices aren’t the only reckless behaviors he has engaged in. Let’s hope that the authorities are able to catch up with him, and doctors like him, before another innocent life is wasted so needlessly.

This Drug Versus That Drug Bipolar Treatment Study

I was startled to run across an article in HealthNewsDigest.com with the heading Adults With Bipolar Disorder Needed for Study Comparing Two Treatments. This article is about a study being conducted at Stanford University. What treatments are being compared at Stanford? Well, actually both the “treatments” this article mentions are drugs.

Next question: does the pharmaceutical industry have its hooks deep into Stanford University? Given a cursory internet search on the subject I would have to say yes. I think so.

We hope to determine the better foundational treatment for the contemporary management of bipolar disorder,” said Terence Ketter, MD, principal investigator of the Stanford arm of the study and director of Stanford’s Bipolar Disorders Clinic. “Is it lithium, the classical mood stabilizer, or quetiapine [brand name Seroquel], a second-generation antipsychotic with broad efficacy in bipolar disorder?”

This drug versus drug approach begs the question of how well any non-drug approach to therapy might work. Would a non-drug approach out perform either of the two pills being tested? The question isn’t even getting a hearing.

Now let’s look at some of the bad effects of these drugs being used to “treat” patients.

Two commonly prescribed medications for bipolar disorder are lithium and the antipsychotic quetiapine. Neither drug is perfect: Lithium is associated with the risk of long-term thyroid and kidney problems, and quetiapine carries the risk of drowsiness and weight gain and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic problems such as diabetes. But, Ketter noted that these risks can be managed by careful attention to dosage and, on occasion, use of other medications.

Lithium

    1. thyroid
    2. kidney problems (I don’t know about you, but I think calling organ failure “a problem” is a bit misleading.) I know that brain damage can also come of lithium toxicity, and I’m wondering why it isn’t mentioned.

Seroquel

    1. drowsiness
    2. weight gain
    3. cardiovascular disease
    4. metabolic problems such as diabetes (2 through 4 “imperfections” could be laid at the feet of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a big reason studies have found people in mental health treatment are dying on average at an age 25 years younger than the rest of the population.)

As for attention to dosage, no dose could be safer than 0 mg. The problem with bringing in other drugs is we have to then ask how these additional drugs are going to negatively impact the patient’s physical health. Polypharmacy, the practice of prescribing multiple drugs for multiple conditions, is notorious for its lack of good outcomes.

A leading researcher in this study offers his suspicion that the reason for the shift from lithium to quetiapine as a “treatment” is due primarily to the aggressive advertising efforts of drug manufacturers.

Ketter pointed out that industry-sponsored efficacy studies, aimed at assessing treatments for bipolar disorders in order to gain FDA approval, usually allow participants to take one other medication at the most. But, Ketter said, this comparative-effectiveness study is different because participants can be treated with almost any other medication — except lithium for patients randomized to quetiapine, or quetiapine for patients randomized to lithium. (Most bipolar disorder patients need combinations of medications to manage their disease.)

Then again it’s not so different because none of the patients in the study are given the option of going without psychiatric drugs.

The authors of the study being conducted want to know which subjects respond better to lithium and which subjects respond better to quetiapine. I have to wonder why they aren’t interested in knowing which subjects, as with most people, respond better to no drugs at all.

There’s a very good topic indeed! Why do some people labeled bipolar do better on no drugs? First, you have to acknowledge that this is the case, and then you might be able to explore the matter. Unfortunately, as in this instance, the facts of the matter are mostly ignored by the medical establishment, and this indicates, if not drug company kickbacks, much denial on the part of the doctors studying these “treatments”.

Gun Control Lobbyists Attack Second Amendment Rights Of US Citizens

I can see a time coming when people will be checked for psychiatric treatment histories at the door.

In Illinois gun control lobbyists are trying to fill a gap in the state legal system that they say allows people who have known the inside of mental health facilities their second amendment rights to bear arms. The story, as reported in eNews Park Forest, bears the headline, Shocking Revelations From State Police On Dangerous Gaps In Mental Health Records.

The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV) and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (Brady Campaign) brought together state legislators, gun violence victims and law enforcement at the Thompson Center today to send an urgent plea to state lawmakers to oppose HB 148, a dangerous bill that would potentially allow mentally ill individuals to carry guns in public places. Coinciding with the anniversaries of the Virginia Tech and Columbine massacres, the press event shared the results of a legislative hearing last week where the Illinois State Police (ISP) revealed shocking gaps in checking mental health records before issuing gun permits. This growing hole in the safety net was referred to as a “ticking time bomb” that could result in more lives, families and communities shattered by gun violence.

Politicians and political commentators are always calling other politicians and political commentators crazy, but I don’t think anybody is threatening the second amendment rights of crazy politicians and political commentators. There is also the little matter of protecting people from unstable “keepers of the peace” who might break in on some innocent body because of the little matter of the color of that bodies skin, guns blazing. The line between the unreasonable and the reasonable has not been decided for all time by such legislation, nonetheless…

At the state level, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), County Courts and ISP operate systems to collect and report mental health data before issuing FOID cards. According to the ISP report and testimony at the hearing, there are many dangerous gaps in the reporting of these records: Only 183 of 130,000 licensed clinicians have registered with DHS, and very few of the 102 county courts have reported individuals adjudicated mentally defective to the state system. Furthermore, it was revealed that the ISP should have reported an estimated 120,000 mental health records to the FBI National Instant Background Check System (NICS) to prevent dangerously mentally ill persons from obtaining guns over state lines, but has only reported 5,000. According to the ISP, even with limitless funds, it would take a minimum of two years to fix the system.

Just think, 115,000 potential loony birds carrying concealed weapons versus 5,000 disarmed sickos in the FBI database.

At issue…

The proposed law, as currently written, does not require law enforcement to conduct an extensive background check of state and federal mental health records and would require county sheriffs to issue a permit to carry loaded, concealed guns in most public places to any person meeting certain minimum qualifications, with limited discretion from law enforcement.

Hmmm. I wonder how we distinguish these former mental patients from everybody else. Do you think a number tattooed on the arm, nevermind the origin of the word “stigma”, might help? Perhaps something under the skin that glowed under a black light? What if a nutjob goes under cover, and we lose the paper trail. I know…Outside of the law is in violation of the law. All the same…

Watch out, people! 100% of the people in this country are potential victims of psychiatry. 100% of the people in this country are also potential victims of firearm violence. People who have never known the inside of a psychiatric facility are more likely to be the perpetuators of firearm violence than people who have been imprisoned in state hospitals. We are depriving innocent people of the means to defend themselves.

US Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Rights Protection

The US Supreme Court made a very good decision recently. The story is found in an AP release, Court reinstates Va. mental health lawsuit.

The Supreme Court says Virginia’s advocate for the mentally ill can sue to force state officials to provide records relating to deaths and injuries at state mental health facilities.

What was going on here?

The Virginia mental health commissioner was trying to hamstring the state’s protection and advocacy agency by refusing to hand over information pertinent to human rights violations in that state. The state, in the person of the commissioner, was trying to use 11th Amendment of the US Constitution, an amendment designed to protect one state from intrusive actions on the part of another state, to justify not submitting to such a suit.

VOPA, Virginia’s protection and advocacy agency, can’t do its job if it’s denied access to information.

Protection and advocacy agencies are oversight agencies that were federally mandated after an uproar arose over institutional mistreatment during the 1970s.

The justices, in a 6-2 ruling Tuesday, reinstated the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy lawsuit against Virginia’s mental health commissioner and two other officials.

This was the right decision to come to, and our Supreme Court justices deserve praise for arriving at it.

The federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., had dismissed the state advocate’s lawsuit. The issue for the court was whether the Eleventh Amendment prohibits a state agency from going to federal court to sue officials of the same state.

This decision sets a precedent that is bound to help other states better protect their citizens in institutional settings from harm and abuse as well.

Study links suicide rate to economic conditions

Recent research indicates that the suicide rate has a lot to do with the shape of the economy. There are more suicides in times of economic hardship, and fewer suicides in times of economic prosperity findings suggest. The study I’m referring to makes it look like suicide is less genetically determined than some people might have thought it was. This is according to a story in Physorg.com, Suicide rises and falls with economy: US study [shows].

The study pointed to peaks and valleys.

Suicide rates among people of typical working age, 25 to 64, were highest during the Great Depression in 1932, and lowest around the time of the dot-com Internet boom in 2000, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study showed dips and rises.

The CDC findings, published in the American Journal of Public Health, show a series of higher suicide rates in times of trouble, such as during the oil crisis of 1973-75, and the double-dip recession of 1980-82.

Suicide rates were low during times of expansion.

Suicide rates were lowest when the economy was growing, such as the post World War II period (1939-1945) and during an extended period of financial expansion from 1991 to 2001.

This is curious because suicide has often been associated with “mental illness”, and “mental illness” is thought by some mental health professionals to have a biological basis. Now whether the poverty gene is connected to the suicide gene, and the prosperity gene is connected to the survival gene, the article didn’t speculate on.

Think Again

An article at Physorg.com is entitled Rethinking Psychiatry to which I reply with this post titled, plainly enough, Think Again.

“I remember one meeting, when I told a psychiatry professor about a study I had read showing that no two psychiatrists could agree better than chance on diagnosis,” says retired Washington University psychiatrist George E. Murphy, MD. “He said, ‘But then our diagnoses don’t mean anything,’ and I replied, ‘That’s exactly true.’ And he never spoke to me again, because that was too bitter a pill to swallow.”

He should try some of the pills given to patients.

If no two psychiatrists can agree on a diagnosis any better than chance what does that say about diagnosis? It isn’t such an art after all, is it? In fact, it’s bunk.

Here we have this article that is going to tell us how medical model psychiatry at St. Louis’s Washington University took the baton from what it saw as an “unscientific” psychoanalytic approach, and ran with it. A few years down the line, now that we’re dealing with doctors who have minimal contact with patients, doctors who do nothing but push pills, and pills that kill and maim people, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea.

Today, the Department of Psychiatry has ambitious plans on the horizon. Though DSM-V is in process, they are more focused on DSM-VI, some 15 years ahead. By then, they will have functional information about brain structures from a major brain-mapping project soon to be undertaken by David C. Van Essen, PhD, professor and head of anatomy and neurobiology. Through his work, they hope to understand the breakdown of brain systems in psychiatric disorders and design targeted therapies to treat them.

I kind of think these doctors are looking in a very limited fashion at “targeted therapies” that involve little else besides the drugging of patients.

If you think they will be any closer 15 years from now than they will be in 2 years when the DSM-V comes out to finding the “mental illness” germ, bug, gene, kink, whatever, I have to laugh in your face. If you think I’m not laughing at you, think again. Nonetheless they like to call themselves “scientific”.

“Our job — what we have inherited — is to be troublemakers, and I like that,” [Charles F.] Zorumski [head of the Washington University department of psychiatry] says. “We want to keep reminding people that we haven’t done enough and to keep asking: ‘Where is the next thing coming from?’”

Simplicismo say, “Question: how are jobs like diseases of the mind? Answer: they are both inherited.”

Dr. Zorumski called himself a “troublemaker”. Okay. Funny thing, I’ve called myself the same thing. My job as a human rights activist is to make trouble for the likes of this self-proclaimed troublemaker. I guess that makes me a troublemaker’s troublemaker. I see the harm that has been done. I want to rip the blinders off Dr. Zorumski that prevent him from seeing the truth of the horrific situation he has helped to create. As for the trouble, it’s no trouble, really.

When is an investigation not an investigation

I scanned an amusing, to my way of thinking, interview in MedScape Today News recently with the misleading heading ADHD Diagnosis a Detective’s Job. The subheading is also very curious, An Expert Interview With Julie Dopheide, PharmD, BCPP. Her credentials are sticking way out there, aren’t they? You don’t see many interviews billing themselves as amateur interviews anyway. This interview apparently grew out of a discussion at the American Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting and Exposition, held March 25 to 28 in Seattle, Washington. Druggists have conventions, do they?

You need to do a little detective work and figure out all the possible causes of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

Translation: you need an over-educated, minister evangelist of the DSM (i.e. a shrink), to give your child a psychiatric label, and make a cripple for life of that child. Over-bearing parents have a tendency to do that kind of thing. Your regular gumshoe, if he was astute enough, might be able to see through the whole business.

There really are underlying brain changes that have been uncovered. There are changes in dopamine receptor density in unmedicated patients with ADHD, compared with controls. Other studies have found a delay in cortical thickening. These children don’t develop their executive functioning and decision-making capabilities until later, and that predisposes them to inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

A growing brain is a growing brain. It’s important to remember that you are dealing with children here and not with adults. If the child’s executive functioning and decision-making capabilities aren’t fully developed yet, maybe that is because the child is a child and not an adult. Labeling less mature children with ADHD is a practice that is not in the best interest of the child. Inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity are all characteristics of childhood, and such traits aren’t the symptoms of disease.

There are both short-term and long-term effects of these medications. Parents are often really worried about their child becoming a drug addict or developing a problem with drugs if they are given a drug that has abuse potential. But a large trial showed that ADHD itself is associated with a larger rate of substance abuse and delinquency, and there’s no evidence that giving a stimulant makes them more likely to get into drug or alcohol abuse. Clinicians and family members have to be more vigilant for abuse with ADHD patients generally, because they may be self-medicating with an addictive drug.

Apples and oranges…Is it the drug or is it the label? When you’ve got a kid on a wrong track sometimes you just need to change tracks. Labeling leads to further labeling, troubles lead to more serious troubles, and apparently taking prescription drugs leads to further drug taking.

Read this interview a little further, between the lines, of course, and you will see concretely in terms of changes in physical health why there are better things to do with children than to label them with ADHD, and put them on powerful growth retarding chemical compounds.

Unfortunately, desperate and sometimes over-burdened parents don’t always tend to be so astute as your typical private dick.