Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Great ADD/ADHD Myth Busted

This just in from London:
Have hyperactive kids been misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD?
Dr Robert Spitzer, the psychiatrist who identified attention deficit disorder - the condition blamed for the bad behaviour of hundreds of thousands of children - has admitted that many may not really be ill.

Dr Robert Spitzer said that up to 30 per cent of youngsters classified as suffering from disruptive and hyperactive conditions could have been misdiagnosed.They may simply be showing perfectly normal signs of being happy or sad, he said.
Ok, so is this guy and his cadre of physicians going to be able to repair the millions of kids who have had their lives destroyed because they were mis-diagnosed and unnecessarily medicated? What about the kids who committed suicide because they were being poisoned by Ritalin and related medications? How about the parents who spent a gazillion dollars in office visits and medications? Who is going to make them whole?

Does he just get to say, "oh sorry... my bad", and get away with it?

Dr. Spitzer (and I use the term Doctor very loosely) developed the bible of mental disorder classification, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, in the 1970s and 1980s, which identified dozens of new conditions including ADD and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The DSM came under much scrutiny and controversy this past year because most of the experts who prepared "the world's leading medical guide to mental illness" had undisclosed financial relationships with drug companies that presented potential conflicts of interest!
Oh gee.. what a surprise!!! (NOT)

Because of the DSM and the pharmaceutical companies working to push their medications, hundreds of thousands of children have been diagnosed with ADD, a so-called behavioral disorder linked to poor attention span, and ADHD, which adds an element of hyperactivity. These "disorders" were characterized by disruptive and restless behavior because of supposed difficulty focusing attention on specific tasks. Very young children were diagnosed with this "condition". Millions were put on medications.

Um..newsflash for those bonehead doctors... kids are supposed to be rambunctious and annoying little trouble makers who flit from one thing to another.. for some, that is how they explore and experience the world. They must be taught gently how to deal calmly in life. Of course it doesn't help to fill them up with sugar and all the other additive garbage that's in our poisoned food supply. No wonder the poor dears are all wound up! But Doc Spitzer had so many of us duped into thinking they needed a Ritalin fix to make them "normal".

Yup - all part of the "disease mongering" (aka medicalization of normal life) that is going on for the benefit of Big Pharma. There's a lot of money to be made from telling healthy people they're sick.

Dr. Spitzer, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University in New York, the very same people who brought us mental health screening called TeenScreen, now says the classification led to many people being diagnosed as medically disordered when their mood swings and behavior were simply normal feelings of happiness and sadness.

Gee - What's up with this Spitzer guy? Is he developing a conscience? Maybe he's having difficulty sleeping at night or facing himself in the mirror. They actually have drugs to help him with that.

(Hat Tip: Ken K.)


P Henry said...

In the early 90's my sister's son was diagnosed with ADD (right gender?) after 1 week on the drug my sister the school nurse took him off the meds and put him in a private school.
No problems and he just graduated from Wesleyan University.

It's been generally agreed it was parents demanded something medical wrong with their kids, not their parenting. Doctors wanting a solution and to make customer's happy and school administrators wanting quiet well behaved kids.

Now where were all the State Child Advocates? You can never find a socialist when you need one.

Mary Nix said...

There is a book that I highly recommend, "The Wildest Colts Make the Best Horses", by John Breeding, PHD.

You can learn more here:

I learned about the book while interviewing Jan Hunt from The Natural Child Project. She addresses the ADHD issue in an article she wrote: Subjective Vs. Objective Labels: A Plea For Occam's Razor. You can read the article here:

Anonymous said...

You really need to learn more about ADHD/ADD before you try to "educate" others about it, or better yet, why don't you walk in someone elses shoes. My kid can not function without the meds. It does not "dope" him up or make him act like a "zombie" like people against meds like others to believe. Instead it helps him be able to read a book, help him make wise decisions like "maybe I should look both ways before I cross the road" or "maybe trying to fly off the top of the monkey bars is not a good idea". Without his meds his brain is so befudled, he can't make those decisions. I not saying that all kids that are on meds need them. I'm sure that their are kids that are on them that shouldn't be, but I'm really sick of people lumping it all together and saying stuff like "ADD Myth". There is no myth about it!!! It is a real condition that real children have and suffer from. It's the victims of a very terrible condition that get ridiculed because others do not understand it. It is easier to believe it is just from "bad parenting" or from "undisciplined children" instead of believing it a condition that children actually suffer from. My kid is not undisciplined!!! I'm not a bad parent!!! I'm a pretty stricted, Christian, homeschool parent who aches everyday I see my son suffer. I ache every time someone tries to tell me and other that there really is no ADD, that I should just be disciplining my child more. People need to be more educated in the right way about this horrible condition (and yes, for some kids it is horrible).

Judy Aron said...

To Anonymous - First I don't know why you'd want to be anonymous on such an important issue to you - second, I am glad meds help your kid and third - I never said you were a bad parent.

The message here is that for the majority of kids who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD it IS a myth. Dr. Spitzer pretty much said so himself. A very small percentage of kids truly have a problem (which may be more of an organic brain dysfunction then just attention deficit or hyperactivity) and millions others are being misdiagnosed and placed on unnecessary medications which can and does ruin their lives.

It appears, unfortunately, that you have a lot of anger and guilt over this. I wish you well and hope that whatever treatments you find for your child works, but please know that even though you may benefit from certain medications I have also seen and heard of many more kids who have been drugged unnecessarily and big pharma truly is doing them a big disservice as is Dr. Spitzer.

Furthermore I have seen kids who were labeled ADHD in school, were brought home to be homeschooled and suddenly their illness disappeared. There is something to be said about that as well.

LoveMyTanker said...

I felt, since the rise in diagnosis, that ADD and ADHD (although some may truly have both/either) were simply becoming excuses, by the lack of patience in our society, the desire to give birth and immediately have children become well behaved little adults. Many children have been put on meds just to tone down normal behavior, especially boys.

This is a good book: The ADHD Fraud: How Psychiatry Makes "Patients" of Normal Children

My children are homeschooled, both boys and my youngest would have almost certainly been recommended by teachers for possible ADD/ADHD treatment had we put him in public school. Instead we know his actions are due to his personality, he is just like his father :) and we adjust our teaching methods to his needs. In light of our doing so, he actually out preforms his older brother in some areas. It is all about the teaching methods and we can do what is needed for the individual child while homeschooling and without medications that, in the end, only change personalities to what society deems "better behavior"

For us it is about teaching each of our children responsibility for themselves and for their own behavior, good or bad. They must learn self control instead of using medications as crutch or excuse for their behavior.

Again, I understand some people/children may actually have ADD/ADHD and need medication or other help, but I feel that our society is too quick to medicate everything as a quick solution.

sharon said...

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eban2 said...

For all of the naysayers, PLEASE, PLEASE Read the following information about what Dr. Spitzer actually stated at:

Thank You