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Mental Health Watchdog Calls for Shift Away from Labeling and Drugging Children

Shift Away From Labeling and Drugging Children
CCHR says studies confirm subjective ADHD screening can lead to dangerous psychotropic drug prescribing, needing a paradigm shift in 2024 to protect children and youths

LOS ANGELES - PrZen -- The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, a mental health industry watchdog, emphasizes the need for a paradigm shift in the new year, moving away from the prevalent biomedical model—primarily centered on psychotropic drugs—for addressing challenges in troubled children and youths. Aligned with the latest World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations (UN) guidelines on mental health and human rights, the group calls for an ousting of psychiatric diagnostic criteria for which there are no medical or scientific tests to confirm.[1] Citing a recent study in the Journal of Attention Disorders, CCHR underscores the subjectivity in diagnosing Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), contributing to the 9.5 million Americans taking stimulant drugs. The study reveals a significant rate of false positives when using ADHD scales and screening measures for diagnosis.[2]

The study's researchers, from Queens University, Canada, found that "clinicians consistently and significantly overestimate the probability of disease/disorder both before and after obtaining test results, which may contribute to overdiagnosis of disorders." CCHR says because ADHD symptoms are so subjective, this leads to children, youths and adults being quickly prescribed potentially addictive stimulants, antipsychotics or other psychotropic drugs.

They also point out that because of the subjectivity, "plenty of studies have found that college-age kids have an easy time feigning the 'symptoms' of ADHD to obtain stimulants for recreational use."

The ambiguous symptoms of ADHD include being unable to sit still, constantly fidgeting, being unable to concentrate on tasks, excessive physical movement, excessive talking, being unable to wait their turn, acting without thinking, and interrupting conversations.[3] It is not, as some misleadingly claim, a "brain chemistry dysfunction" or "brain" disease, requiring a drug to correct.

Australian psychiatrist, Dr. Niall McLaren, declares that "anybody with any sort of difficulty is being relabeled as mentally ill and put on drugs. It happens because it can. The labels are so loose [that] you could diagnose a ham sandwich with inattentive-type ADHD."[4]

CCHR points to another recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry that raises concern about prescribing antipsychotics for off-label indications—those not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—thereby exposing consumers, including children, to unnecessary risks.[5]

The researchers found that ADHD, so-called disruptive behavior disorder, and depression are the most common diagnoses associated with antipsychotic prescriptions for youths.

The study indicates that antipsychotics are linked with elevated risk of cardiovascular and total mortality in older adults, but there are now heightened concerns that the drugs could increase the risk of death in younger populations. The authors wrote: "Antipsychotic medications have potentially life-threatening cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, sedative, and other adverse effects in both children and adults, even if infrequent."

Experts say there are no physical tests referred to in either of the psychiatric diagnostic manuals such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM 5) or the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10).

Dr. Sami Timmi, a British child and adolescent psychiatrist, highlights: "The failure of basic science research to reveal any specific biological marker for psychiatric diagnoses means that current psychiatric diagnostic systems do not share the same scientific security…as the rest of medicine."[6]

As such, "if someone believes ADHD is a 'real' disorder that exists in their brains and is potentially lifelong, that person and those who know them may come to act according to this belief, thus helping to fulfill its prophecy."

U.S. psychiatrist Prof. Allen Frances, chair of the DSM-IV task force, noted that the youngest kids in any given classroom are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and receive stimulant drugs. This has been found in classrooms across the world, from the U.S. to Finland and Taiwan.[7]

Before he died in 2017, Dr. Keith Connors—the "father" of ADHD, who developed the Connors scale for ADHD screening and advocated the use of stimulant treatment—relented, saying the overdiagnosis of ADHD was "an epidemic of tragic proportions."[8]

Dr. McLaren adds that the recent UN/WHO guideline "is a direct challenge to psychiatry's insatiable drive to medicalize the slightest deviation from 'normal,' e.g. the relentless drive to diagnose ADHD."[9]

Prof. Timimi candidly says that "psychiatric diagnoses are not valid or useful. The use of psychiatric diagnosis increases stigma, does not aid treatment decisions" and "is associated with worsening long-term prognosis for mental health problems…." He suggests that formal psychiatric diagnostic systems "should be abolished."[10]

Dr. McLaren further states, "Psychiatry's goal, as we know too well, is to medicalize everything they can get their pudgy hands on."[11] "The so-called driving force in psychiatry has been the drugs."[12]

It's a lucrative market that helps fuel diagnosing. In 2016, Prof. Frances, wrote, "We are currently spending more than $10 billion a year for ADHD drugs, a fifty-fold increase in just 20 years. Much of this is wasted medicating children who have been mislabeled."[13] The global ADHD drugs market is now estimated to reach $25.05 billion in 2024.[14]

To prevent this, CCHR says, unscientific labels must be dismissed, and the dangerous drugs prescribed to treat children's troubled lives. It stresses the need for anyone who has a child who has been damaged by psychiatric drugs or other behavioral treatments to report the abuse to CCHR.

[1] www.cchrint.org/2023/09/18/who-guideline-condemns-coercive-psychiatric-practices/ citing: www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/documents/publications/WHO-OHCHR-Mental-health-human-rights-and-legislation_web.pdf, pages xvi, xvii

[2] www.madinamerica.com/2023/12/misunderstandings-about-adhd-tests-lead-to-mass-overdiagnosis-researchers-warn/ citing: journals.sagepub.com/doi/epdf/10.1177/10870547231177470

[3] www.nhs.uk/conditions/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/symptoms/

[4] www.niallmclaren.com/p/last-mention-of-adhd-for-the-year

[5] www.uspharmacist.com/article/risk-of-death-in-youth-with-higher-antipsychotic-doses

[6] www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S169726001400009X

[7] www.madinamerica.com/2023/12/misunderstandings-about-adhd-tests-lead-to-mass-overdiagnosis-researchers-warn/

[8] www.huffpost.com/entry/keith-conners-father-of-adhd_b_9558252

[9] www.madinamerica.com/2023/11/the-new-who-and-un-guidance-psychiatry-must-entirely-change/?mc_cid=9908b2d5cf&mc_eid=9b19b423a2

[10] www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S169726001400009X

[11] www.madinamerica.com/2023/11/the-new-who-and-un-guidance-psychiatry-must-entirely-change/?mc_cid=9908b2d5cf&mc_eid=9b19b423a2

[12] www.niallmclaren.com/p/the-genetics-and-politics-of-mental

[13] www.madinamerica.com/2023/12/misunderstandings-about-adhd-tests-lead-to-mass-overdiagnosis-researchers-warn/

[14] finance.yahoo.com/news/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd-220000543.html

Amber Rauscher

Source: Citizens Commission on Human Rights

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