You take the position that ADHD and many of these other psychiatric
diagnoses are fraudulent. Why?
The American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual, the DSM,
lists 18 behaviors, from which a teacher can check off behaviors she observes
in the potential patient or student. Likewise, the parent or caregiver does
the same thing. In the current DSM, if one checks six or more of the nine, the
individual is deemed to have ADHD.
Let there be no mistake about it. Present-day psychiatry, led by the National
Institute of Mental Health in league with the American Psychiatric Association
and the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, represents ADHD ...
to be a biologic abnormality of the brain, a so-called neurobiologic disorder.
Their representation to the entire public and to all the teachers and all
mental health professionals is that, having ticked off six or more of these
nine behaviors, one has diagnosed an organic or a physical abnormality of the
Their neurobiologic propaganda has been so intense for so many years, that the
country believes in this. This is the characterization of ADHD that virtually
all physicians give to potential patients or parents of patients. This is the
characterization that educators give to parents of students in schools. ...
If psychiatry and the NIMH were saying, "We're only diagnosing troublesome
behaviors in a normal individual. And we are going to remedy these with
behavior modification or with talk therapy or with family therapy or with
educational techniques," that would be entirely true from a scientific point of
view, and entirely valid. But as Dr. William Cary said at the NIH consensus
conference, "You've got five out of nine, and you're quite all right. You get
six out of nine, and suddenly your brain turns to mush; it turns abnormal.
I've got a lot of trouble with that." Why can't we just call them normal?
We've got probably, conservatively ... 6 million children in the United
States on medications for ADHD and a total of 9 million with neurobiologic
psychiatric diagnoses of one sort or another, on one or more psychotropic
drugs. Here we're talking about as many kids as you've got people in New York
City, and to me, this is a catastrophe. These are all normal children.
Psychiatry has never validated ADHD as a biologic entity, so their fraud and
their misrepresentation is in saying to the parents of the patients in the
office, saying to the public of the United States, that this and every other
psychiatric diagnosis is, in fact, a brain disease.
Establishing whether it's actually a biological brain disease seems to be a
less important issue. The question is whether there aren't certain conditions
with symptoms that can't be aided and addressed with psychotropic medications.
What's wrong with that?
Well, what they've done essentially is to propose that there are children who,
up to the time they walk down the schoolhouse path, seem to everyone to be
entirely normal. But what they have proposed is that there are children who
are misbehaving at school and at home who are inherently unable to achieve
self-control because they've got something wrong in their brain. This ignores
whether or not their parenting is optimal, and whether or not their de facto
parenting in school or disciplining at school in the hands of a teacher is
optimal or not. There aren't many schools, or homes for that matter, where
one can say that parenting and schooling are optimal. I know our schools in
California are in just horrible straits.
But in the real world, parenting will never be optimal. Schooling is rarely
optimal. But we've got a class of people telling us, psychiatrists and family
physicians, that there is a drug that can help children that have a certain set
of symptoms. What's wrong with that?
I think that the deficiency is, in fact, in the adults ... To maintain that the deficiency is in the child and not to require any correction of the adults who are responsible for the development of the child is a terrible misstep.
... By denying that there is any problem at all in the adults, and just
accepting that it's a chemical imbalance and you're going to take a pill for
it, I think you're going to leave unaddressed and undone ... things that must be done, and should be done, and are being done in proper
homes, and are being done in parochial and private schools throughout the
... You're saying it's willful negligence on the part of those people that
are prescribing these drugs?
I think there are people within the hierarchy of ADHD research who are actively
representing this and other neurobiologic mental disease constructs as
diseases, when they know they are absolutely not--when they know there is zero
What do you mean, "They know it's not a biologic disease?" What do
... They know the illusions of disease and biology that their
pseudoscientific biologic research weaves... . They are intentionally
deceiving the public.
That's quite a charge--that psychiatrists are intentionally deceiving the
public. How so?
In an op-ed piece in the Washington Post, Lawrence Diller, who is
the author of Running on Ritalin, pointed out that, in the past 10
years, the public and professionals in the United States have come to believe
that psychiatric or mental illnesses are biologic diseases, and that they are
then logically treatable with pills. What he didn't say was that, in that
period of time, not only had professionals and the public come to
believe--they've been led to believe that these things were actually
biologic--that they were actually brain abnormalities or brain
diseases--absent any proof.
That representation is very evident in all of CHADD's literature, primarily.
CHADD's primary job has been to convey to the public that ADHD is in fact a
brain disease. And they persist in calling it neurobiologic; they persist in
calling it genetic; they persist in saying that the myths pertaining to ADHD
include such things as it's something you can control on your own, or something
that behavioral therapy helps, or that it's due to bad parenting. Their whole
informational packet about ADHD is that there's something inherently wrong in
the brain of the child; that that's why the child has ADHD; that's why the
child cannot control himself or herself; that's why the child needs drug
You've said that ADHD doesn't have a biological marker. But that's true of
the majority of times that someone comes to see a doctor, unless they have a
broken leg or an obvious malady. They're diagnosed on the basis of symptoms.
The art of medicine is to read symptoms and guess what the problem is and apply
drug therapy or some other kind. So are you misleading people by making the
point that there's no biological marker?
... All physicians take a history, and that's most important in the
diagnostic process. But history-taking remains in the realm of the subjective.
You get cued as to where to go on--with your physical examination or with
laboratory diagnosis or with radiologic diagnosis--in your search for objective
evidence of an abnormality. So I may fully suspect in the history-taking that
the spells I'm being told about are seizures. I might, on the other hand,
suspect that they're ... fainting spells due to cardiac arrhythmia. But
certainly, before I would start electroconvulsive therapy, which is usually
lifelong once a patient has been diagnosed as epileptic, I would need to find
abnormalities on an EEG.
But that doesn't always apply in many cases. How would you identify someone
early on, biologically, as having Parkinson's disease?
There are all sorts of objective things that the physician sees with the
typical stooped, still posture as the patient comes into the office.
How is that different from a child who's jumping off the walls? That's
something you can see.
Yes, but ... children's level of activities vary tremendously from one
location to the other, from one to the other. ...
I'm not a doctor or a neurologist. But I know I will talk to doctors who
tell me that, 70 percent of the time, they're confronted with symptoms, and we
don't find biological markers before diagnosis or prescription.
There are a lot of ... busy family practitioners, busy pediatricians, busy
general internists, who, under the pressure of time, do make diagnoses and do
prescribe, based primarily on history. But when it comes to diagnosing
something that's serious--and if we're talking something abnormal about a
child's brain or something abnormal about an adult's brain--that has lifelong
consequences. A diagnosis of ADHD, most psychiatrists will tell you, is
going to require lifelong psychotropic medication, usually Schedule II control
psychostimulants, amphetamines, of which Ritalin is one. That's an
extraordinarily serious diagnosis. ...
You've got to demonstrate the characteristic confirmatory physical abnormality
before you obligate that patient to lifelong treatment. I can suspect diabetes
based on the history, but I've got to confirm it. I've got to know whether the
blood sugar is 420 or 800. ... I can't ever start insulin treatment or any
oral anti-diabetic treatment without confirmatory evidence.
Why did it happen that there are all these kids on drugs?
... Physicians have half the number of new patients that they had in 1965.
To make ends meet financially, they have to invent things to do. Psychiatry and
the pharmaceutical industry have become financial economic partners. And
frankly, part of their economic compensation has been to develop a strategy
whereby they claimed, without science, that all mental illnesses, all things
behavioral and emotional, are physical brain dysfunctions or abnormalities.
Representing such things as depression, anxiety, conduct disorder, ADHD,
oppositional defiant disorder, and learning disabilities as diseases, absent
any scientific proof, is to deceive the public. It preempts the public's right
to informed consent in every single case.
... As Diller pointed out, they've led the public to believe that
these are brain diseases, chemical imbalances--making it logical for the
public to think that a pill is going to be the solution. ...
But the charge that the psychiatrists and the pharmaceuticals have joined
together in a joint common mercenary interest is quite a charge. How can you
I'm not the only one saying this. In October 1995, in the DEA
background paper on methylphenidate, which is Ritalin, the DEA says that
they have been contacted by the United Nations International Narcotics Control
Board (INCB), that had expressed concern about the financial ties of
Ciba-Geigy, then the manufacturer of Ritalin, to CHADD. They noted that CHADD
had received over $775,000 from Ciba-Geigy, I think up through 1994, and
eventually the figure went over $1 million. The INCB charged CHADD with being
a vehicle for marketing a controlled substance directly to the public in
violation of the Controlled Substances Act of 1971, and international statute
by which all countries, all signatories, agreed.
Ciba-Geigy confessed at that point that CHADD was their conduit to the public.
CHADD personnel and NIMH personnel were regularly in-house at the Department of
Education office of Special Education authoring ADHD materials. I think CHADD
made a grant, I believe, of $700,000-some to the Office of Special Education
to make a video about ADHD. Then when John Merrow, in his video production in
about 1995 ... pointed out the financial ties between the Ritalin
manufacturer, Ciba-Geigy and CHADD, I think that money was then given back by
the Department of Education, back to CHADD.
But CHADD is an interest group. We know that CHADD is in favor of diagnosis
and prescription of Ritalin. Psychiatry as a whole supports this
As the diagnostic criteria are set forth in the American Psychiatric
Association's Diagnostic Statistical Manual, psychiatry ceased specifically
identifying entities that appeared in the manual as either organic or
neurologic, or non-organic or psychiatric. And they were accused, in fact, by
myself in correspondence to Clinical Psychiatric News, back in 1994, of
doing this to facilitate their misrepresentation of things psychiatric as
being organic, as being actual diseases.
In the same issue of Clinical Psychiatric News, Theodore Perelman, a
psychiatrist, pointed out to the leader of the DSM committee, Dr. Pincus, that
one could readily get the opinion that they've done away with the
organic/non-organic distinction specifically because they were trying to hide
something or blur the lines. And this was a pointed accusation by one of their
In order to make more money?
In order to facilitate their representation of these things to the public as
brain abnormalities, as brain diseases. So it's a psychiatry-wide strategy,
and a psychopharmaceutical-wide strategy.
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