The Indepent Herald (New Zealand), Feb. 5, 2003
By Jim Chipp
Are psychiatrists pushing pills to problem kids? Or is it just a conspiracy theory?
The glossy, magazine-sized publication – aimed at educators, politicians, parents and community workers – questions the widespread labelling of personality disorders and suggests chemicals are being used for behaviour control rather than used for therapeutic purposes.
However, Mental Health Commission deputy director and psychiatrist Anthony Duncan says the scientologists’ ideas are a great conspiracy theory, and psychiatrists have nothing to gain by pushing drug company products.
The CCHR claims all children exhibit Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)-like behaviour at times, and that psychiatrists invent new disorders for existing drugs.
CCHR director Steve Green says the psychiatric diagnosing and drugging of children is one of the worst areas of drug abuse.
“We are in effect seeing a legalised form of drug pushing on very young children, which will be viewed in future times as seriously as the abuse of Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital (patients) in the 1970s is seen now.”
The new publication accuses psychiatry of virtually fashioning new mental disorders, then voting their inclusion into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders IV (DSM IV)– psychiatry’s worldwide published reference to abnormalities in human behaviour.
However, Dr Duncan says anti-psychotic drugs are rarely used on children.
Claims that learning and attention disorder treatment drugs, such as Ritalin, are just used to correct behaviour are ludicrous.
“Parents of most children who are on these drugs will laugh at it.”
Anyone who has lived with children with ADHD will be well aware of the drugs’ benefits.
The amphetamine-based stimulants cannot be addictive because they work by stimulating natural brain chemicals, he adds.
That only works to a certain point and overdoses just produce nasty side effects.
Mr Duncan acknowledges there is a kernel of truth in this type of publication, and that gives them a plausibility they do not deserve and makes them hard to refute.
There may be a small number of children on stimulants who should not be.
“The problem with these groups is the egg of their argument is quite right, but then they extrapolate their argument to everything.”
Rather than existing to legitimise new and spurious mental disorders, the diagnostic manual DSM IV is psychiatry’s attempt to introduce consistency for research purposes, Mr Duncan says.
Free copies of Psychiatry – Shattering Your World with Drugs can be obtained by writing to […CCHR address removed…]