When School Demands That You Get ADHD Meds for Your Child
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed mental illness in children and yet, there is no scientifically valid exam to test for it. On top of that, there is no data at all to indicate that ADHD is due to a physical brain malfunction or imbalance.
In case you think I’ve just made this up, here’s what the National Institute of Health (NIH), the government agency in charge of all things mental health-related has to say, “We do not have an independent, valid test for ADHD, and there is no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction.”
So whether or not your child is officially diagnosed with ADHD simply depends on the psychiatrist you stumble upon. And your school’s psychiatrist can actually have a say as to whether your kid will have to attend class on meds.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) Has an Opinion Too
The other government agency in charge of giving direction about mental health is the Center for Disease Control (CDC), who recommends policy for doctors, schools, and everyone who is involved in the physical and mental health field. The teacher in your child’s public school classroom is likely voicing an opinion that has filtered down from the CDC. Despite the agreed upon fact that there is no data and no valid test to establish an ADHD diagnosis, the CDC says that 11 percent of American children ages 4 to 17 have it. But the exam still remains arbitrary.
It’s hard to understand how that many kids have such a serious mental illness when there is no test for it. It seems to be just a matter of opinion for who has it and who doesn’t. The standard diagnostic tool is a list of behaviors. If there is no research data that concludes it is a biological brain disorder/condition, and it is diagnosed by a list of behaviors, how could there be medication for it?
The American Psychiatric Association Weighs In
The most influential professional association for mental health workers is The American Psychiatric Association (APA). If there were conclusive research about ADHD, they’d be likely to know and use it. But there is an enormous discrepancy between their figures and those of the CDC. The APA declares that 5 percent of American children have the psychiatric disorder named ADHD. But even this much lower estimation is based on reported “behaviors”... no brain scan, no x-ray, no genetic testing—nothing biologically based.
The Behavioral Checklist
You may be wondering what are the criteria for diagnosing ADHD and recommending psychiatric medications? This is the behavioral checklist used by the National Institute of Health (NIH):
- Gets distracted easily and forget things often
- Switches too quickly from one activity to the next
- Has trouble with directions
- Daydreams too much
- Has trouble finishing tasks like homework or chores
- Loses toys, books, and school supplies often
- Fidgets and squirms a lot
- Talks nonstop and interrupts people
- Runs around a lot
- Touches and plays with everything they see
- Is very impatient
- Blurts out inappropriate comments
- Has trouble controlling their emotions
Sounds like a lot of little kids, doesn’t it? Actually, it almost sounds like the definition of being a kid! How do you think your little one would do against a checklist like that?!
The Teacher’s Role
The road to a lifelong psychiatric mental illness diagnosis and labeling could start with something as simple as a teacher’s concern about your child’s focus and fidgeting in class, along with her lament that his learning ability would be compromised. She may also indicate that kids with this disability qualify for “special services”, which would be beneficial. But you need the diagnosis if you want the special services.
You may have even gone so far as to have him (3 times more boys than girls are diagnosed with ADHD) tested by a psychiatrist. An ADHD diagnosis is given and drugs recommended, and now you are beginning to get nervous.
So What Will Happen to Your Child Once Diagnosed?
Even 5 percent of children having a mental illness diagnosis is alarming, but when it reaches the government estimate of 11 percent (and climbing), there are many questions to ask. First of all, what happens to a child who is diagnosed with this psychiatric illness? What are the medications recommended? The National Institute for Health (NIH) tells us that ADHD is incurable but stimulant medication often helps. Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexadrine are a few of the most frequently prescribed drugs for children with attention deficit/hyperactivity diagnosis. There are currently 8.5 million children taking drugs for “psychiatric conditions”. Many of these ADHD drugs are ones which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency categorizes in the same class of highly addictive substances as cocaine, morphine, and opium.
Your Parental Rights After Diagnosis
These are your rights at this point:
Demand to see the x-ray, brain scan, or genetic testing that proves your child has a physical brain disorder. There isn’t one. You can quote many prominent psychiatrists who disavow the ADHD diagnosis, with arguments like “Psychiatry has never been driven by science. They have no biological or genetic basis for these illnesses and the National Institutes of Mental Health are totally committed to the pharmacological line. There is a great deal of scientific evidence that stimulants cause brain damage with long-term use, yet there is no evidence that these mental illnesses such as ADHD, exist.” — Peter Breggin, Psychiatrist
If drugs are recommended for your child, print off summaries of international drug warnings/studies on whatever type of drug is being recommended and provide this to the doctor/psychiatrist recommending drugs and ask if they are aware of the international studies and warnings on these drug risks (unfortunately, many doctors get their information on drug safety from pharmaceutical representatives)
A Watchdog Organization for Your Child
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is a resource for parents who are caught up in the ADHD controversies. The organization describes itself as a “non-profit, non-political, non-religious mental health watchdog.” From their site, you can access and print out the lists of international studies and warnings about each of the drugs typically recommended for children diagnosed with ADHD.
How will you protect your child against the school’s demand to put him on meds?