In an interesting article published on Curious Mind Magazine, renowned Harvard University Psychologist Jerome Kagan's analysis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) concludes that it is more of an invented condition rather than a serious illness. Moreover, he thinks that the pharmaceutical industries and psychiatrists invented the disorder because of money-making reasons.
Kagan's reputation precedes him and he had enough courage and professional expertise to compare psychology to a "rotten piece of furniture" - in the article, Kagan is described to take 22nd place on the lists published by USA Academics in 2002, which rank psychologists according to their prominence. It further specified that he classified two places above Ivan Pavlov (of Pavlov's reflex and his dogs), and one place above Carl Jung (arguably, the father of analytic psychology, next to Sigmund Freud).
Kagan was shown to propose a contemptuous evaluation of the pharmaceutical companies, saying they wrongly categorise a ridiculous number of people as mentally ill for their own interest. Given his credibility, maybe it's worth our time to consider his opinion. As a clinician, one might have to make an opinion and decide on what we're actually dealing with say we have to differentially diagnose and suggest to a family that their child has/doesn't have ADHD. Besides, the diagnostic criteria for ADHD is wide and encompassing - often sharing many symptoms with other more common issues. One may be emotionally dysregulated as part of psychological disturbance to issues at home/at school, or could well be responding to difficult and persistent issues growing up, be a manifestation of a developmental stage, or maladjustment. Hence, there is a possibility that Childhood Trauma May Be Mistaken for ADHD (a good article via The Atlantic). All you need is a reason to provide a label for something not well understood. And voila.
Don't take it from us, make up your own opinion and have your say.
Check out Kagan's interview on Spiegel Online where he offers a scathing critique of the mental-health establishment, accusing them of incorrectly classifying millions as mentally ill out of self-interest and greed.
Know who Leon Eisenberg is? He's the "father of ADHD" - learn about what he had said about the disease.
Interested in more of this controversy, check out Psychiatric Drugs Explained by David Healy.
Psychiatric Drugs Explained
By (author) David Healy
Now in its sixth edition, and written by an author internationally recognised in his field, Psychiatric Drugs Explained offers a wealth of information in a handy easy-to-use format. Organised by disorder, and providing a comprehensive review of drug effects, action and side-effects, this fully updated new edition covers the latest drugs on the market, and explores changes in prescribing practice. The author's approach is distinctive and reader-friendly, to help guide mental health professionals through the benefits and impacts of psychotropic drugs. Additional topics include management of disorders including stimulants and drugs for children, cognitive impairment and sleep disorders.
- Includes management of disorders including stimulants and drugs for children, cognitive impairment and sleep disorders.
- Gives particular focus on areas that are of major concern to mental health practitioners including management of dependence and withdrawal and issues of consent, abuse and liability.
- 'User Issues' boxes highlight the most crucial aspects of drug effects and their implications.
- Key references point the reader to the most up-to-date research and literature in the field.
- Fresh design and updated artwork gives added appeal to the volume.
- Organised by disorder this new edition now covers the latest drugs on the market and explores changes in prescribing practice Includes updated references pointing the reader to the most recent research and literature in the field.