Are our children guinea-pigs for psychiatry ?
Survey on the medicalization of childhood problems


imagePierre Vican is an independant journalist and a specialist of health and welfare issues. He wonders about how valid the psychiatric notions applied to children are, such as the « ODD » – oppositional defiant disorder – (sic) or « hyperactivity ». With clarity and accuracy, he addresses the ethical aspects regarding the risk of behavioural and psychic manipulation of children by psycho-stimulants which are amphetamins.
He makes known that the composition of Ritalin and Concerta, intended to treat ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder with or without hyperactivity – is similar to cocain.

He discloses the long-term consequences of this chemotherapy supposed to « balance again » the brain of children with school difficulties or whose behaviour is considered « abnormal ». He worries about the amazing similarity between the current project for the general prevention of mental deviancies in schools and the old pre-war-years eugenist* ambition. Subject to a battery of tests, the design of which is based on the anglo-saxon theories of neurobiologic psychiatry, children will be diagnosed – without real medical examination – and according to subjective criteria widely questionned by the international scientific community. The « pathological » personality which will be detected will lead, as from the age of six – and less – to the administering of psychotropic drugs, the physical and mental harmful effects of which cannot be ignored. Moreover, the children whose personnality will be considered as « non orthodox » run the risk to be filed for the rest of their lives as potentially antisocial or criminal persons, in a « behaviour notebook » appended to their medical record – a police record before this latter one exists.

What does this policy for mental hygien, which is denounced by thousands of observers in a national petition as being willingness to normalize children, draw inspiration from ? From standardized references published in the DSM - Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – the « bible » of the American Association of Psychiatry. The diagnosis cards it contains describe hundreds of psychic pathologies, the basis of which rest on no medical evidence, but the existence of which is voted by a show of hands during so-called « consensus » professionnal meetings !

For this trend of « neuro-biological » psychiatry, the value of a child and his/her future role in the society are determined by biochemical processes which occur in the brain. This branch of psychiatry has never shown any scientifical evidence of the theories it puts forward nor of the mental « pathologies » it defines. In spite of this and its numerous internal inconsistencies, it inspires the political choices of those who govern, as far as public health is concerned, and warmly recommends to prescribe psychotropic drugs, the terrible effects of which have been recognized for long by the medical profession.

Why are the difficulties in learning, reading and studying, which have always been existing, now classified under the « mental disorders » rubric ? Is there not a shift in the American style, as regards this willingness to medicalize behaviours as from the age of three, the majority of which finally appears as completely normal ?

Bad diagnosis make children run rash risks

Reading the criteria for diagnosing ADD shows how nebulous and subjective the psychiatric references to treat young purpils are. Here are three examples concerning children, from the DSM :
« (b) often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities » ;
« (c) often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly »
« (f) often talks excessively »
Who as a mother would not recognize each of her children in this list ? These simplistic criteria in addition to other so scientifically unfounded reflections, are good enough to label a child – without any other examination – as « hyperactive » and subjet him/her to the vicious spiral of drug cure like Ritalin and anti-depressant drugs.

Psycho-stimulants and anti-depressant drugs prescribed to children : same effects as hard drugs
In Pierre Vican’s very well documented book, one discovers that the recommended remedies form the subject of harsh controversies in the scientific circles. Molecules considered as extremely dangerous by many specialists are warmly recommended. Their side effects can go so far as to involve addiction phenomena and cause serious lesions, especially heart accidents, as well as to come to self-inflicted injuries, death, suicide attempts and action to commit a suicide.

These risks are passed over in silence and one goes from simple questionning to perplexity, to conclude with the author that one must really be worried about the system which parents who look for a solution for their children are thrown into.

The United Nations sound the alarm bell

The United Nations Committee for the Rights of the Child has examined last October, the mis-diagnosis of children and the administering to them powerful drugs intended to treat ADD.
In its final conclusions, one can read, « The Committe fells also concerned by the pieces of information showing that the Attention Deficit Disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADD/H) is mis-diagnosed and therefore, psycho-stimulants are too often prescribed to treat it, the harmful effects of which are yet better and better known. [.] »

Children on Ritalin die

Fred Baughman, paediatrician, member of the American Academy of Neurology, one of the leading international experts of psychical disorders of the child and teenager, testified in November 2001 at the Parliament Assembly of the European Council. His report, the title of which is, Accusation against diagnostic of ADD and linked disorders and their treatment by stimulants, is particularly poignant : « Children whom I am going to talk to you about are no more hyperactive or no more inattentive, they are dead[.] », he says.
Dead of what ? Of treatment by Ritalin which their parents were obliged, by the school sanitary services, to appy to their children, on the pretence that they were « hyperactive ».

Examples of questions raised in this book :

Is the cause of hyperactivity known or still unknown by the specialist of paedo-psychiatry ?
Do you know that the use of Ritalin and other psycho-stimulants for purpils with difficulties does not really improve performance at school, which is the opposite of what psychiatrists who prescribe them assert ?
The methylphenidate, the Ritaline molecule, is listed in the official list of prohibited substances of the Anti-doping World Code
Modiotal, an other substance being studied and liable to be used on children, is the stimulant used by Foreign Legion soldiers.
Is there a relationship between the unexplained violent acts and slaughters in some schools and prescription of psychotropic drugs to the pupils ?
What are the origins of the child psychic disorders currently neglected by paedopsychiatry ?
What natural remedies to avoid psychiatric drugs ?
[*eugenist, eugenism : eu- (Greek word : « good ») + genos : « gene, race »].

Book in French.