Why are the A.D.H.D. diagnosis and the use of stimulants so prevalent in America? The idea that American children are somehow genetically or even culturally predisposed has no scientific or

Why are the A.D.H.D. diagnosis and the use of stimulants so prevalent in America? The idea that American children are somehow genetically or even culturally predisposed has no scientific or common sense basis. For several decades, starting in the 1970s, drug-company marketing has focused on selling the diagnosis and the drugs to American parents and teachers. As I first documented in my book “ ” in 1991, “Astroturf” organizations like Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and National Alliance on Mental Illness masquerade as representing families while taking millions of dollars from drug companies in support of their promotion of psychiatric medication for children. The National Institute of Mental Health, the American Psychiatric Association and even the American Neurological Association have promoted the A.D.H.D. diagnosis and stimulant medication, which leads to considerable business for mental health clinicians. As the American market gets saturated, promotional efforts are increasing in other countries, like Canada, Britain, Australia and Germany, which are also experiencing increased rates of diagnosing and drugging children. In Australia, the controversy has been especially heated in recent years. Everywhere that A.D.H.D. and stimulants are promoted, they substitute for needed modern reforms in education and family life. In all cases of so-called A.D.H.D., the diagnosis is harmful. The child instead needs a real medical and psychosocial educational evaluation, and usually the child will quickly respond to improved teaching and parenting. We are diagnosing and drugging millions of our children instead of providing them the improved educational and family life that they truly need.

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