Kids who fidget, get distracted or bored easily, talk too much (or too little), defy rules, are not as obedient as some adults may like or have mood swings, are liable to be tagged with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder or other such ills. In short, what used to be known as typical child and adolescent behavior has been redefined as mental illness.
ADHD is the disorder most commonly assigned to kids (over five million in the U.S.). Statistical studies in the U.S. and other nations show boys are far more likely than girls to be branded with ADHD and prescribed stimulants.
A recent article entitled "Sedation nation: The cost of taking boisterous out of boys," reports five times as many Australian boys being medicated with Ritalin than girls. The author asks, "Are we in danger of seeing boyhood itself as a disorder?" She cites an example of a 10-year old very bright and sporty boy who got into a skirmish on a cramped school playground. No damage occurred, no blood, yet this led at once to a referral for psychiatric treatment.
This situation can be worse for African-American males. Umar R. Abdullah-Johnson, a psychologist and activist for the educational rights of black boys, has traveled to schools across the country. In a recent article headed "Psycho-Slavery," he writes, "It has become a travesty of epic proportions; black boys are being sent in record numbers to the psychiatrist for mind-altering medications that come with a plethora of side effects." He reports that in many classrooms, 50 percent of the black male students are being referred for medication. Some children are evaluated, diagnosed and prescribed in less than five minutes.
Abdulla-Johnson points out the hypocrisy of a society that has declared a War on Drugs yet is so busily drugging a generation of black boys on substances which often lead to illegal drugs later in their lives. "They claim to LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND," he writes, "but are totally content leaving our boys with side effects from these drugs years after they have graduated from school, if they ever graduate at all."
This system coerces youth into obedient conformity with a psychiatric standard of normality. Kids are also left with a message that they can't cope with school or life without drugs.
But let's look at history:
Thomas Edison, one of the world's most prolific inventors, was kicked out of school at an early age as his teacher lost patience with his persistent questions and wandering mind. Where would we be now if his creative spirit had been numbed by prescription drugs?
Albert Einstein, father of modern physics, was a quiet child who kept his distance from his peers. He resented the rote learning methods enforced in school and was labeled a foolish day dreamer. Imagine if he had been medicated into conformity.
William Churchill, the great statesman and orator, had an independent and rebellious nature as a youth and was often in trouble. Surely he would have been deemed ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) by today's psychiatric standards.
Frederick Douglass, one of the foremost leaders of the abolitionist movement (and a blood relative of Umar R. Abdullah-Johnson, quoted above) began defying the rules for blacks when he was a child. And the list goes on.
The massive propaganda asserting the validity of these disorders and efficacy of these medications is staggering. However a 731-page report from the Drug Effectiveness Review Project of Oregon State University in 2005 - analyzing 2,287 separate studies around the world - found inadequate evidence to show that drugs used to treat ADHD are safe in the long term or help school performance. (http://psychrights.org/articles/Tac...).html)
No medical tests are used for diagnoses. Yet most diagnosed youths are put onto highly toxic drugs which have been shown to cause insomnia, stunted growth, hallucinations, anxiety, heart attacks, psychosis, violence, suicide and sudden death.
Peter Breggin MD, a leader in psychiatric reform, stated in the Huffington Post, "Our society's particular form of child abuse is the psychiatric diagnosing and drugging of our children." And, "all psychoactive substances from alcohol and marijuana to psychiatric drugs reduce and compromise the function of brain and mind, and none improve it." Even toddlers are being assigned mental disorders and prescribed such drugs.
Many clinicians fear that prescribing stimulants to children may foster a drug habit and lead them later to illegal stimulants, such as cocaine and crystal meth. A recent UCLA research project confirms this concern. They analyzed 27 long-term studies that followed 4,100 children diagnosed with ADHD and 6800 without ADHD into adolescence and young adulthood. The ADHD-diagnosed kids were two to three times more likely than other children to develop serious substance abuse problems. (Per a Consumer Reports survey, 84 percent of ADHD-labeled children are treated with medications.)
So if these drugs are so harmful, why do drug companies market them so heavily for kids?
"Children are known to be compliant patients and that makes them a highly desirable market for drugs," says former drug company sales rep Gwen Olsen, author of Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher. "Children are forced by school personnel to take their drugs, they are forced by their parents to take their drugs, and they are forced by their doctors to take their drugs. So, children are the ideal patient-type because they represent refilled prescription compliance and 'longevity.' In other words, they will be lifelong patients and repeat customers for Pharma."
ADHD, ODD, Bipolar and the others were voted into existence by APA committees and made official by issuance in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual. A 2006 investigation by the University of Massachusetts and Tufts University disclosed that the majority of the committee members had financial ties to drug companies. (http://www.tufts.edu/~skrimsky/PDF/DSM%20C...)
The psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries admittedly do not cure anything, but only claim to manage symptoms with their psychoactive drugs.
Vice president of drug giant Bristol-Myers Squibb recently announced FDA approval for an expanded use of their bipolar blockbuster. He states, "Because bipolar disorder is a lifelong and recurrent illness, this labelling update provides physicians with the option to prescribe Abilify as an add-on to either lithium or valproate as a long-term treatment to help manage symptoms of Bipolar I Disorder." Translation for bipolars: "You'll be hooked on our medications for life."
Psychiatric drugging of children is big, big money, raking in billions a year.
But it's also a form of tyrannical social control. By classifying out-of-the-box, divergent behavior as "mental disorders" that must be subdued with medication, our next generation is conditioned into being good robots who know not to deviate from the status quo.
It seems we better pay more heed to Thomas Jefferson's warning: "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."