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I've just finished reading: Talking Back to Ritalin

DEREK SEYMOUR
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2013

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I've just finished reading: Talking Back to Ritalin I've just finished reading: Superb speculative fiction I've just finished reading... As good as the TV series Insight into life before Malaysia Nothing miserable in enlightening read A rich but long-winded classic I've just finished reading: The Dawkins Delusion I've just finished reading... Abduction The most epic novel ever written A gripping account of unimaginable horror

I recently read Talking back to Ritalin, by Peter R Breggin, which tackles the psychiatric illusion that difficult kids are ill and should be prescribed harmful drugs.

When I was a kid at primary school, I was always on the go. I found it difficult to sit still, and I couldn't concentrate for long. I fluctuated between staring out the window day-dreaming about football, avoiding classwork, and being a nuisance.

Concerned teachers wrote reports about me saying I was a day-dreamer, sounded alarm bells about my lack of focus, and told my parents I was heading for disaster.

Fortunately, I went to school before the psychiatric community had developed a theory that difficult school kids were ill, and suffering from chemical brain imbalances, which they termed  Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and which they could now cure through life-long prescriptions of amphetamine drugs, such as ritalin.

If I was going to school today, there is a very good chance that school psychologists would diagnose me with ADHD, setting me on a life-time course of dangerous medication, and possibly experimenting on my brain's frontal lobes.

I eventually went on to university and achieved, through hard work and determination, a BSc degree with honours in psychology with computer science.

Breggin's book, Talking Back to Ritalin, demolishes the pseudo-scientific illness of ADHD. He begins by noting the massive increase in problematic school children who have now been diagnosed with this condition, and explains this as largely down to the psychiatric community's increasingly close association with large pharmaceutical companies who bankroll their operation.

He documents the dramatic ten-fold increase in the production of methyphenidate (ritalin) during the last 10 years, and describes how almost 10 per cent, and rising, of American school children have been diagnosed with ADHD.

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He explains how the medical diagnosis of ADHD is so vague and illusive that psychiatrists can't agree with each other about what ADHD actually is, that it's easy enough to diagnose by observing children's behaviour, rather than by administering any biological or blood tests - which do not exist.

Breggin's book is masterfully researched, extremely readable, very persuasive, and a must-read for anyone interested in an alternative view to the mainstream's love affair with notion that problem kids are ill.

Breggin develops alternative theories and explanations as to why kids are experiencing difficulties with school. He goes on to discuss alternative ways to view this so-called affliction and proposes practical ways to help children who are struggling at school and in their daily lives.

I highly recommend it.


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