ADHD, especially the “parent diagnosed” type, is on the rise in the United States. A new study released earlier this week found a significant increase in ADHD diagnoses in new results compiled from a 2011 telephone survey. In that survey, 11% of children had received a diagnosis of ADHD. Four years prior, a similar survey found that only 9.5% of parents believed their child had been diagnosed with ADHD. While most major medical and psychological associations put forth the view that ADHD is a real disease that often requires drug treatment, some experts say the disease was fabricated many years ago and is a scam being perpetrated by large pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Fred Baughman, a child neurologist with over 35 years of experience in the field, says that ADHD is a fraud crafted by drug companies and maintained by the child psychiatric industry. “Psychiatry has never validated ADHD as a biologic entity,” Dr. Baughman told PBS, “so their fraud and their misrepresentation is in saying to the parents of the patients in the office, saying to the public of the United States, that this and every other psychiatric diagnosis is, in fact, a brain disease.”
Dr. Baughman seems to indicate that the disease is not real at all, and parents take advantage of the diagnosis as a way to avoid the responsibility and extra work that comes with “optimal” parenting. Teachers are also to blame, he says, because it’s much easier to name a list of undesirable behaviors and drug a child than it is to deal with the child in the classroom each day.
He’s not the only expert who feels that ADHD is a scam even though it is on the rise. Dr. Edward C. Hamlyn says the condition is a “fraud” specifically created for the purpose of getting children addicted to drugs at a young age so they will continue to purchase those drugs throughout their lives.
Perhaps the most significant expert who feels ADHD is fraudulent is the “father” of the disease itself- the late Dr. Leon Eisenberg. Eisenberg is considered the founder of the disorder, yet it’s been reported that he himself made a dramatic “deathbed confession” about ADHD being fabricated, and said it is a “prime example of a fictitious disease.” He also stated it is widely over-diagnosed and seemed to imply he was dismayed to see how the drug companies push their products on an unsuspecting public.
While some media outlets disagree that Eisenberg used the exact words “fictitious disease,” a quick check of the urban myth website Snopes.com reveals that the information is “partly true,” because some native German speakers interpret the passage in the original story about the interview with Dr. Eisenberg to mean that he was only saying it was overdiagnosed. However, in that same Snopes article, there is still a snippet of the original article that contains a direct quote from Dr. Eisenberg using the exact words “fictitious disease.”
ADHD has recently been on the rise, but some experts say it’s a scam. So which is it? Is ADHD a real and substantiated neurobiological disease, or, as some experts assert, a fake construct of greedy drug companies? Either way, what is the explanation for the drastic increase in this disease over the last several years? Only 3-7 percent of children are thought to actually have ADHD, so many physicians are concerned about over-prescribing of drugs to children who don’t really need them. Certainly, it would appear that more research is needed to determine if any additional societal constructs are contributing to the perceived rise in ADHD.
By: Rebecca Savastio