Spain is among the world's largest consumers of the 'star' drug, methylphenidate, a drug administered to minors who have been diagnosed with what is known as Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD.
July. 12 years. She has a very difficult family and social situation, with an unemployed mother who has been evicted from her home for not being able to pay her mortgage. He has hardly any contact with his father. He has difficulty at school keeping up with the other children and has already been labeled as problematic.
Mary. Eight years. He has recently suffered a divorce from his parents. She is very intelligent and gets good grades in school, but she is restless and ignores the teachers and challenges and answers them sometimes.
Edward. He is an adopted child. In his country of origin, he experienced extremely difficult situations. He is not concentrating on studies.
Laura. 7 years. She is a girl who lives in her world, a little disconnected and does not attend classes. Her parents barely have time to help her with her studies and she is lagging behind.
Pedro. 9 years. He underwent a change of school and neighborhood last year and did not adapt to his new environment. He suffered bullying and was marginalized by his peers. In the previous school I had no problems.
These are some of the examples of children who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Some fathers and mothers have refused to medicate them, but others have accepted at the recommendation of doctors, teachers and psychiatrists.
The blackmail about the consequences that may not have access to medicate children is very broad and ranges from the possible consequences on the health of minors, school failure, and not having access to any type of aid that if they would have if they accepted to pass through the hoop
The 45-minute video-documentary Are you attentive ?, the other side of ADHD, was recently presented by Humanistas de Carabanchel and in it, doctors and researchers question the existence of the disorder, the validity of this form of diagnosis and its Pharmacotherapy. Many groups, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc. They coincide in pointing out that the symptoms that characterize ADHD may very possibly be due to the social and personal circumstances of the subjects who suffer from them, and that the protocols that prescribe the use of psychotropic drugs to children should be reviewed. Likewise, they warn that psychotropic drugs do not cure disorders, they only mask the symptoms and that the long-term side effects of medications are very harmful.
THE FATHER WHO REFUSED TO MEDICATE HIS SON
A father related how his son was diagnosed and how throughout his school career, he was threatened with the terrible consequences that his son would suffer if he did not agree to medicate him, to which he decided to refuse. The father related that he always had to fight with doubt and fear about whether he had done the right thing. Years later, his son, already a teenager studying in high school, is a normal boy who has not had more problems than any other boy his age. This has been a constant that many mothers and fathers have commented on in various presentations of the documentary.
“The blackmail about the consequences that not accessing to medicate children can have is very wide and ranges from the possible consequences on the health of minors, to school failure, and not having access to any type of aid that if they accepted go through the hoop ”.
AMERICAN PSYCHIATRICS, THE PARENTS OF ADHD
In the mid-1960s a group of American psychiatrists began to include new "diseases" in their manual of mental disorders (DSM). One of them is ADHD, which was defined as a specific “disorder” of childhood. The diagnosis is usually made at the beginning of primary education, when problems appear in school performance (incomplete, poorly organized and erroneous homework), the child is easily distracted, speaks impulsively, responds before finishing the question, and social dysfunction is observed (maladaptive behavior in the classroom, difficulties in accepting the rules, aggressiveness, interrupts and interferes in everything, etc.).
Around 1980, a sustained growth in diagnoses began, which acquired the character of an uncontrollable global epidemic at the end of the century. Previously, inattentive, inconsequential and highly mobile children, particularly if there were specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, were attributed “minimal brain damage” or “hyperactivity”, the frequency of which was low.
Psychiatrists estimated that between 5 and 15% of the child population suffers from ADHD and today, one in eight American children takes methylphenidate, the drug most used to treat ADHD.
According to data from the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), one of the largest health institutions in the United States, 15% of children who are in schools and colleges have been diagnosed with ADHD and the number of children with medication for Disorder has skyrocketed to 3.5 million, compared to 600,000 in 1990, 80% of them are Latino, Black and Chicano, and that its expansion began in the most troubled neighborhoods like Harlem, Bronx, etc.
A similar situation has occurred in Spain, between 1992 and 2001 the use of methylphenidate has multiplied by six (Criado et al., 2003) 21, an increase lower than that experienced in the United States. It exploded again in 2004 coinciding with the commercialization of prolonged-release methylphenidate, the “star” drug. Today we are among the world's largest consumers of this drug and in exponential growth.
Opinion of the Spanish psychiatrist Mariano Almudévar
“ADHD has been and is the subject of public controversy in Anglo-American society. There are neurologists (Baughman) and psychiatrists (Breggin) who have been saying for many years that it is a fallacy; others think that it is a mixed bag that includes a number of problematic behaviors and poor school performance, or simply “trashy” or clueless children. Behind the diagnosis there can be from intelligent and curious kids who get bored with the homogenized routines of the classroom, to others with specific learning difficulties; from the expression in the school setting of complicated or negligent family situations to those in which the child does not meet the expectations of the parents; from teachers who for one reason or another need a regimented tranquility in the classroom, to psychologists with little or no awareness of diversity or variability in the pace of human development. Only a minority of those diagnosed show hyperactivity in clinical sessions and despite being the most widely studied of childhood psychiatric disorders, its diagnosis is made on the basis of complaints and observations from teachers, sometimes under threat of sanctions, and its frequency and the controversy continues to grow ”.
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International Platform against the Medicalization of Children