British Scientist Casts Doubt on ADHD-Ritalin equation

    <p> British Scientist Casts Doubt on ADHD-Ritalin equation </p>        <p> Tue, 22 Jul 2003 </p>        <p> "Parenting is not a democracy. You need to give your child what they           want - love and attention - but on your terms, not theirs." </p>        <p> A British behavioral expert not only casts doubt on the ADHD "disorder"           and the Ritalin "fix," but Warwick Dyer has developed a program that           guides parents (over the telephone) how to take control. This is a time           honored, back to basics approach to child rearing-- it rests on parents           setting standards of behavior and imposing discipline to enforce acceptable           behavior through rewards and punishment. </p>        <p> "I am open-minded about whether ADD exists or not, but what is certainly           clear is that a lot of symptoms ascribed to such disorders are in fact           easily confused with basic behavioural problems that don't need to be           treated with a drug." </p>        <p> This is the message that doctors such as psychiatrist Peter Breggin,           neurologist Fred Baughman, pediatricians William Carey, Lawrence Diller,           (among others) have been saying. The problem is not the children the           problem is doctors-- whose income is enriched by drug manufacturers--           who prescribe mind altering drugs to children as though they were jelly           beans. </p>        <p> See also: Misdirected Attention? Maybe &quot;Attention Deficit&quot; Isn't the           Real Problem by Nicholas Regush (when he was producer of medical features           for ABC News) </p>        <p> " What we essentially have here is an epidemic of dumb doctoring and           child abuse bordering on the criminal, sitting on a limited view of           human behavioral variability. Granted, there are children at the extreme           end of the continuum who need a variety of assistance — not necessarily           drug-focused help. Meanwhile, there are probably millions of kids unnecessarily           on drugs, obtained not from pushers in schoolyards but from pushers           with medical degrees." <a href="http://more.abcnews.go.com/sections/living/secondopinion/secondopinion_68.html">http://more.abcnews.go.com/sections/living/secondopinion/secondopinion_68.html</a>         </p>        <p> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ </p>        <p> <a href="http://news.independent.co.uk/low_res/story.jsp?story=426206&amp;host=3&amp;dir=59">http://news.independent.co.uk/low_res/story.jsp?story=426206&host=3&dir=59</a><br>          Children blamed for hyperactivity 'are victims of poor parenting'<br>          By Maxine Frith, Social Affairs Correspondent<br>          21 July 2003 </p>        <p> Hundreds of thousands of children prescribed the drug Ritalin for           hyperactivity might simply be the victims of lax parenting, new evidence           suggests. </p>        <p> A British scientist has cast doubt on the existence of conditions           such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), which will fuel the controversy           over the increasing use of Ritalin. </p>        <p> Warwick Dyer, a behavioural expert, claims parents need to accept           more blame for their children's "disorders" and move away from the chemical           cosh of prescription drugs. </p>        <p> He has developed a programme that focuses on the way parents behave           towards their children - and claims a 100 per cent success rate over           the past five years. Remarkably, he never sees the child involved, and           has just one face-to-face consultation with the parents. The rest of           his work is limited to a daily telephone briefing with the parents on           how to treat their child. </p>        <p> Mr Dyer's theory is based on simple ideas such as a rigid system of           rewards and sanctions for good and bad behaviour, with an insistence           on politeness towards parents - and a demand that mothers and fathers           control their tempers as well. </p>        <p> Mr Dyer said: "I am open-minded about whether ADD exists or not, but           what is certainly clear is that a lot of symptoms ascribed to such disorders           are in fact easily confused with basic behavioural problems that don't           need to be treated with a drug. </p>        <p> "Parenting is not a democracy. You need to give your child what they           want - love and attention - but on your terms, not theirs." </p>        <p> Mr Dyer's work is now the subject of a Channel 4 Cutting Edge documentary,           to be broadcast tomorrow. </p>        <p> One in 10 children is now diagnosed with ADD or the related attention           deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). </p>        <p> Ritalin is an amphetamine with a similar potency to cocaine, and prescribing           in Britain has soared one hundredfold in the past 10 years. In 1990,           just 3,000 children were on the drug; today, there are 345,000 taking           it, costing the NHS more than £3m a year. The drug is being given to           children as young as 18 months old. </p>        <p> Now a growing lobby of parents, doctors and other experts is questioning           whether ADD or ADHD exist. </p>        <p> Mr Dyer was a primary school teacher in the East End of London until           he retired and set up the Behaviour Change Consultancy. He now sees           about 30 families a year, and claims his techniques work with everyone,           from the youngest children to teenagers. </p>        <p> He said: "The problem is that a lot of parents simply aren't being           parents. In the last 20 years, parents have started talking to their           children a lot more, but they have stopped being in control of them.         </p>        <p> "They have tended to examine how they were brought up and reject what           they thought was bad, but they haven't taken on what was good. Children           are instinctively artful and will try to put themselves in control of           their parents. I put parents back in control." </p>        <p> His "back to basics" approach worked to stunning effect with Fred           and Diane from Essex, and their seven-year-old daughter, Georgina, who           are featured in the Cutting Edge documentary. Georgina had been prescribed           Ritalin and been diagnosed with special needs because of her appalling           temper tantrums and violent behaviour. She was expelled from her first           playgroup at the age of two and a half, and her parents were so desperate           that last year they had decided to put her into care. </p>        <p> But within weeks of adopting Mr Dyer's techniques, Georgina's behaviour           had improved. </p>        <p> Fred, who runs a wedding video business, and Diane, a civil servant,           had to spend seven months in daily phone calls to Mr Dyer, where they           had to describe her behaviour in detail, and accept castigations from           the expert when they deviated from the sanction system. </p>        <p> At one point he told the couple: "It's not her fault that you can't           control her. She has wrapped you around her little finger. You aren't           accepting that there isn't anything wrong with your daughter." </p>        <p> By the end of the seven months, Georgina was having less than two           tantrums a month and while her special needs diagnosis was being reviewed.         </p>        <p> Diane said: "The change has been incredible. This has all been done           without Ritalin. Before, I hated her. Now, she is a normal child. I           feel guilty when I look back to how I treated her before." </p>        <p> Janice Hill, of the Overload Network, a parent support organisation,           said: "Warwick Dyer has shown that the idea of ADHD is a myth. Children           are being given a drug that has the same pharmacology as cocaine when           in fact all they and their parents need are help with their behaviour.         </p>        <p> "Doctors should stop dishing out Ritalin and start using safe alternatives,           which have been proven to work." </p>        <p> FAIR USE NOTICE: This may contain copyrighted (© ) material the use           of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright           owner. Such material is made available to advance understanding of ecological,           political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical,           and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes           a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section           107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. 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