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Psychologist wonders if society is drugging kids without reason

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Bob Unruh

(WND) A licensed clinical psychologist who serves as a research associate at the Natural Language Processing lab at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is openly questioning whether today’s society is drugging children – without reason.

Yaakov Ophir has specific expertise in child therapy, parent training, and family interventions, and his PhD comes from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has published 20 peer-reviewed scientific articles.

It is in a commentary at the Brownstone Institute web pages that he doubts the “scientific” justification for the medications used for ADHD.

“‘As glasses help people focus their eyes to see,’ medical experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics rule, ‘medications help children with ADHD focus their thoughts better and ignore distractions,’” he noted.

That’s the basis, he explained, for the lifelong plan to administer stimulants for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

But there are problems, he noted.

Stimulants, first, are frequently abused, despite being compared to harmless medical aids.

Then, he said, there’s a “huge” problem.

“ADHD is currently the most common childhood disorder in Western-oriented countries. Its ever-increasing rates are now skyrocketing. The documented prevalence of ADHD is not about 3 percent, as it used to be when the disorder was first introduced in 1980. In 2014, a survey by the U’S’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that over 20 percent of 12-year-old boys were diagnosed with this ‘lifelong condition,’” he said.

That leaves “hundreds of millions of children around the world” eligible for medications branded Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall or others.

“But what if the scientific consensus is wrong? What if the medications for ADHD are not as effective and as safe as we are told? After all, stimulant medications are powerful psychoactive substances, which are prohibited to use without medical prescriptions, under federal drug laws. Like all psychoactive drugs, which affect the central nervous system, stimulant medications are designed to penetrate the blood-brain barrier – the specialized tissue and blood vessels that normally prevent harmful substances from reaching the brain. In this way, stimulant medications are essentially impacting the biochemical processes of our brain – that miraculous organ that makes us who we are,” he warned.

He said his new book, “ADHD is Not an Illness and Ritalin is Not a Cure: A Comprehensive Rebuttal of the (alleged) Scientific Consensus,” addresses a step-by-step refutation of the notion that ADHD is a neuropsychiatric condition.

“In fact, a close reading of the available science suggests that the vast majority of the diagnoses simply reflects common and pretty normative childhood behaviors that underwent unjustified medicalization,” he said.

And, he noted, stimulants are not simple medical aids like glasses, as they must be prescribed by doctors.

“After all, if the medications are safe and helpful to various populations (i.e., not only to people with ADHD), what is the moral justification to prohibit their usage among non-diagnosed individuals? This is unjustified discrimination. Moreover, why are we condemning (non-diagnosed) students who use these medications to improve their grades? If regular use of Ritalin and alike is so safe, why not place them on the pharmacies’ shelves, next to the non-prescription pain relievers, moisturizers, and chocolate energy bars?”

He suggested the “scientific justification” just isn’t there for the medication of millions.



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