ADHD, Eisenberg, fact and fiction

This is an interesting bit of debate, and thanks to Richard Bargdill and Facebook’s Students of Humanistic Psychology for drawing it to our attention. I am most certainly of the view that ADHD is overwhelmingly misdiagnosed, Ritalin vastly over-prescribed and inappropriately prescribed, and that this sits squarely within our cultural phenomenon of the medicalization of distress – when what is really at issue is the nature/quality of how that child is relating to themselves and others, familial and social factors.

There are two links here, or you can simply follow the path from one to the next by clicking on the title above:-

I had some reservations reading this first article on the Natural Health Warriors site, which to me seemed a fast write and potentially to bring less objectivity/depth of debate than the second (although this may simply be a function of the fast write). That said, some of the insights/overall conclusion are bang on and I think it is critically important that we have this debate.

The second comments on the Eisenberg story, and brings some useful facts/clarifications to bear:-

‘One out of every ten 10-year-old boys already takes an ADHD drug daily’.
That is not okay. Read the list of side effects in the Natural Health Warriors article.

My overall takeaway? Concern, and a sense that we have lost our way.

Lindsey Talbott, Therapist

Palace Gate Counselling Service


This entry was posted in Disconnection, ethics, medical model, parenting, psychiatric drugs, psychiatry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to ADHD, Eisenberg, fact and fiction

  1. I agree with you a lot here. I recently heard a podcast with someone who was very anti-ASD diagnoses. They instead believed that most people were ADHD diagnoses. I turned off at that point.

    Speaking from experience, my little brother displayed all the symptoms of ADHD – never stopped, difficulty concentrating etc. it was a dairy intolerance. And whilst there is a lot of controversy over intolerances too, I suspect that the first approach for my mother today would not have been the same as it was back then. On removing dairy from his diet he became virtually symptom-free.

    • Yes, we’ve heard a lot of similar accounts of ‘ADHD diagnoses’ that turned out to be food intolerances/sensitivities – often easily resolved through dietary change, without harmful/powerful psychiatric drugs. Our experience and the evidence both seem to suggest that there are a wide variety of causes for the behaviours that attract an ADHD diagnosis (often on the basis of a few minutes conversation). Food intolerance is one. Often those within the medical model seem to become a bit bogged down in arguing between diagnoses – e.g. in the example you give of ASD/ADHD. In our view, the issue is a more fundamental one, and the opportunity is to come away from a disorder-based/external locus paradigm, pay a lot less attention to DSM and a lot more attention to personal specifics. From a person-centred perspective, it seems to us that the task can be meaningfully/accurately conceived only as an individual exploration – not a ‘one-size-fits-all’, surface-behaviour-based reaching for medication, but an in depth consideration of the significance of that specific behaviour for that specific child, in context. That’s a more demanding exercise, of course, but we think there is an extremely high cost to the current medical model approach, individually, within families, and culturally. It risks being the opposite of therapeutic relationship/support. And it can be incredibly difficult for families dealing with behavioural challenges and all the other stresses/complexities of life to stand up to an ‘expert’, saying ‘It’s ADHD, he/she needs drugs’. Thank you for your comment and for sharing your own family experience. We think this is a really important debate.

  2. I have heard of people with sleep problems like sleep apnea having symptoms of ADHD and I have also heard of various psychological conditions as well giving off those symptoms. I think parents not watching their diet can definitely effect brain function too. Many people fail to realize that essential fats cannot be synthesized in any way and must come in our diet just like Vitamin C needs to be.

  3. Pingback: Thousands of children are being medicated for ADHD – when the condition may not even exist – Will Sutcliffe | Palace Gate Counselling Service Blog

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