Friday, October 12, 2012

The majority of psychiatrists think adult ADHD is an example of the over-medicalisation of everyday life

I have just attended the second day of the annual conference of the General and Community Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. There was a debate today on the motion that adult ADHD is an example of the over-medicalisation of everyday life. Perhaps surprisingly, the majority present voted in favour of the motion.

When I trained, adult ADHD was never mentioned - it's a relatively new concept, gaining popularity in the 1990s. Many psychiatrists don't feel happy diagnosing a condition in adults that they were taught children generally grow out of. There may be problems with diagnosing children, mainly boys, as hyperactive (eg. see my eletter), but it is even more problematic to recognise ADHD later in life, the majority identified being females. Interestingly enough, the majority of British psychiatrists seem to share these concerns. The diagnosis of adult ADHD has been led by the Americans, and it has been said that it is the most common undiagnosed chronic psychiatric disorder in adults (see my BMJ article). British psychiatrists are following their lead in diagnosing it more commonly.

The point I'm making is that psychiatry doesn't seem to be in control of this development. The majority of psychiatrists, at least British ones, have reservations, but they don't seem to express them. There is a problem with voicing concerns about such trends for fear of being labelled as anti-psychiatry (see eg. previous post). We need to encourage a more open debate on issues within psychiatry.


Anonymous said...

I trained in the UK many years ago and have crossed the Atlantic twice. I work in Ontario at the moment. I am reluctant to give the diagnosis of ADHD to an adult. In fact, I strongly feel that we are overmedicalizing human frustration. However, I feel very threatened when my clinical acumen is questioned by ADHD "Believers."

I wonder who or what is behind this; further, nobody wants to be labelled as taking an antipsychiatry stance and thus risking jobs, mortgages, etc.

This is a terrible problem that is extensive to other diagnosis and certainly to the future dsm5 manual.

Anonymous said...

So psychiatrists just prescribe these meds because they don't want to be criticized or ostracized by drug seeking morons. No wonder why our field is laughed at by other medical disciplines. There is no science behind what we are allegedly forced to do to pay our bills with our pills. We have become shills to public conceptions of ills.

Anonymous said...

Only psychiatry could ever have been reckless enough to invent the fake disease of "not paying enough attention".

When the cancer grows too large and spreads to adults, the "radical" "critical" psychiatrists claim essentially "hey lets roll it back to only labeling and drugging kids".

A truly pathetic profession of quacks, through and through.

"clinical acumen" Ha!

You even believe you're practicing real medicine don't you?

Such is the delusion of psychiatry.

A vending machine could do a psychiatrist's job.

"further, nobody wants to be labelled as taking an antipsychiatry stance and thus risking jobs, mortgages, etc."

This type of gutless cowardice is marbled into the rotting meat that is psychiatry.

That's why they pay you the big bucks, to be the head shrinkers, child druggers, forced drugging human rights abusers, pathetic regurgitators of DSM homilies, and absolvers of criminals.

I love how Double refers back to how things were in the milieu of his training years ago compared to now.

"Training"... training for what? Drugging and labeling people you can't even prove anything is medically wrong with?

Anonymous said...

(I wonder how many Anonymous folk are commenting on this blog?)

Firstly your photo of the child with what looks like a pill in their mouth is almost upsetting for me, as a mother and grandmother. To think of children being prescribed psychiatric drugs and pathologised is really scary.

In the 50's when I was at primary school there were always children who didn't sit still or got up to mischief. Because they were bored. And I was one of them, sometimes. I remember getting the belt for misbehaving, aged about 7yrs old, and was more careful after that. As in careful not to get caught.

My parents knew that I got easily bored and had to be busy with lots of things - going out and about, climbing trees, playing with boys and girls, with dolls and at cowboys and indians, kick the can, hide and seek, skipping and hopscotch, football and roller skating, ice skating and ballet dancing, writing stories and reading Enid Blyton, going to the circus and the pictures with my dad or mum, playing with my younger sisters, and so on, at different times.

It's not easy nowadays I think to be a child in a global society which, with the speedily advancing technology, is like a global village. It seemed like children were much freer to be themselves when I was young. And even in the swinging sixties I don't remember the bombardment of images objectifying women, children's comics that were sophisticated, for we had the Bunty and Judy, then FAB 208 and NME as a teenager. Pirate radio and mini skirts, which was more about fashion and style. To me anyway.

I know that we can't got back to how things used to be. But it's a concern to think about where we are and where we are going to. In terms of ADHD diagnosing and everyone likely becoming bipolar, in some form or another. Like an Orwellian fantasy that has become reality.

Unknown said...

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Unknown said...

I agree that sometimes ADHD might be over diagnosed and medication handed out too easily. However, I think that ADHD is more of a natural thing than we make it out to be. Humans were never meant to sit at desks for eight hours a day. Humans were never meant to go to stressful classes all day and then study the rest of the day once they get home. Our adult psychiatry doesn't match up to the demands that today's society put on us. That is why so many people suffer from ADHD symptoms.