LETTER: On diagnosing ADHD

editorial image

A GENERAL practitioner in Salford, Manchester, has been told he must not diagnose children with so-called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Instead, he must refer them to a qualified consultant instead.

The GP was allegedly treating children against NHS guidelines.

On the surface, this would appear to be a sensible decision, based on the understanding that a consultant is more experienced and more knowledgeable in the diagnosis.

However, when you are fully informed about ADHD, and how the diagnosis came into existence, you come to realise it’s a quite bizarre situation.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a GP, a consultant psychiatrist or a paediatrician seeing the child suspected of having so-called ADHD.

The reason that it doesn’t matter is because there are no physical tests that can be carried out to support its existence.

Children are labelled with ADHD if they fit the diagnostic criteria listed in psychiatric text books.

However, if people took the time to read the criteria, they would see that it is reflective of normal childhood behaviour.

The behaviour is interpreted as a mental “disorder” – not by physical tests, but by opinion.

It is a dangerous time when a society allows children to be chemically restrained on the basis of opinions – that have re-classified boisterous, argumentative or disruptive behaviour. We can all have an opinion about these types of behaviour, but psychiatrists have taken their opinions and persuaded well-meaning parents, teachers and politicians into thinking bad behaviour is a mental illness.

A group of psychiatrists voted ADHD into existence in 1987 at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.

That’s consensus – not science.

There can be no doubt some children do need a hand, that some need more attention, that some can be more active than others.

However that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with their brains that requires, in my opinion, a chemical dumbing-down.

As a parent, be fully informed, so that you can make a fully-informed decision.

Children are human beings who have every youthful right to expect protection, care, love and the chance to reach their full potential in life.

Brian Daniels,

National spokesperson,

Citizens Commission on Human Rights (United Kingdom),

East Grinstead.