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Sunday, 21 September 2008

Up to one in 11 children in Britain may suffer from an attention deficit disorder, government advisers will claim this week.

One in 11 children may have ADHD
Article in the Sunday Telegraph


"The guidance by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) is expected to say that up to 9 per cent of children and 2 per cent of adults fall within broad definitions of ADHD. It will recommend that the stimulant Ritalin be prescribed to all children and adults with a severe form of the condition and to all moderate cases which do not respond to talking therapies or parenting classes.

Prof Philip Asherson, one of the experts who produced the guidance, due out on Wednesday, said they tried to avoid following the model of ADHD care in the United States, where medication is the norm and routinely used to tackle minor behavioural and educational problems.

He said: "We worked very hard to avoid the approach in the US, where one in 10 children are being treated with stimulants. The guidance makes it clear that medication is the right approach in some cases but that it should not be used for everyone and certainly not to tackle minor educational problems."

"Dr Sami Timimi, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Lincolnshire, who does not believe ADHD is a valid diagnosis, said Nice had produced no evidence that the condition existed, or that medication worked, despite coming to conclusions supporting its use."

The psychologist Oliver James accused psychiatrists of medicalising a problem that was caused by upbringing. He said: "Psychiatrists invented this category to medicalise when in fact it is a social problem linked to low incomes and parenting difficulties." He said the best approach to children with ADHD-like symptoms was to give them more attention and affection."

"Latest figures show almost 500,000 prescriptions for stimulants for under-16s last year, more than double the 200,000 issued in 2003. The Department of Health said the figures reflected the number of prescriptions, which could include repeat orders for the same child."

I consider it irresponsible, reprehensible, unscientific and downright dangerous to be prescribing psychotropic drugs to children. If indeed it is reasonably considered that intervention is necessary to improve children's behaviour I would favour improving a child's nutrition, especially by the avoidance of fast food, ready meals, salty junk snacks and diet pretend 'food', and also Oliver James's suggestion of more attention and affection. - And I don't mean attention from medics! - Behaviour problems are categorically not caused by the brain being short of Ritalin!

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