17 November 2006

More on censorship and ADHD

I think this extract from the Wikipedia article on ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), which I have just been scanning, is revealing.

The number of people diagnosed with ADHD in the US and UK has grown dramatically over a short period of time. Critics of the diagnosis ... have argued that this increase is due to the ADHD diagnostic criteria being sufficiently general or vague to allow virtually anybody with persistent unwanted behaviors to be classified as having ADHD of one type or another.
[Scales used for diagnosis] evaluate an individual on typical behaviors such as hums or makes other odd noises, or daydreams, or acts 'smart', rating the pervasiveness of these behaviors from "never" to "very often".
Any children reading this: I advise you not to hum, act clever or stare into space when teachers, doctors or other state-sponsored authority figures are around. This extends to your parents, if you suspect them of subscribing to a reductionist-paternalist world view.
One source of scepticism is that most people with ADHD have no difficulties concentrating when they are doing something that interests them, whether it is educational or entertainment. However, these objections have been rejected by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Surgeon General.
What a surprise. The entire US medical establishment rejects objections to the idea that millions of children suffer from a neurological disorder. Could this have anything to do with the fact that billions of dollars are earned in connection with the ADHD diagnosis? It's generally the pharma companies that are identified as potential baddies (mediocratic dogma no.27: "doctors can do no wrong"), but more net revenue associated with ADHD is probably generated for practitioners than from sale of drugs.