Australia’s first forum of psychiatrists, psychologists, educators, academics, researchers, politicians and other professions concerned about the large and growing number of children diagnosed with ‘ADHD’ and treated with drugs is being convened in Brisbane (7-8 February) by the Youth Affairs Network of Queensland (YANQ).
Opinions as to the validity of ‘ADHD’ as a psychiatric disorder vary among the invited participants. Some consider that ‘ADHD’ is a real but rare condition that is mis-diagnosed and over-medicated; others consider ‘ADHD’ a fraud.
However, all participants agree that unnecessarily administering powerful psychotropic drugs to children is a violation of their rights and often results in serious short and long term harm.
Participants are also concerned that:
- The criteria used to diagnose ‘ADHD’ are all subjectively assessed behaviours and these behaviours, losing things, forgetting, fidgeting, butting in, disliking homework, and playing loudly etc are a ‘normal’ part of childhood.
- There is nothing ‘ADHD specific’ about the effects of drugs used to treat the ‘disorder’. Although responses vary, most people become temporarily more narrowly focussed and compliant on low dose amphetamines.
- Drugs do nothing in the long term to address the many and varied causes of ‘ADHD’ type behaviours’.
- On occasions drugs mask the symptoms of serious conditions (such as abuse or trauma).
- ‘ADHD’ drugs have well established significant short term risks including cardiovascular and psychiatric problems.
- ‘ADHD’ stimulants are amphetamines or amphetamine like drugs that are frequently diverted for illicit use.
- We know little about the long-term effects of ADHD drugs on growing brains. The limited data that exists indicates their long term use provides no long term benefit but may pose significant risks.
Whilst the forum will discuss the important issue of whether ‘ADHD’ is misdiagnosed and overmedicated or a fraud; the major focus will be on developing strategies to reduce the rates of prescribing and supporting appropriate responses that help not harm children.
Those presenting at the Monday Morning (10-1) session include;
Professor Sami Timimi (prominent UK psychiatrist and author)- An International perspective on the science and history of ADHD.
Professor Jon Jureidini (Professor, Disciplines of Psychiatry and Paediatrics, University of Adelaide)- The dangers of non drug treatments for ADHD.
Associate Professor Carolyn Quadrio (Associate Professor in Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales) – Overprescribing to children: a general look at problems with psychotropic medication.
Dr Linda Graham (academic, education researcher, author)– Thinking pedagogically about students ‘with ADHD’.
Dr Bob Jacobs (psychologist and researcher) – ‘ADHD’ as social control: How lies benefit the powerful at the expense of the powerless (children).
Anthony Dillon (academic and researcher)– On the validity of twin studies used to legitimise the diagnosis of ADHD.
Dr Lois Achimovich (psychiatrist)- A clinician’s reflections on the evolution of psychiatric practice over the last 40 years.
Martin Whitely MLA (politician and author)- On 1- the rise and fall of ADHD child prescribing in WA and 2- long term WA data about the safety and efficacy of stimulants and 3- the Draft National Guidelines for the treatment of ADHD.
When: Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 february 2011
Venue: Health Faculty Queensland University of Technology 44 Musk Avenue Kelvin Grove Brisbane
Events open to Public and Media (all free entry):
Monday 7 Febs 10am – 1pm a series of short presentations followed by an open Q and A.
Tuesday 8 February 7pm to 9pm Public Forum; If not medication then what? (both in Lecture Room Q2.43)
Media Conference: Tuesday 8 February 12 noon (Boardroom Q2.04).
To find out more please email one of the organising committee members listed below.