Anthony Dillon

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Drugs do nothing in the long term to address the many and varied causes of ‘ADHD’ type behaviours’.
  4. On occasions drugs mask the symptoms of serious conditions (such as abuse or trauma).
  5. ‘ADHD’ drugs have well established significant short term risks including cardiovascular and psychiatric problems.
  6. ‘ADHD’ stimulants are amphetamines or amphetamine like drugs that are frequently diverted for illicit use.
  7. 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.

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