Bob Jacobs

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By guest blogger Dr Bob Jacobs, Pys. D

Forward by Martin Whitely 

Dr Bob Jacobs, a US trained psychologist now working in Queensland, originally wrote this piece for the Youth affairs Network of Queensland in 2005.[1] It highlights some of the tricks used by the ADHD Industry to justify the long term drugging of children with amphetamines and other psychotropic drugs.

When evaluating ADHD research Bob warns us to;

1. Watch out for bad science- like failing to disclose if “ADHD” research subjects have been previously “medicated” and thereby confusing the damage done by prescription amphetamines with the subjects “ADHD”.

2. Watch out for bias-  including who paid for the research and have the researchers disclosed any past dealings with commercial interests who may benefit from the research.

3. Think which came first: the chicken or the egg?- are the researchers confusing cause and effect?

4. Look for the false underlying premise- including how the ADHD Industry turns (healthy, normal, human) difference into disease.

Bob’s plain language blog is worth reading and filing for reference when you next consume supposedly ‘independent’ scientific research on the safety and efficacy of ‘ADHD’ drugs.

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The Holy Grail for many proponents of ADHD is establishing its ‘genetic basis’. The logic being that establishing a genetic basis for ADHD validates it as a psychiatric disorder. In September 2010 the world’s media buzzed with the news that British researcher’s had proven the genetic basis of ADHD. The psychiatrist who led the study, Cardiff University Professor Anita Thapar, proclaimed ‘now we can say with confidence that ADHD is a genetic disease.’[1]

Professor Thapar was wrong on two counts. Firstly despite the hype, Professor Thapar’s (et al) study did not establish a genetic basis for ADHD. Secondly and most importantly, if a genetic basis of ADHD is eventually established it will validate ADHD as a ‘genetic difference’ not a ‘genetic disease’.

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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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