Of all the harmful actions of modern psychiatry, "the mass diagnosing and drugging of children is the most appalling with the most serious consequences for the future of individual lives and for society," warns the world-renowned expert, Dr Peter Breggin, often referred to as the "Conscience of Psychiatry."
Dr Nathaniel Lehrman, author of the book, "Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs," believes that giving infants and toddlers "powerful, brain-effecting psychiatric medication is close to criminal activity."
"Giving them these drugs," he says, "has no rationale, and ignores the basic fact that youngsters are very sensitive to their environments, both social and chemical, with the juvenile brain easily damaged by the latter."
During an interview on ABC Radio National in August 2007, Dr David Healy, the noted British pharmacology expert, and author of the book, "Mania: A Short History of Bipolar Disorder," told reporter Jane Shields: "Just to give you a feel for how crazy things have actually got recently, it would appear that clinicians in the US are happy to look at the ultrasounds of children in the womb, and based on the fact that they appear to be more overactive at times, and then possibly less active later, they're prepared to actually consider the possibility that these children could be bipolar."
On April 9, 2009, Christopher Lane, author of the book, "Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness," published an interview on his Psychology Today blog with Dr Healy. In the interview, Healy explained the history behind the drastic rise in the sale of anticonvulsants and antipsychotics as "mood stabilizers," and the diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
"The key event in the mid-1990s that led to the change in perspective was the marketing of Depakote by Abbott as a mood stabilizer," Healy tells Lane, and further explains:
stabilization didn't exist before the mid-1990s. It can't be
found in any of the earlier reference books and journals. Since then,
however, we now have sections for mood stabilizers in all the books
on psychotropic drugs, and over a hundred articles per year featuring
mood stabilization in their titles.
"In the same way, Abbott and other companies such as Lilly marketing Zyprexa for bipolar disorder have re-engineered manic-depressive illness. While the term bipolar disorder was there since 1980, manic-depression was the term that was still more commonly used until the mid-1990s when it vanishes and is replaced by bipolar disorder. Nowadays, over 500 articles per year feature bipolar disorder in their titles."
"As of 2008, upwards of a million children in the United States--in many cases preschoolers--are on "mood-stabilizers" for bipolar disorder, even though the condition remains unrecognized in the rest of the world," Healy points out.
"But there is no evidence that the drugs stabilize moods," he says. "In fact, it is not even clear that it makes sense to talk about a mood center in the brain."
"A further piece of mythology aimed at keeping people on the drugs," he reports, "is that these are supposedly neuroprotective--but there's no evidence that this is the case and in fact these drugs can lead to brain damage."
Healy says the FDA's decision to add a black-box warning about suicide to SSRIs likely had little to do with the switch to prescribing antipsychotics as safer for children. What "was quite striking was how quickly companies were able to use the views of the few bipolar-ologists who argued that when children become suicidal on antidepressants it's not the fault of the drug," he points out.
"The problem, they said, stems from a mistaken diagnosis and if we could just get the diagnosis right and put the child on mood stabilizers then there wouldn't be a problem," he explains.
"There is no evidence for this viewpoint, but it was interesting to see how company support could put wind in the sails of such a perspective," he says.
Because having just one label was very limiting, Healy says, child psychiatry "needed another disorder--and for this reason bipolar disorder was welcome."