According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 percent of American children may have a mental disorder, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, and autism. Such a reportwould have some believing that rates of mental disease have increased. However, much of the increase in rates can be attributed to a number of other items, including the wildly expanded definition of these conditions, the increasingly powerful pharmaceutical industry, and a general lack of understanding in the medical community of the effects of improper nutrition.
CBS News reports, “The CDC data was collected between 1994 and 2011, and it shows that the number of children being diagnosed with mental disorders has been steadily growing. The study did not conclude exactly why the numbers are increasing.”
Dr. Ruth Perou, the lead author of this the CDC’s first study of children aged three to 17, stated,
“This is a deliberate effort by CDC to show mental health is a health issue. As with any health concern, the more attention we give to it, the better. It’s parents becoming aware of the facts and talking to a health-care provider about how their child is learning, behaving and playing with other kids,” said Dr. Ruth Perou, the study’s lead author.”
But what some are calling a growth in the rate of mental health issues may in fact be nothing more than a misdiagnosis of health disorders as a result of expanded medical terms and definitions.
Slate.com reported in April:
“Beware the DSM-5, the soon-to-be-released fifth edition of the “psychiatric bible,” the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The odds will probably be greater than 50 percent, according to the new manual, that you’ll have a mental disorder in your lifetime.”
Although fewer than 6 percent of American adults will have a severe mental illness in a given year, according to a 2005 study, many more—more than a quarter each year—will have some diagnosable mental disorder. That’s a lot of people. Almost 50 percent of Americans (46.4 percent to be exact) will have a diagnosable mental illness in their lifetimes, based on the previous edition, the DSM-IV. And the new manual will likely make it even “easier” to get a diagnosis.
Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has been a leading opponent of the DSM-5, asserting that its primary problem is a “lack of validity.”
Dr. Allen Frances, chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and author of Saving Normal: An Insider’s Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life, fears that the DSM-5 will result in a “massive diagnostic inflation that could lead to tens of millions of people receiving psychiatric drugs they don’t need.”
Perhaps that is the idea.
The CDC study also found that the annual cost of treating these conditions is $247 billion.
In fact, the collusion between psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry has compelled the Senate Finance Committee to launch several investigations, including a probe of Dr. Joseph Biederman, chief of the program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHRINT), a nonprofit watchdog group, had this to say about Dr. Biederman in a story entitled “The Corrupt Alliance of the Psychiatric-Pharmaceutical Industry”:
Biederman has received research funds from 15 pharmaceutical companies. The New York Times exposed how Joseph Biederman earned $1.6 million in consulting fees from drug makers between 2000 and 2007 but did not report all of this income to Harvard University officials. His marketing of the theory that children have “bipolar” was attributed to the increase in anti-psychotic drug sales for pediatric use in the United States—today 2.5 million children. Following exposure of his conflicts, he stepped down from a number of industry-funded clinical trials. In March 2009, in newly released court documents, Biederman was reported to have promised drug maker Johnson & Johnson in advance that his studies on the antipsychotic drug Risperidone would prove the drug to be effective when used on preschool age children.
And there are a number of other leading psychiatrists who have engaged in similar questionable behaviors that have lined their pockets while assuring that a growing number of children are diagnosed and medicated.
The CCHRINT writes, “With the U.S. prescribing antipsychotics to children and adolescents at a rate six times greater than the U.K., and with 30 million Americans having taken antidepressants for a “chemical imbalance” that psychiatrists admit is a pharmaceutical marketing campaign, not scientific fact, it is no wonder that the conflict of interest between psychiatry and Big Pharma is under congressional investigation.”
Critics have pointed out that the side effects of anti-psychotic drugs could worsen — or in some cases actually cause — symptoms of mental illness.
Additionally, according to the CCHRINT, there is abundant evidence proving a connection between psychotropic medications and violent crimes, and that government officials are well aware of the connection: “Between 2004 and 2011, there have been over 11,000 reports to the U.S. FDA’s MedWatch system of psychiatric drug side effects related to violence,” including 300 homicides.
The FDA has pointed out that prescribing psychiatric medications can have other dangerous side effects as well, including an increased risk of suicidal behaviors in teens and children.
The DSM-5, the new “psychiatric bible” mentioned above, poses a real danger to children, as it could result in their misdiagnosis, followed by prescriptions for drugs that could actually make them ill.
Yahoo Health reports,
A coalition of 32 organizations—including divisions of the influential American Psychological Association (APA)—argue that the DSM-5 lowers the threshold for a diagnosis of mental illness and contributes to “excessive medicalization, stigmatization,” and “pathologization of normal human responses and behavior.”
It is also possible that there is, at least in some cases, an actual increase in mental health issues, but that that increase is entirely related to diet and therefore treatable if the medical community knew enough about nutrition and diet.
Medscape Medical News reported in 2011, “In a new and burgeoning area of research, 2 new studies from Australian investigators show that diet quality can have a significant effect on mental health outcomes and may potentially have a role in preventing and treating such common illnesses as depression and anxiety.”
According to one of the researchers, Dr. Felice Jacka, the findings of the studies suggest that teenage depression and anxiety can be prevented by a proper, nutritious diet:
In this study we show that a good-quality diet at baseline predicts better mental health at follow-up, even after adjustments for diet quality at follow-up, sociodemographic variables, exercise, and most importantly, mental health at baseline.
New evidence also suggests that conditions such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) may in fact be simply a symptom of a gluten allergy. Studies indicate that there is a higher incidence of Celiac Disease in ADHD patients, and that symptoms of ADHD tend to improve or disappear entirely once the person begins to eat a gluten-free diet.
Similarly, the increase in the presence of genetically-modified organisms in food can be attributed to an increase in signs of mental health disorders.
According to alternative physician Joseph Mercola of Mercola.com, one of the driving forces behind increases in autism and Alzheimer’s disease is a change in the food supply and the increase of genetically engineered (GE) food. He notes that consuming GE foods has the potential to cause gut permeability, also known as “leaky gut,” which predisposes sufferers to an array of health problems, including mental health issues.
Though the CDC’s Dr. Perou contends that more research is needed to determine the causes of mental disorders, and that greater awareness could lead to an increase in diagnoses, a growing number of Americans are advising a more sensible approach to these issues that affect their mental and physical health.