Loading...
BYH, love needs constant nourishment. Hate feeds on itself....

Columnist draws criticism for views of ADHD

JohnRosemondGDR_177.jpg
1 of 2

John Rosemond

Loading…

John Rosemond

Sunday, January 14, 2018

My critics are providing me much material of late for this column and my weekly radio show (6 p.m. Saturdays, AFR). Most recently, a family therapist in Kentucky pleads with the Lexington Herald-Leader to stop running my column (“Stop Rosemond,” Letters, Dec. 28, 2017), citing my “dangerous” belief that ADHD and other childhood behavior problems are not mental illnesses. According to Susan Bell, I “have not learned anything new in (my) nearly 50 years of advising parents.” Furthermore, she says, other mental health professionals share her opinion of me. She’s right about that, but wrong otherwise.

To begin with, I have learned a great deal over the past 50 years, not the least of which is that psychiatric/psychological diagnoses are not tangible realities; rather, they are constructs. Cancer is a verifiable reality. A physician who diagnoses lung cancer can provide concrete proof — e.g. a biopsy — to support his verdict. But a mental health professional who diagnoses a child with, say, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder can provide no such verification. If asked to prove that the child “has” something, said professional will claim that the symptoms — short attention span, impulsivity, and so on — constitute the proof. That is equivalent to saying that a productive cough is proof of lung cancer and that said cough is all the evidence one needs to begin chemotherapy.

An illness is a biological condition of one sort or another. No research has ever proven that any childhood behavior problem is inherited or caused by faulty biology. Nonetheless, parents of children diagnosed with ADHD and other behavior disorders are often told that their kids have inherited biochemical imbalances. Is genetic testing done to verify heritability? Have the genes been identified? No, and no.

The same is true concerning the assertion that the chemicals in these kids’ central nervous systems are out of balance. No physical testing is done to support this claim, and no researcher has ever quantified said imbalance. The reason is simple: To speak with authority about an imbalance in a system, one must first precisely quantify a state of balance. As concerns the central nervous system, no one has ever accomplished that feat, which is why a leading psychiatrist has admitted that the term is “nothing but a useful metaphor.” His admission begs the question: How is it useful? Answer: The biochemical imbalance canard is useful in persuading parents to administer to their children potentially dangerous drugs that have never reliably outperformed placebos in clinical trials.

Bell asserts that I am alone in concluding that “there is no such thing as mental illness in children.” Not true. A growing number of medical and mental health professionals, researchers and practitioners alike, are coming to the same conclusion: to wit, the only verifiable aspect of these diagnoses are the defining behaviors. No one has found any underlying physical processes that would account for them. Bell then accuses me of asserting that the behaviors in question are caused by parents who are guilty of “spoiling their children.” Bell would do well to read my book, “The Diseasing of America’s Children,” written with a well-known behavioral and developmental pediatrician. I say no such thing.

The problem is not parents, albeit only they can solve these problems, one household at a time. To do so, they must unplug from professional parenting advice (and yes, I’m aware of the irony of a professional parenting pundit giving such counsel) and restore common sense, high expectations and firm discipline to their child rearing. As researchers are discovering (belatedly), emotional resilience is more essential to a life well-led than high self-esteem, straight A’s and a plethora of trophies.

In the 1960s, American parents began looking to mental health professionals for child-rearing advice. Since then, an exponential per-capita increase in child mental health professionals has matched a dramatic deterioration in child mental health. No new therapy or drug has stopped this downward trend. The fact that I connect these dots is understandably unsettling to a lot of people in my field.

Contact family psychologist John Rosemond at his websites, www.johnrosemond.com or www.parentguru.com.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

May 20, 2018

I read recently about a mama raccoon and her four babies falling through the ceiling and onto the living room couch of a Michigan home.

The closest I ever came to that was a lone dead squirrel that wormed its way around the uncompleted mounting of a new ceiling light fixture, was apparently…

Bob Garner

May 20, 2018

GET A GRIP, GIRLS

Dear Short Answers: There is a woman in town who is a stay-at-home mom with three children. Every year (actually, three times a year), she throws the most lavish birthday parties for her kids. It makes the rest of us moms look like slackers. Every year, our own kids ask why…

Short Answers

May 19, 2018

SERVICES

■ Burning Bush United Holy Church, 610 N.C. 43 North, Vanceboro, will have quarterly meeting at 11 a.m. Sunday.

■ Carson Memorial Pentecostal Holiness Church, 1710 Pactolus Highway, will have its annual homecoming service at 11 a.m. Sunday. The group Unshackled will be musical guests.…

May 18, 2018

Capsules of movies playing locally. New releases are indicated with an asterisk.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR — The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe. (2…

051818showdogs

May 18, 2018

Diners at Oklahoma’s Tulsa Club must have thought there was something funny going on that spring evening when more than two dozen men met on the roof and spent several hours singing old songs.

Customer complaints about the noise caused the next meeting to be moved to the Hotel Tulsa, but the…

051818Gobarbershop-1.jpg

May 18, 2018

GMA

Art from Pitt County Schools high school students will be on exhibit from today through June 10 in the Commons Gallery. An opening reception will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. today.

The Greenville Museum of Art is at 802 Evans St. Call 758-1946 or visit gmoa.org.

Gray Gallery

The exhibit “110…

051118rockthebus-5.jpg

May 16, 2018

Wingstop is a new restaurant at 1885 E. Fire Tower Road next to Baskin Robbins Ice Cream. Enjoy ample seating at artfully decorated tables with an aviation theme, listen to upbeat music and order an array of items from wings to sides from the easy-to-navigate menu.

Wingstop offers three styles of…

051618hotdish

May 16, 2018

Q Is there anything new about healthy eating for people with diabetes? — G.H., Greenville

A Every January since 1989, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has published an update to the Standards of Care for people with diabetes based on the results of new studies. Sometimes the changes in…

KathyKolasa

May 16, 2018

Former state senate leader Marc Basnight’s restaurant near Manteo evokes two of my favorite things: politics and people coming together for good food.

Working on a follow-up to my book, “North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries,” I am gathering material about local, family-owned…

DGMartin

May 16, 2018

Q My husband and I, 68 and 61, were thrilled to become grandparents two years ago. We are enjoying our first years of carefully planned retirement in our home on the East Coast.

The problem is our sons, who live in two of the most expensive real estate markets on the West Coast, are constantly…

Carolyn Hax
344 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 35
        Next Page»   Last Page»