I'm calling it the Candlelight Project. I decided on that name because it's about one parent (me!), in my role as the
publisher of this newsletter, lighting a candle that I can use to explore one step at a time what many people I've got
to know since I started publishing my newsletter believe may be the biggest threat right now to the happiness and success
of children and their parents everywhere on this planet.
That threat is called biopsychiatry.
When I first started publishing Parental Intelligence just under a year ago, I'd never heard of "biopsychiatry", but,
every week from now on, I'll be shedding a little bit of light on the matter, because I believe that it's a subject
that merits some serious attention and that we ALL need to know a lot more about what it is and what it stands for
(good or bad), in order to be as well informed as we can be - and that's what Parental Intelligence is all about after all. :)
Read my initial musings below!
What is "biopsychiatry"?
The word doesn't appear in my 2001 edition of the Penguin English Dictionary, although the concept has apparently been
around for some time; but, as I understand it, biopsychiatry is essentially the identification of all behavioural
problems with brain disorders or neurochemical imbalances that are biologically based. In other words, the behavioural
problems are caused by some kind of disease, in the same way that, say, tuberculosis or multiple sclerosis are diseases,
only in this case they're diseases of the brain.
My introduction to biopsychiatry has been, of course, through my investigations into the alleged 'brain disease'
called 'Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder', or 'ADHD'.
So called 'Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder' is something I'd never heard of until I read a newspaper item
about it in November 2002. It then became a subject of fascination for me, for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, the beliefs underlying the diagnosis of 'ADHD' seemed to be contrary to everything I've learned about human
nature and human development over the past 25 years.
Secondly, everything that I've learned about human nature and human development over the past 25 years has been
successfully validated by everything I've experienced in parenting my children over the past 18 years.
So, naturally, I wanted to know more about this perception of human nature and behaviour that seemed to be the
antithesis of everything I myself believed about children and their development and which had been the foundation of
my parenting for almost two decades.
And, especially since I'm also the publisher of a newsletter that I claim is "The World's No.1 Email Newsletter for Thinking Parents", this seems to me to be
something parents would most definitely want to do some thinking about!
So, let's start where I came into this.
The world's leading expert on 'ADHD' is widely claimed to be Russell Barkley, Ph.D., a Professor in the Departments of
Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
I've no idea who Dr. Barkley is and what he's like. I've never met him. But, his qualifications are certainly
impressive - you don't get to be a Professor without being talented - and, for all I know, he's a top bloke, adored by
his wife and children and highly respected by his colleagues.
I've read interviews with Dr. Barkley in which he's presented his case for the biopsychiatric basis of 'ADHD'
and he certainly - as they say where I come from - talks a good game.
Heck, this bloke even got so fed up with people going around saying that 'ADHD' was a deception, a made up 'disease',
that he was moved to author a document called the 'International Consensus Statement on ADHD' - which was co-signed by no fewer than 74 other experts in this
particular field - in an attempt to show once and for all that 'ADHD' was a genuine disease and that its existence as
such was supported by voluminous scientific research and documentation.
In fact, all along, Dr. Barkley has demonstrated an unwavering belief in the principles of biopsychiatry and an
apparently sincere indignation that the science to which he has devoted so many years of his life is being constantly
called into question.
Indeed, Dr. Barkley's closing remarks in his International Consensus Statement include the following assertion: "To
publish stories that ADHD is a fictitious disorder or merely a conflict between today's Huckleberry Finns and their
caregivers is tantamount to declaring the earth flat, the laws of gravity debatable, and the periodic table in
chemistry a fraud."
Now, I ask myself - is that the language of someone whose objective is to perpetrate a deception? Of course it isn't!
It's the language of someone who is totally convinced of the truth of what they're saying.
And, if you knew nothing about 'ADHD' outside of what Dr. Barkley told you, you'd probably be totally convinced as well.
BUT - as it happens, these days I know quite a lot about 'ADHD' outside of what Dr. Barkley tells me and that causes
a teensy weensy little problem.
The problem is this: despite being constantly told by the proponents of biopsychiatry that there is literally a
mountain of evidence to support their assertions that 'ADHD' is a scientifically validated 'disease', the fact is that in
more than six months of looking I haven't found a single piece of any such evidence. Not even one tiny scrap of it.
Quite the opposite, in fact. Everything I've discovered so far about 'ADHD' suggests that the alleged 'scientific
evidence' being touted by Dr. Barkley and his fellow proponents of biopsychiatry is actually complete hogwash.
That's why I suspect that the so-called 'science' of biopsychiatry is not a science at all. It's a cult.
Join me next week for more thoughts on the mysteries of 'ADHD' and biopsychiatry!