Medicine Bottles and Money

War against boys. Are the ADHD drugs unsafe?

Have you heard anything in the media about the meds used for ADHD being unsafe? I would bet not. But guess what? There’s been quite a bit of scientific data pointing towards that very possibility. Just have a look at this page:

Leonard Sax, M.D. has been pointing out these potential risk factors for some time and I can’t remember seeing any articles in the news media other then those written by Sax.

The worst thing about these potential side effects and brain changes resulting from these meds is that they center around de-motivating the boy. The very thing that the medicine is trying to do, to help him focus, is negated by this potential impact of simply not wanting to get out of bed. Here’s what Sax says in his excellent book on boys, Boys Adrift:

“The stimulant medications appear to exert their harmful effects by damaging an area of the developing brain called the nucleus accumbens. Independent groups of researchers at the University of Michigan, the Medical University of South Carolina, the University of Pittsburgh, Brown University as well as in Sweden, Italy, and the Netherlands all have found that exposing laboratory animals to these medications, even at low doses and for short periods can cause permanent damage to the nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain that is responsible for translating motivation into action. if a boy’s nucleus accumbens is damaged, he may still feel hungry, or sexually aroused. He just won’t feel motivated to do anything about it.”

Sax states that we can’t be certain yet about the damage in humans since the evidence is not fully in. However, he asks parents a simple question: Would you like to volunteer your son for a trial?

Most parents would say no. But that is only if they know the dangers. At this point very few people seem to know these drugs may be risky.  I have seen no headlines, heard no “60 Minutes” reports or specials on NPR. I have heard nothing about the possible risks involved. Silence. Just consider what might happen if medications used for mostly girls were found to have a similar risk. There would be a firestorm of articles about the misogyny of the medical professionals and the pharmaceutical companies labeling them as patriarchal evil doers and oppressors. It would likely be front page material. But not so with boys.

But it gets worse. The media is usually informed by medical professionals and those folks are simply not speaking up, or worse yet, they are saying the opposite. Take Dr Biederman for example. Dr. Joseph Biederman is the chief of pediatric psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital. You know, the hospital associated with Harvard University.  Here’s a bit from Wikipedia about Dr Biederman:

In 2007, Biederman was ranked as the second highest producer of high-impact papers in psychiatry overall throughout the world with 235 papers cited a total of 7048 times over the past 10 years as determined by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI).[2] The same organization ranked Biederman at #1 in terms of total citations to his papers published on ADD/ADHD in the past decade.[3]

Biederman was the recipient of the 1998 NAMI Exemplary Psychiatrist award. He was also selected by the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society Awards committee as the recipient of the 2007 Outstanding Psychiatrist Award for Research. In 2007, Biederman received the Excellence in Research Award from the New England Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He was also awarded the Mentorship Award from the Department of Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

This is someone who’s opinion is counted by all and especially by the media.

And what does Dr Biederman say about these drugs. According to Sax he has been “strenuously encouraging” their use. Why would the head of Harvard’s hospital pharmacology not mention the risks of these drugs? Well, we don’t know but we do know one thing, Dr Biederman received 1.6 million dollars from the pharmaceutical companies and never bothered to tell anyone. You do the math.

Then there is Dr. Fred Goodwin, former chief of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Apparently Dr Goodwin has been singing a similar tune about these drugs being safe and guess what? He has now been outed as getting 1.3 milion dollars from the pharmaceuticals.

How many more Biederman’s and Goodwins are out there? Maybe these doctors are part of the reason we haven’t been hearing much?

Parents need to know the risks involved. If the media and our medical professionals won’t do it, we need to. Send this article and its links to parents who might need to know this information.

More from Leonard Sax, M.D.
Risky, Even Used as Intended
More info on Biederman, Goodwin and the kickbacks.
Boys Adrift on Amazon (on Kindle)

  • DukeLax

    I believe these drugs are not only unsafe for children..they are a biological catastrophe.

    I read somewhere that Sexual hermaphrodism in the US is statistically the highest in white middle class males, and the hypothesis was that the white middle class seem to be putting their boys on these drugs before they reach puberty, which is screwing up the development of their sex characteristics.

    It may in fact be a biological catastrophe for many American males.

    • DukeLax

      They are saying these dangerous drugs are getting into the water table..and its not coming out.

      Sexual hermaphrodism in males ( from a strictly biological perspective)…is not a good sign for mammals.

      • Dan Slezak

        Can you please source the water comment?

      • Kimski

        Same thing is happening with the Pill, only in that case it has lead to an increase in males being born sterile.

    • Chris Wedge

      Wait, human sexual hermaphrodism is possible? Where did you read that? (Yeah, I’d doubt it personally until I know otherwise)

      Causing intersex conditions on the other hand – that’s very possible, and could easily bring a shitload of disphoria with it.

      • DukeLax

        there are varying degree’s of sexual hermaphrodism.

    • Susie Parker
    • Bewildered

      Could this be a possible cause for the epidemic of manginas?

      • Tom Golden

        Maybe a part of it, but I think an even larger part may be due to the endocrine disruptors.

        • DukeLax

          thanks tom ” golden-boy”. I’ve researched pre-frontal cortex, “serotonin uptake inhibitors”….and all that shit, but never heard about the “endocrine disruptors”. Im gonna research the snot out of that shit now!!!

    • Tom Golden

      Yes, the white male has been instrumental in providing the infrastructure of this culture, building its cities, growing its food, protecting it from harm, inventing its most important devices, pioneering the edges, and then sharing it with everyone. Now that things are built they get dismissed. Hard to believe the lack of gratefulness of this culture, feminism, our legislators, our media and our academes. Go figure.

      • Guest

        tom, again thanks for putting this piece together.
        I grew up poor, so these drugs were not really an option ( and im thankfull for that).
        Ive learned that these drugs do focus attention onto the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, which makes makes it easier to pay attention to myopic details….but the costs to other parts of the brain are staggering.

  • Damian

    “Just consider what might happen if medications used for mostly girls were found to have a similar risk. There would be a firestorm of articles about the misogyny of the medical professionals and the pharmaceutical companies labeling them as patriarchal evil doers and oppressors. It would likely be front page material. But not so with boys.”

    This is partly true. I said it before and I will say it again. Money is a feminist issue. However, the way it works with feminism, anytime they introduce a new kind of oppression, they start it first with men — but then mission creep results in women getting it bad in the end too.

    With Domestic Violence stuff — it started with men, but women are catching up. With psychiatry and mental health — here is a hard and fast rule. When they medicalize men, and try to coerce them into consuming medical services, it always is under the auspices of “controlling their rowdy behavior” but when they medicalize women, it always is under the auspices of showing excessive amounts of pity and attentiveness towards their victimhood. I have to say one thing, though. Sometimes the kind of victimization that results from excessive pity and masquerading as attempts to help can be more toxic than the direct attempt to censure or control rowdy behavior. So I would never say women necessarily have it easy with feminism. When they have it difficult — it’s bad because they can get few people to understand.

    • plasmacutter

      Rowdy is a relative term. I was incredibly “rowdy” at a young age, I laughed often and turned boring lectures into running gags. I also scored perfect 100’s on everything.

      I suspect I did a great service to classmates making teachers’ material more easily digestible by increasing the entertainment factor.

  • DukeLax

    Thank you tom for writing this, as its a very sensitive ( and potentially explosive) topic that needs to be handled by a man of youre caliber!!

    • Dan Slezak

      Well, Tom wrote a great piece (again) but someone like Eric Holder’s caliber needs to be looking at this. If these doctors are lying to the public for their financial gain, you’d think someone in Obama’s administration would want too know. Right? As a society we want to see our girls do good and rightly so. No one child is more valuable than another and gender should not have anything to do with that. The fact that they changed the public education system to make it so, is wrong. Again, I have not seen anyone in the MHRM write anything that doesn’t support ours girls, we all love and support them. Mines 14 and doing very well in a magnate program. I am very proud of her. If she was a he in our public education system, I don’t know? The top 2% don’t go public, they go too private schools. Their sons are fine. This shit enrages me how we treat our sons like shit and put our daughters on a pedestal. Don’t the feminists know that there are girls on this shit too? Im so angry right now I could type all fucking night. If I had a son there are 3 things I would POUND into his head.
      3. Most importantly, im going to slowly introduce him to the likes of Tom Gordon, Karen, JTO, Paul Elam, Bar Bar, Typhoon blue, Warren Farrell etc, in no particular order. well that’s a lie.
      A. Make him read “The Myth of Male Power” and Blues paper “The princess and the Plowhourse”
      B. Make him watch Toms video “Why Men wont Commit” and Karens “Feminism and the Disposable Male”.
      C. AVFM, He will find the others.
      If your fortunate enough too have a son, love him. Buy him a new Lego set every other month. Don’t make him wait for special occasions.Teach him that violence against people is not cool. With that said, he should not put somebody else’s safety before his own, regardless of gender. If you catch him drinking or smoking, drop bombs of the physical variety.
      I took their fucking pills. The girls come out fine in any situation. Our sons need to know they are not privileged. That’s a lie the feminist’s maintain too keep the victim narrative focused on them. Our boys are in trouble and they applaud, actually make money of it. These feminists are writing books about it. Since when do feminists care about men and boys? When there is a profit too be made! We are putting the finish line 2 feet in front of our daughters, and forcing our sons to start 98 feet back. That’s not privilege, that’s misandry.
      Thanks Tom

      • Tom Golden

        You are very welcome Dan. Thank you.

    • Tom Golden

      Thanks Duke!

  • Xavi’

    They not only damage cognitive functions they damage the sperm as well, although that is a latter consequence. The drugs are succeeding at what they were designed for. Once a male child has been prescribed these drugs, if they do not take well to them, which many do not, they are then sentenced to lower education, of course once there the drugs remain and if behavior and performance do not improve he is deemed, a disability. This will have a recurring affect, as he will unlikely be able to groomed fr college and/or University and probably sent to a skills trade. If the boy doesn’t drop out before then.

    That is how boys are failing to even show up to be enrolled in College. They are intentionally sabotaged in their youth. Boys are targeted. I repeat boys are a targeted demographic. Girls then don’t have to compete against boys, because technically are not even there. That is how this horrid ratio in degrees has tipped so dramatically and will continue to become more egregious.

    • Tom Golden

      I agree with you that boys are a targeted group. I think there is even more going on. Just look at the endocrine disruptors to get another piece in this puzzle. The ED’s (yes, some call them ED’s lol) have a greater impact on boys then on girls. I’m in the process of writing up a quick post on this. Have a look at Theo Colburn’s take on this. This courageous and pioneering scientist was the first to name the Endocrine Disrupters back in the 90’s. You can see her talking about this mess here: with the longer version also available.

      • DukeLax

        “endocrine disruptors”…interesting!! Im gonna have to google the shit out of these little dudes!!

  • plasmacutter

    I was put on stims from an early age. This really resonates:

    “if a boy’s nucleus accumbens is damaged, he may still feel hungry, or sexually aroused. He just won’t feel motivated to do anything about it.”

    I must push, consciously, continuously, and with mentally taxing effort to translate thought into action. Once action has been initiated (often involving tremendous emotional stress for no apparent reason), the continuation of that action is absolutely effortless.

    I’m not sure how much this has to do with my high introversion factor vs this finding, but it seems I have some mental exercises to do.. I’m thinking finding two new, unique things to do each week will help limber up this part of the mind.

    I’d volunteer for these studies.. I’ve been on the meds since about age 7, ceasing them only after exiting high school.

  • Imdefender Mra

    I dont think all ADHD drugs are unsafe I was on dexmedetomidine got no ill effects but ritalin however not so much

  • Shrek6

    I feel really sick in the stomach now after reading that!

    Tom, thank you so much for putting this up. I have sent a link to this article and to Sax’s article, to my eldest son who suffered this form of abuse.

    Let me explain a little.

    My poor boy, who is now in his early 20s, suffered terrible physical abuse as an infant at the hands of his rotten mother. He suffered psych and emotional abuse also all his life till the marriage broke down which was after he turned 12.
    Prior to separation, my health took a dive into the toilet. I was heavily drugged; I was also very heavily manipulated and living under the threat of, “If you ever tell anyone outside this home, what YOU think I am behind closed doors, our marriage will be over immediately and you will never see the kids again!”

    I was talked into having my son drugged up to the eye balls with the maximum amount of Ritalin they could give a child, then 2 different anti depressants.

    Once the marriage busted up and I could get the children’s names off of the obligatory violence restraining order, this same son walked out on his mother and came to live with me. I immediately went to his specialist and demanded a program to rid him of all the drugs, which the doctor was happy to provide. I got him off of all those drugs, the bulk of them in the first few months, but the rest of the Ritalin took the best part of the next year, because his anxiety and worry was over the top. He thought something serious would happen to him and that he would die. So I had to do it very slowly.

    He is now in university, doing reasonably well, but psychologically, he lives a tortured existence. I fear for his future relationships and his future life. There is a chasm between him and his mother, greater than the size of the Pacific Ocean. Not sure if it will ever be breached.

    Notwithstanding the fact that I was in a bad way health wise myself, I feel a lot of guilt over this and have apologised to my son a few times. It sickens me knowing that I had a part to play in the abuse of one of my children and this guilt, I will take to my grave.

    • Shrek6

      Sorry, I forgot to add that after I removed all those drugs from my son, he was so much better. While he was on them, he looked like he was on illicit drugs, his eyes were glazed and he had an attitude and temperament to match that of a criminal drug addict.

      Once free of the drug, he turned into a loving teenager, even if he had many psych issues to deal with, which of course made me feel so guilty for ruining his life with these drugs.

    • Tom Golden

      Remember Shrek, guilt is putting today’s knowledge on yesterday’s problems. You didn’t know then what you know now. Your apology to your son is priceless for him. It has probably made you two much closer. That is the most important piece. Plus, he has a role model of a dad who is willing to take responsibility for his past mistakes. You can’t ask for more then that. Good man!

  • Clint Carpentier

    Not all bugs need drugs!

  • Susie Parker

    Last weekend yet another 1-800-BAD-DRUG advertisement came on, inviting boys who had been treated for ADHD and GREW BREASTS to join a lawsuit!

    This article is dated 2009!!! People knew back then and STILL gave it to boys anyway!-

    I received a call from my son’s school years afterward, telling me they’d found two years worth of ritalin stuffed down a heater cover – my son had learned how to “crawl” the pills back up and slip them into the heater vents when the teacher wasn’t looking.

    I medicated my son terrified he would go to jail with his impulsive behavior.

    We watched the ad together, with him laughing about buying a boy his first baseball mitt AND his first training bra at the same time. I’ve been chided before for being anti drug and anti mainstream medicine, but at least I can say my son never grew breasts.

    • Dagda Mór

      This monstrosity must end.

      Those responsible must be removed from any positions of authority they might hold.

      And the history books must record it for all time.

      • DukeLax

        you know what really pisses me off…is that the MRM is the only real movement talking about the sexual mutations of young boys that these dangerous drugs are doing to them,,,,…and the MRM is being ceaselessly attacked…. from all directions.

    • DukeLax

      young boys who are put on these drugs before puberty, are not only growing tits..their penises and nuts are morphing into all kinds of twisted mutations.

      many people think they were just “born that way”, but don’t understand that if young boys are put on these drugs before puberty they are at risk of twisting and contorting their sexual development.

      Very real, sad, and tragic for a growing population of young American men and boys!!!

    • Bewildered

      … but at least I can say my son never grew breasts.
      The thought of a gang of David Futrelles gives me horrible nightmares !

      • Isaac T. Quill

        It never has been clear what the issues with Futrella have been – Attention Deficits – Oppositional Defiance – Plain Stupidity … or maybe he never recovered from the DMZ…

    • Aimee McGee

      Hi Susie, One of the biggest problems I see is the use of medication in an off licence manner in children. Risperidal was never meant for ADHD and has never been licenced in children.
      I would tell every parent to ask any doctor about whether the medication they are recommending is licenced in children, and then to check the answer out online.
      I’m orthodox trained and I can adjust certain medications as part of my work in healthcare. You can be certain I’m not anti-med, just an informed consumer

      • Susie Parker

        A lot of drugs end up being used for purposes other than what they were originally intended for. Happens all the time. If I knew then what I know now, there are dozens of other avenues I would have tried before going that route. Kind of like circumcision, the information is now out there, HAS been out there a long time, plenty of victims walking around to verify the foxes aren’t doing a good job guarding the hen house, and yet it still goes on.

        One night I saw an advertisement for “yaz” birth control pills, followed by a 1-800-BAD-DRUG for “yaz” birth control pills. You can’t make this stuff up.

  • Greboada

    «Just consider what might happen if medications used for mostly girls
    were found to have a similar risk. There would be a firestorm of
    articles about the misogyny of the medical professionals and the
    pharmaceutical companies labeling them as patriarchal evil doers and
    oppressors. It would likely be front page material. But not so with

    That doesn’t make much sense. The current overdiagnose of ADHD affect both girls and boys, and that’s not enough to make it page material. The fact that there’s a discrimination against boys doesn’t mean that you can explain everything based in discrimination against boys.

    The World is far more complex than the “women are oppressed by patriarchy” thirth wave feminsm model which intends to explain almost everything. Don’t create a new oversimplified model called “boys are discriminated” intending to explain everything too, as feminism does.

    • Isaac T. Quill

      I believe that it was a Dr. Joseph Biederman of Harvard Medical School (That Name Sounds Familiar) who admitted as far back as 2004, that literately all studies on the subject of and diagnosis of ADHD had used only BOYS as the subjects. Talk about making PATHOLOGY Gender Biased and even fictional.

      They didn’t cock that one up as much when it came to Breast Cancer!

      • Greboada

        Many medicial studies are limited to one gender, the one which suffers the illness/disorder with higher frequency. This is not gender bias. This is just limiting the statistical variables in a medical study. Please, let’s not make the study of new drugs even more complex that it is for the sake of political correctness.

        • Isaac T. Quill

          I have no issue with the study of new drugs – but if your new drug is predicated upon the treatment of a pathology that has been artificially gendered one has a rather big issue.

          Reaching agreement in a group often is confused with finding the right answer
          — Maier, Norman R. F., 1967

          • Greboada

            I’m sorry, but ADHD is a very real disorder. Overdiagnosed, surely, but very real.

          • Isaac T. Quill

            No need for sorrow. I have been studying fashion in medicine for decades. There are fascinating patterns that recur over and over – first denial, an emergent disease is denied to exist and anyone diagnosed with it is treated as mad, mad and malingering. Then you have the acceptance of the disease and a select specialisation – then the Fashion Victims Hit: Those doctors who have to be ever so trendy and believe that by catching a case of the latest disease they can get notches on the consulting room door. These fashion victims drive mass misdiagnosis and over diagnosis (Almost as if it’s Moral Panic) and then there is a long period of correction and normalisation which can in fact last decades. The people most affected are both the diagnosed and misdiagnosed who are thrown under the bus when the fashion victim health professionals(sic) move onto the next big thing.

            I’ve seen the same patterns with PTSD, ME (Myalgic encephalomyelitis), E Coli 0157, Personality Disorders and more. I’ve not studied the exact patterns with ADHD, but my nose twitches every-time I go near the subject due to the familiar whiff of the dust raised by a medical “Bandwagon”. If doctors want to “Vogue” they should give up medicine and audition for the latest Madonna Tour – “Blind Ambition”.

          • Greboada

            In my opinion, you just nailed it.

            I know ADHD is very real because I have it. I discovered it in my late 30s and I have spent the previous two decades trying to figure out What The Bloody Problem Was. I had dozens and dozens of conversations with girlfriends and friends about it. A friend of mine nicknamed me “The Seeker”. It has been always like speaking in a foreign language.

            And now, suddenly, 10% of kids diagnosed with it?. What?. Seriously: NO Fucking Way. I have been there for years when nobody knew about it, and back then nobody was able even to remotely figure it out what I was talking about. And now it’s a common thing? Is that a bad joke?

          • Isaac T. Quill

            Been having an interesting chat with a young lady today, trained as a nursery nurse-kindergarten teacher. When I raised the fashion victim status in medicine she added to it where parents keep arriving at schools, reporting their boys as having ADHD when no diagnosis has been made. Defensive misdiagnosis under peer pressure? She also observed that it’s always boys being presented this wan never girls. I think we have a new Honey Badger!

          • Greboada

            Tell her to write a blog. Seriously. As a kindergarten teacher, she has probably many interesting things to say that you won’t hear from the official nomenklatura.

            By the way, it really upsets me how people is unable of taking any responsability of our choices. Kids basically need to move and explore. There’s no safe streets anymore in too many places. Kids have no space to explore and at the same time many of them have no clear limits define. What the fuck do they expect for them? To behave as little adults?. Dear god.

          • DukeLax

            When did the FDA stop protecting American consumers??? When did the FCC stop protecting Americans from biased and inflammatory media outlets??

          • PresenceLOVE

            When did they ever really start?

          • DukeLax

            I believe when both of these massive bureaucratic juggernauts got started their missions were clear and warranted the federal funding….but over time, just like what has happened to many American entrepreneurial bureaucracies ….They all try to expand and pork bloat themselves….even at the costs of others basic civil rights.

            So many people are feeding off the federal pork bloating dollar…that its choking out free enterprise, and yolking the next generation with a debt they cannot possibly afford.

    • Dan Slezak

      So, what’s the solution then? We try all the experimental drugs on boys and a small % of girls where the side effects are bigger tits? If it was the other way around it would be on Obama’s desk tomorrow morning with legislation. This shit has to stop.

    • Mark Samenfink

      I sort of agree, this comment in the article seemed more tongue in cheek than a legitimate claim of comparative victimhood, but we need to be really careful to avoid the cultural marxism trap that knocked feminism completely off the rails into a hate movement.

      • Tom Golden

        The comment was not tongue in cheek. The way I see it, boys are 2nd class citizens as are men in our culture. This is just another aspect of that.

      • Greboada

        I hope not. Cultural marxism is one of the biggest ideological traps in modern world, if not the biggest one. Something to be careful about.

        • alex

          Feminists are paranoid about the patriarchy, seems like some people are paranoid about cultural Marxism.

          Cultural Marxists did not change the legal system to enable divorce,if you think that is the case, I have a tinfoil hat for you.

      • alex

        No such thing as cultural Marxism. (Well there is, but not the conspiracy theory version that people seem fixated on.)

        There is such a thing as oppression and discrimination. It is just that the current culture is post modern and feminist. Females are a privileged group that has never faced discrimination.

        Not wanting to sound like someone or be like someone is not a reason to ignore the facts. If men face discrimnation we should call it out. Nothing to do with victim politics.

        (Feminism is projection of disorder feral females. A lot of the things feminists complain about are things they do to men, so a lot of the MRA position is going to sound like the feminist position superfically.)

    • Tom Golden

      The statement was comparing what the governmental/media response has been for boys and what it has been for girls.. It made no claims of discrimination or patriarchy. I think it is fairly clear that boys simply don’t get services or attention for our govt or the media or the schools. At the same time each of those groups will do all they can to help girls.

      • Greboada

        This is a broad range of situations that are not necessarily homogeneous. What I mean is: you don’t see any gov specially worried for the ADHD overdiagnose nor in boys neither in girls. Does that mean that boys are not discriminated when it comes to medical aspects? Of course not, this is just about this specific case, one of many aspects in medical policies. But it’s important to be precise.

        • Anderson Schorr

          I think you are right to say that the article, in this one specific topic, did not have a subsuntive, face-value proof to it, without the necessary nexus between the premise and the conclusion, and for one reading the article only by itself, that point was not sufficiently explained, and sorta looked like was over the topic. Though I have been reading here for quite a while, whenever I get the chance to, and I think his point is right. And I’m gonna try to explain why.

          When it comes to the lack of due diligency on the topic of ADHD drugs, really I have seen no difference in the lack of concern for boys or girls overdiagnosed, and I concede this point. Might I add that I don’t feel comfortable arguing about the numbers of boys vs. girls who are diagnosed as having ADHD, or being given the portrayed treatment, because I don’t have the statistics over this.

          Though, there is bias in every choice of public policies and public funding when it comes about sexism. It’s enough to see how the academia usually treat, for example, male vs female genital mutilation. Or to compare the funding on treatment against breast cancer vs. the (lack of) funding on treatment against other types – specially when it’s a kind whose demographic of the victims turn out to be mostly men. And I’m sure I read about it in at least one article here in AVfM.

  • Jim Stacey

    I was given this crap when I was a kid. I was told to take it twice a day. I never liked how it made me feel so I flushed it down the drain each time.

  • Jonathan Taylor

    I was put on ritalin as a boy. My mother took me off of it after a month or so. I asked her why she took me off it. Her explanation was that “I wasn’t myself.”

    This is an interesting article. We actually do hear a bit about misdiagnoses of ADHD in the media (from what I’ve seen), but virtually nothing about it causing damage to the brain. This is an excellent area for further inquiry.

    It’s also a good reason to remember that that we aren’t just fighting Feminism and millennia of chivalry, we’re also fighting corporate power. I’m not saying this to “get political” about corporate power, but rather to underscore the fact that so many major power players in the modern world have a hand in putting down our boys, in one way or another.

  • 98abaile

    I took ritalin and then concerta XL for several years from about halfway through the British equivalent of highschool. I have no idea what the far reaching effects might be and I agree that much more information should be made available about the effects other than just a reduction in appetite.

    That said, they DID improve my quality of life. Actually being able to focus on things meant that I was able to take an interest in my school work; the subsequent dramatic increase in my results gave me a huge boost of confidence and greatly accelerated my learning. In some respects I actually wish I’d been prescribed them earlier as it would have prevented many years of frustration, isolation and academic retardation.

    So yeah, more info is definitely needed, but they’re not all bad.

  • Isaac T. Quill

    I find the details of the Longitudinal Studies on Brain Development amazing – and just how they are IGNORED so widely in medicine, schooling, child and developmental psychology and Government is Shocking and even Criminal. –

    In 2007, a distinguished team of twelve neuroscientists, based primarily at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Mary-land, published a remarkable account of the development of the human brain. Since the early 1990s, these investigators have been doing MRI scans on the brains of young children. These scientists are watching the brain develop. The same children return to the laboratory every year or two to be scanned. This remarkable study is the only major ongoing project to document how the brain develops in a particular child over a period of many years.

    The team’s 2007 report was their most definitive account yet, providing detailed information on the brain development of children and young people three through twenty-seven years of age. Some of the participants have been in the study for as long as twelve years. Among the most striking findings in the report are the differences in the developmental trajectories of girls compared with boys. The researchers found that the various regions of the brain develop in a different sequence and tempo in girls compared with boys. In some regions of the brain, such as the parietal gray matter — the region of the brain most involved with integrating information from different sensory modalities — girls and boys develop along similar trajectories, but the pace of the girls’ development is roughly two years ahead of the boys’. In other regions, such as temporal gray matter — the region of the brain most involved with spatial perception and object recognition — girls and boys develop along similar trajectories, but the pace of the boys’ development is slightly faster than the girls’. In yet other regions, such as occipital gray matter — visual cortex — the trajectories of brain development are remarkably different, with no overlap between girls and boys. In this region of the brain, girls between six and ten years of age show rapid development, while boys in the same age group do not. After fourteen years of age, this area begins to diminish slightly in girls — the amount of brain tissue in this region actually shrinks in girls over fourteen — while in boys over fourteen this area is growing at a rapid pace.

    It’s important to remember that brain maturation is often associated with a pruning, or reduction, in the size of brain regions. The fact that one region of the brain is shrinking in teenage girls while the same region is growing in teenage boys doesn’t mean that boys are smarter than girls, or that girls are smarter than boys. It just means that girls and boys are different. Differences do not imply an order of rank. Oranges and apples are different, but that doesn’t mean oranges are better than apples. Ovaries and testicles are different, but that doesn’t mean that ovaries are better than testicles.

    The study is still running after 20+ years – and is till recruiting children to take part.

    Full details are at NIMH – Brain Development Study –

    Related Publications from NIMH :

    Puberty-related influences on brain development. – Jay N Giedd, Liv S Clasen, Rhoshel Lenroot, Dede Greenstein, Gregory L Wallace, Sarah Ordaz, Elizabeth A Molloy, Jonathan D Blumenthal, Julia W Tossell, Catherine Stayer, Carole A Samango-Sprouse, Dinggang Shen,Christos Davatzikos, Deborah Merke, George P Chrousos, – Child Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Building 10, Room 4C110, 10 Center Drive, MSC 1367, Bethesda, MD 20892, United States.Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology (Impact Factor: 4.04). 08/2006; 254-255:154-62. DOI:10.1016/j.mce.2006.04.016

    1) From The Wayback Machine

    2) Webcite Copy

  • Kimski

    “He has now been outed as getting 1.3 milion dollars from the pharmaceuticals.”

    So, basically the exact same system as with the infamous Mary Kellet, where dubious individuals are financially awarded by pushing an agenda that are overtly hostile towards males, while women are the ones being portrayed as the victims of systematic oppression, right?

    I’d really like to see what would happen, if we reversed the living conditions for the genders for a couple of months. If Norah Vincent is any indication, we’ll be witnessing a substantial increase in female patients in the psychiatric hospitals afterwards, and understandably so.

    Drugging boys should be rated right up there with war crimes, and punished to the same extend.

  • RSDavies

    There is a UK organisation that is addressing some of these issues on the ground and proving to be successful with boys in resolving the so-called behavioural & learning issues. But they are having enormous difficulty breaking through the political educational / medical establishment that has a vested interested in continuing with the same old practices that don’t work.

    • Isaac T. Quill

      Hmmmm – interesting folks there at Fit-2-Learn. I’m wondering if there isn’t an AVfM interview in there, possibly with E Pizzey or maybe Dr Tara P. The one thing that screams out for their work and research is how limiting physical activity causes long term neurological/cognitive damage, which due to dimorphism in development would adversely affect the male more.

  • Dean Esmay

    Extended use of amphetamines (which is by the way, the same thing as “methamphetamine” i.e. the same as the street drug “meth”) have been shown to cause permanent loss of gray matter and permanent damage to serotonin and dopamine receptors. This class of drugs has been around for over a hundred years. Yet we’re supposed to believe given them to children, mostly boys, is going to have no negative effects. Right.

    • sybil rush

      Thank you for writing this. Articles about ADHD meds rarely acknowledge that all of them are amphetamines, very similar to meth.

    • Andrejovich Dietrich

      My son. Much like the bulk of all current generation sons, was diagnosed with ADHD. This was one issue I put my foot down and said resoundingly “NO…You will not put my son on mind altering drugs. And if you do, I will drag you in and declared an unfit mother.”

      This was one of very few, count on one half of one hand many times I won a “For the sake of the child” arguments.

  • Graham Strouse

    Children and adolescents in general are more vulnerable to long-lasting, unpredictable damage from ANY psychoactive substance than adults for the simple reason that human brains continue developing into our early to middle 20s. Younger people have a higher level of neural plasticity.

    • Aimee McGee

      Yes, however don’t underplay neural plasticity in adults, the man in my previous comment has demonstrated learned behaviour facilitated by use of methylphenidate

  • Aimee McGee

    The National Institute of Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that ADHD medication is only used after whole family behavioural intervention has been exhausted in children and adolescents. It lists the only medications evidenced for ADHD as stimulants (I.e. methylphenidate) and Atomoxetine, with use of three antidepressant medications as adjunctive treatments if necessary (bruproion,duloxetine, venlafaxine) There is no evidence for the use of other antidepressants, antipsychotic meds or mood stabilising meds in ADHD.
    With adults the medication should be first line and with stimulant doses of 0.8-1.2 mg/kg, but behavioural intervention should be given once a stable medication regimen is achieved or if there is poor medication tolerance.
    That’s the best practice and I can tell you as an advocate that it’s repeatedly ignored by health funding here in the UK.
    On one side, I see kids drugged to the eyeballs (we in health call it the Ritalin Stare) when they are probably not actually ADHD. Yet it took 3 years, several letters from an MP, and some serious threats of legal action based on the NHS charter and the Equalities Act to get my best friend receiving his stimulant meds on the NHS. He was 48 at the time of diagnosis, and he paid for it rather than waiting for non-existent and non-specialist assessment on the NHS (if we could get it, despite his 2 suicide attempts and high risk of losing his job).
    Nearly 4 years on, his life has been transformed, with a promotion and a genuine lack of despair in his life. Of course there has been no behavioural intervention forthcoming, but he has grabbed every opportunity to learn about CBT and has done extensive self-help, plus a bit of coaching from a trained practitioner he met through a work based course on conflict resolution.
    We can’t afford to throw out the baby with the bath water. Medications have some place in treatment for some people. Polypharmacy seems common and unevidenced in some health systems. With all children we need to exercise extreme caution with psychoactive drugs. At least with adults they can a) consent and b) provide feedback on adverse events

    • Tom Golden

      Indeed Aimee, there are instances where these meds are very useful. Sax, in his book, Boys Adrift, talks about some ways to prescribe less of the stimulants and get a similar therapeutic response. I think we need to use caution about the side effects of these meds. At this point, as you say, we are overdoing it sometimes and I think our boys are paying a price.

      • Aimee McGee

        This is why I believe that diagnosis and treatment should be staged and in a whole package of care. With adult diagnosis as done by best practice my best friend had to have two observers to verify symptoms. I would say that in the case of children, schools have too much invested in having “well behaved” kids to be an effective second observer – there should be a system where the child is observed by a trained individual.
        I would also want to see parents being coached in how to work with their children with ADHD.
        All of this is very pertinent and personal at the moment. My SO’s younger daughter may well end up with a diagnosis at age 13. SO parallel parents on a 50:50 basis with a likely NPD woman, and all hell will break loose over diagnosis, behavioural interventions AND medication. It will probably bring us to court again.
        Little apples don’t fall far from the tree – my SO has an adult diagnosis of inattentive subtype ADHD.

  • Jackson Burek

    I don’t care. It is so difficult living with ADHD that at almost any cost I will remain medicated or I would probably end up killing myself. Even WITH the medication, it is still such a struggle every day to do what is very easy for most people: sit still and pay attention. The way society is structured today makes it almost impossible for me to be successful without medication, and the stress is almost unbearable.

  • fathers4fairness

    Boyhood – not pathology.

  • TheSuperRedneck

    This is the kind of thing that I point to when people ask me why I don’t want to have children. I have a close childhood friend who has a young son who is in pre-school right now, and one of his pre-school teachers honestly suggested that his four-year-old might have ADHD but that “medication really helps a lot.”

    I’m so glad that I didn’t end up being put on pills when I was a kiddo myself. :/

  • Kelsey da Silva

    Well, that’s a bummer… I guess as a female, the affects may be different (I myself am on ADHD medication, among other things). This also does talk about the adolescent brain, and while your brain DOES continue to develop in your early to mid 20’s depending, the effects may not be as drastic on an older person. Again, who knows, but it’s a possibility. It also depends on the brain chemistry of the individual to begin with. For instance, a good deal of individuals “diagnosed” with ADHD may not in fact have the condition, as the diagnostic has gotten broader and broader and BROADER. If using intensive testing, however, and historical data on behavior and/or physiology, a more conclusive answer can be found. For instance, my brain chemistry and neuro-pathways were all to hell to begin with, and the medication I take has helped me function on a nominal level, a miraculous change. In some individuals, many, I would say, the medication is a life changer. But you are playing with someones brain; you have got to make sure they are getting what they need, if they need anything there at all! So many kids are just slapped on drugs, some as young as toddlers. And guess how toddlers act! Impulsive, fidgety, illogical, unpredictable…BECAUSE THEY ARE TODDLERS! But ‘lo, those are some of the hallmarks of ADD, so lets slap them full of drugs….it’s maddening. And to see how it actually can truly mess up someones head, it really is infuriating…

  • Andrejovich Dietrich

    I have always viewed ADHD drugs as child abuse. Those who resort to using them show the laziness of the parent. Put your money into finding a Child Psychiatrist who can give you the skills to modify the ADHD behavior without chemistry. It cost me more money (not covered under insurance, whereas the drug is), and took a lot more effort. But the end result is it took roughly 1 year to cure it without chemistry.

    • Karl Dawg

      Awesome …. GOOD ON YOU !

  • HeraSentMe

    ADD = Your child is bored in school.
    ADHD = Your child is bored and fidgety in school.

    • TrishRan

      and your kid is in a school where phys ed and recess have been eliminated.

  • Graham Strouse

    I think the larger problem is that we really don’t know all that much about how our brains work, excfept in the most basic areas, but Big pharma wants to make us think that THEY do.

  • Dagen

    One more thing they fail to mention time and time again is that the schools have trained their teachers to be able to “identify” ADHD and ADD in children and to be mandatory reporters of this problem. Next with Child Welfare system they make sure you kid gets on these drugs. What the teachers and school systems do not tell you is that they receive a stipend of $400 per child per semester that is on these drugs from the federal government. Adds up quick!!

  • Karl Dawg

    I don’t advocate or believe in shoveling chemistry down someone’s throat just because it’s someone’s opinion or because they think they know better just because they’re a teacher … My daughters 3rd grade teacher became highly agitated when I said: NO ! to her demand to put my daughter on ADD meds, we changed her diet and supplemented with quality vitamins … B I N G O ! problem solved !