Obedience Pills

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May 9, 2022 | 9 Comments


  1. Patrick D Hahn has picked the perfect subject following Prescription for Sorrow published by Samizdat Health Writer’s Co-operative Inc.



    “It’s psychiatry which is against the medicalisation of normality.”

    “Medicalisation is not often done by doctors…

    The new President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Simon Wessely, recently signalled his concerns about overmedicalisation in children. In an interview with The Times newspaper in the UK, he said that “Medicalisation is not often done by doctors…Now we see a huge rise in support groups, we see pressure brought to bear to bring in labels…You get obvious pressure from parents…It’s psychiatry which is against the medicalisation of normality.” Specifically in relation to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), he went on: “It’s the same with Ritalin. It’s probably over-prescribed, but it’s also under-prescribed because we don’t have good enough services.”  


    The new guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics is therefore very helpful. And we also agree with Simon Wessely that mental health services for children and young people need to be substantially strengthened.

    Prescription for Sorrow

    One could scarcely have been alive and conscious anywhere in the Western world any time in the past twenty-five years and not have been aware of a raging controversy surrounding antidepressants, suicide, and violence—a controversy that shows no sign of abating. During that same period, prescriptions for antidepressants have skyrocketed. So what is the story?
    “Prescription for Sorrow: Antidepressants, Suicide and Violence” by Patrick D. Hahn

    But Drs. Singh and Wessely are mired in the traps of psychiatric dogma and complacency.


    And already there are some red flags. Firstly, the title Childhood: a suitable case for treatment? evokes the kind of concerns often expressed on this side of the issue, that the creation of the “ADHD diagnosis” is essentially a systematic and self-serving pathologization, on the part of psychiatrists, of normal childhood activity.

    ADHD: The Money Trail


    At the age of four she died, a direct result of the drugs she had been prescribed.
    Editor’s Note: This piece is an edited excerpt from the author’s new book, Obedience Pills: ADHD and the Medicalization of Childhood.

  2. There may be no “ADHD support groups” in the USA (other than CHADD, NAMI and others that emphasize taking your meds). However, there are lots of programs for “stimulant abuse” and “stimulant addiction.” In fact, it’s a growing sector.

    First, the term to put in your search engine is Adderall, not Ritalin. Here’s an example from the Chicago area:


    And here’s an instructive story from a little blog called RxISK, about two young Adderall addicts whose addictions definitely both started at the doctor’s office:


    There are also a fair number of “lay-led” support groups, of which QuittingAdderall is one of the oldest. A link to that group is included here:


    However, if you want to live and prosper in this sector there is one rule you MUST observe: Don’t question the concept of ADHD — especially adult ADHD.

    Even Adam Schwartz’ ADHD Nation (reviewed in the blog above) and Quitting Adderall’s founders take the position that ADHD IS a real disease, and some people really need their Adderall to be healthy. They are, however, willing to say that the net is cast way, way too wide, and that a medical prescription can indeed lead to an addiction.

    It’s different for most of the profit-focused professional treatment centers.” There, the trick is to draw a line between “proper” medical use of Adderall, and “Adderall abuse.” That’s not as tough as it sounds — we are so awash in Adderall that many users get their supply on the informal black market. And even those who do get their first script from a doctor will often start taking it in ways the doctor doesn’t recommend.

    It’s much like the Opioid Crisis: A drug given out by doctors as a quick solution to a real problem (if not always a real Disorder) leads to an epidemic of “abuse” and “addiction.” The first new wave of addicts emerge from the doctor’s office, but pretty soon you can become an addict on your own by buying the pills on the street (or in the college library). The medical system moans that drug “abusers” are ruining things for the folks who really need the drug. Old patients are cast out and demonized, while the new patients keep streaming in.

    • Shortly after Jo posted this comment, there was an email from Larry Diller saying:

      Nice to see the names of all these veterans from the Ritalin Wars. It’s interesting for me to see a revival of concerns about overuse of, abuse of and addiction to prescription stimulants. I know all of you are aware of the four part series I wrote in 2016 called the United States of Adderall (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-united-states-of-adderall_b_8914480) and the Netflix documentary, Take Your Pills (still available on Netflix) that leaned heavily on the HuffPost series.

      I know that Nora Volkow and her group at NIDA are aware and concerned about the problem as it rears its ugly head every now in then in a study or news story but the U.S. government doesn’t seem ready to take action — a well publicized bust of an Adderall mill near a university or the arrest of some students selling or giving their Adderall to someone without a prescription (yes even giving away a controlled substance is a federal offense) would rock the entire underground and doctor supported process.

      But it ain’t happened yet and I’m not sure what has to happen to cause a shift. I couldn’t get a book publisher to support a full length book on Adderall abuse six years ago (which instead became Take Your Pills). I don’t think anything has changed in the intervening years.

      I’m glad to know all of you are still around but I’m pessimistic on anything changing soon — but you never know.

      Good luck to these efforts. If I can help let me know — but I’ll decide whether or not I think it will do any good before agreeing to


  3. It’s not just the drugs . Maybe the shift is the growing research/imaging of very young childrens’ brains for example by the psychoanylist dept at UCL to supposedly find areas which point to causing psycho-social problems in future – unless they are lucky enough to be saved from a lifetime of unique up and downs and can be tweaked asap by superbly ‘well adjusted’ therapists ,whose involvement would then surely mean the authentic personality of that person would never be realised. Do they have fantasies of creating nice obedient groups of humans without annoying quirks or vunerabilities ,including some brain washed groupies to follow in their footsteps to create even more brain tweakers.. After all one well known psychiatrist who promotes attachment theory by adding more and more layers to prove it has said he sees his clients as his surrogate children. No sperm needed all done by psychoalytically informed behavioral techniques under the guise of ‘caring’.

  4. What a boring world it would be if all humans behaved like robots – to be switched on or off at the touch of a button! Far fetched did you say? Not so far at all!
    This is exactly what we are doing to our children – and have been doing for a good few years now.
    “My child won’t sleep” – give them a pill.
    “My child won’t eat a variety of foods” – give them a pill.
    “My child won’t keep still” – give them a pill.
    “My child won’t relax” – give them a pill.
    “My child’s mind seems to be always buzzing” – give them a pill… and so it goes on.

    The child then goes to school having taken “the pill” with his/her breakfast.
    “Your child seems tired – is he a good sleeper?”
    “Your child refuses most foods offered at lunchtime, is he a good eater?”
    “Your child seems unresponsive during lessons – do you notice that at home?”

    The parent’s reply:- “We used to have problems where he was too lively. The doctor put him on these tablets to help calm him down. Now he just seems to be tired all the time – no energy, no interest in anything, hardly eats, never talks about his day at school. I think we need to take him back to the doctor and see what he recommends…..”.
    That type of picture is seen all too often. Now I hear that many employers are complaining that students who wish to become their employees lack the ability to “think for themselves and to be able to problem solve on a level expected for being part of a workforce”. Are we surprised? I’m not ! What else can we expect when, throughout their early lives we have tried to mould them in unison, to knock out of them their individuality. ‘Conforming’ has been the order of the day but, when, at last, they are allowed out into the big, wide world they are lost.
    We should start celebrating the individual from birth onwards – accept that we each reach different stages at different ages and treat every ‘stage’ as one to be guided towards the following step at the rate of the individual and not at the rate dictated by a manual or a set of curriculum standards.
    Medications for children should be kept to the absolute minimum rather than being handed out obsessively as seems to happen at present.

  5. There looks to be a lot of conversation lately around ‘late diagnosis’ of ADHD especially amongst women in their 30’s and 40’s. Vogue have run several articles on this, including this one from last year: https://www.vogue.co.uk/arts-and-lifestyle/article/adult-adhd-diagnosis

    Just this week the Guardian’s Science Weekly podcast discussed women and late diagnosis: https://www.theguardian.com/science/audio/2022/may/12/why-arent-women-getting-diagnosed-with-adhd

    There are several high profile women with large social media followings who have spoken about being ‘neurodivergent’ a word I have seen much more of in recent times. A quick glance at some of the current hashtags-#ADHD on Facebook 1.5M posts, Instagram 2.6M posts. #neurodiversity 490K Posts on Instagram, 230K on Facebook.

  6. I’ve heard Breggin interview Patrick Hahn a few times. He sounds like he does his research before speaking, like most Breggin interviews. I wish there was an audio book of this and his other book. I’ll have to do it the old way like your book “Children of”, David. Thanks too for the confirmation about doxy. I’ve been aware of the possibility of something being unlike most in my young daughter for quite a while and since experiencing effexor wd/pws and the repercussions of its use am on alert to defend her right to have a non chemically altered brain. I think this book’s a must for me and thank you for your review.

  7. https://fb.watch/d38ZlhxUpl/ – This link nicely illustrates my comment above ( May 10) regarding children diagnosed with ADHD. ACCEPTANCE is key – followed by firmness and kindness giving a sense of inclusion rather than separation. From watching the monkeys we can see that it’s a natural response, of the monkey in red, to jump the gun and gain the keeper’s attention at every given opportunity. Should we REALLY need to drug this natural behaviour out of our children ? – in my opinion, certainly not.

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