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 report would have some believing that rates of mental disease have increased. Yet according to others, such a high percentage 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.”
The study’s lead author, Dr. Ruth Perou, 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.
But what some are calling a growth in the rate of mental health issues may, according to some, be nothing more than a misdiagnosis of health disorders as a result of expanded medical terms and definitions.
As 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.”
Some say that is the idea, as the CDC study also found that the annual cost of treating these conditions is $247 billion.
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHRINT), a nonprofit watchdog group, dubbed this the “corrupt alliance of the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industry.”
In fact, the collusion between psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry has compelled the Senate Finance Committee to launch several investigations, including an investigation of Joseph Biederman, chief of the Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital, who had received $1.6 million in consulting fees from drug makers.
Biederman’s advancement of the theory that more children have bipolar disorder helped increase antipsychotic drug sales for pediatric use in the United States. Biederman reportedly assured drug maker Johnson & Johnson in advance that his studies on the antipsychotic drug Risperidone would prove effective when used on preschool-age children.
And there are a number of other leading psychiatrists who have engaged in similar questionable and shady behaviors that lined their pockets while assuring that more 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.”
Even worse, some say the side effects of antipsychotic drugs could actually cause, or worsen in some cases, symptoms of mental health issues. According to the CCHRINT, there is an abundance of evidence proving a connection between psychotropic medications and violent crimes.
CCHRINT states 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.
Likewise, prescribing psychiatric meds can have other dangerous side effects as well, including an increased risk of suicidal behaviors in teens and children, according to the FDA.
The DSM-5 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.”
Still others feel it is 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,” Dr. Jacka told Medscape Medical News.
New evidence also suggests that conditions like ADHD may in fact be a symptom of a gluten allergy. Some 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.
Along the same lines, some say the increase in signs of mental health disorders can be attributed to an increase in the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food.
According to Dr. 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. Dr. Mercola notes that consuming GE (also known as GMO) foods has the potential to cause gut permeability, also known as “leaky gut,” which predisposes people to an array of health issues, including mental health problems.
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, as if that’s a good thing.
But in consideration of these other factors, it seems that the American people need to take a more well-rounded approach to mental health.
This article originally appeared on: The New American