Normal rambunctious kids are being labeled mentally ill at alarming rates

It is not the emergence of a new disease but changing cultural attitudes that led to a 500 per cent increase in the production of Ritalin in the US between 1990 and 1995.

Today, Western societies find it difficult to accept that youngsters possess a formidable capacity for resilience.

Many professionals involved in the field of child care and education have an inflated conception of children’s vulnerability to emotional damage. Consequently, any child who has a normal reaction to adverse circumstances in their lives is assumed to have mental health problems.

Frank Furedi
The Australian
August 15, 2009

WHY am I not surprised to discover the number of Australian schoolchildren diagnosed with psychological or emotional disorders is increasing at a dramatic rate?

Because in Australia, as in every Anglo-American society, it is normal to treat the routine troubles of childhood as a mental health issue.

Since the 1980s the manufacture of child-related mental health pathologies has turned into a growth industry. Children’s behaviour is constantly portrayed through a psychological label. These days confused and insecure children are likely to be diagnosed as depressed or traumatised.

Virtually any energetic or disruptive youngster can acquire the label of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. If you give your teachers a hard time or argue with adults it is likely you are suffering from oppositional defiant disorder.

If you are a little bit shy you are afflicted with social phobia. And if for some reason you don’t like school it is only a matter of time before a mental health professional comes up with the diagnosis of school phobia. The rising number of referrals for school phobia in Britain indicates it is only a matter of time before a mental health professional invents aversion to getting out of bed syndrome. The medicalisation of childhood and of education has assumed alarming dimensions.

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