The phenomenon has been described for many decades, but it became a cause célèbre in 1985, when Richard Gardner, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, coined the term “parental alienation syndrome.” The American Psychological Association has issued a statement that “there is no evidence within the psychological literature of a diagnosable parental alienation syndrome.”
As psychiatrists start to organize the next edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a debate has started on whether to include Internet addiction among our newest afflictions.
As newly approved drugs harm and even kill children, more parents are fighting back. The most dramatic moment for the 70 doctors and 200 spectators attending June FDA hearings about approving new psychiatric drugs for children came when two bereaved mothers approached the open mike.
Shockingly, people in the west are less likely to recover than those in poorer countries. Kindness and empathy are missing from the system. Drugs dominate but they don’t work well: it’s time to prescribe them only on a suck-it-and-see basis.
The emerging notion of “Internet addiction” remains controversial. The term has yet to be recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a disorder and is not listed in the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). But some experts have lobbied for its inclusion in the manual’s upcoming revision, due out in 2012.