This is the content of an email I received today. I asked the author, Ben Hansen an activist from Michigan if I could post it. It is a review of a book I have not read, but it sounds like a must read. Ben Hansen has done some wonderful activism as seen here and here. His website is here.
This is the text of the email:
There’s a new book edited by Dr. Sharna Olfman that everyone should read:
Bipolar Children: Cutting-Edge Controversy, Insights, and Research.
My 5-star amazon review is copied below. — Ben
Sick children, or a sick society?
November 1, 2007
By Ben Hansen (Traverse City, Michigan)
The number of U.S. children diagnosed with bipolar disorder rose an astounding 4,000% in the past ten years. This startling fact drives home the urgency of this important new book edited by Sharna Olfman and bringing together some of the world’s most distinguished experts in the field.
Each of the book’s nine contributors offers a unique perspective on the issue, providing readers with a comprehensive view of a controversial and disturbing subject.
Among the most passionate voices are those of Dr. David Healy and Dr.Joanna Le Noury, who dissect the pharmaceutical industry’s unscrupulous strategies to expand the psychiatric drug market, resulting in the unprecedented “tidal wave” of child drugging currently sweeping our nation.
Award-winning journalist Robert Whitaker writes a carefully documented chapter citing solid scientific evidence showing that the widespread practice of medicating young children with stimulants like Ritalin or antidepressants like Prozac has fueled an explosion of drug side effects including psychosis, mania and suicidal impulses. These drug reactions are then misinterpreted as symptoms of severe mental illness, resulting in a mis-diagnosis of bipolar disorder which leads to treatment with “mood stabilizers” often combined in drug cocktails including major tranquilizers like Risperdal or Seroquel.
We may be witnessing a drug-induced epidemic of mental and physical disabilities directly caused by the irresponsible and misguided medical mis-treatment of our nation’s children. Psychology professor Daniel Burston looks at what is happening and calls it “the chemical colonization of childhood.”
Regardless of who or what we choose to blame for causing this catastrophe — Big Pharma, bad parenting, overcrowded schools, environmental toxins, television violence, etc. — one thing is certain: nothing will change until DOCTORS stop making the diagnoses and DOCTORS stop writing the prescriptions. What will it take to bring about such a change?
Perhaps we should begin focusing less on the children who are diagnosed, and more on the doctors who do the diagnosing. Lawrence Diller writes, “Only economic factors, the threat of legal action, or very negative publicity (e.g., children’s deaths while taking antidepressants) have widespread influence on doctors’ prescribing practices and treatment.”
In the book’s final chapter, epidemiologist Philip Landrigan sounds the alarm over the growing number of neurotoxic chemicals including mercury that are poisoning our environment. Landrigan writes, “It is striking that the mental health community has virtually ignored the health risks to children growing up in a world that is awash with thousands of synthetic chemicals, hundreds of which are already known to be poisonous to the brain.”
How ironic, then, if our society’s response to the harm caused by environmental toxins is to give our children drugs — chemical substances that are toxic to growing bodies and vulnerable brains!