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Letter published in the New Scientist in response to article: "Bipolar kids: Victims of the 'madness industry'?"


Anyone working with children needs to heed Jon Ronson’s article on misdiagnosis of childhood bipolar disorder (4 June, p.44). Parents have lost their intuition about normal behaviour: children are meant to be childish.


The reason those under 7 cannot hold two emotions together at a time is that they have not yet undergone the cognitive shift described by psychologist Jean Piaget, in which cognitive ability becomes more sophisticated. A child cannot remember not to hit their sister when they are mad, because at that moment they have forgotten they also love their sister. The prefrontal cortex, the centre for mixing feelings, is under construction until after adolescence, and many adults still have black and white thinking.


While medication may help a few with attention-deficit disorder, parents must be made aware of the personal cost: it numbs all feelings. Since you require feelings to learn and adapt, these children will also be unable to mature. Thus a pattern is established where impulsive behaviour is treated with further medication, preventing maturation.


Elizabeth Hatherell, Canada

New Scientist 16 July 2011



I came off Seroxat in August 2005 after a 4 month taper. I was initially prescibed a benzo for several months and then Prozac for 5 years and after that, Seroxat for 3 years and 9 months.


"It's like in the great stories Mr.Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it'll shine out the clearer."  Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers

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