Member of the Western Australian State Parliament Martin Whitely MLA, a former teacher, outlines the controversies surrounding ADHD diagnosis and treatment in Australia, in his book Speed Up and Sit Still published by University of Western Australia Publishing.
While other books have been written about ADHD this is the first to outline the science, marketing and politics of ADHD, written by a politician. Whitely became concerned about ADHD in the1990’s when he was alarmed at the number of boys in his class who were medicated with amphetamines and were unnaturally quiet and compliant.
In Speed Up and Sit Still Whitely examines the reasons for the massive increase in Australian ADHD drug use concluding, “Prescribing rates have exploded because it is in the interests of many stakeholders to accept, without proof, the hypothesis that ADHD is caused by a biochemical imbalance.
Drug companies profit, busy clinicians get a quick, easy, lucrative diagnosis and treatment, struggling teachers get a compliant child, governments get a cheap way of appearing to meet child mental health demands and parents are fooled into an illusory belief that they have helped their child with a quick and apparently effective intervention. The real losers in the ADHD debate are children who are completely powerless to prevent themselves being ‘medicated’.”
Whitely is scathing in his assessment of his fellow politicians claiming most leave the controversial issue in the “too hard basket” or do as the Rudd and Howard Governments did, “delegate the solution to the problem of reckless prescribing to those who had created it in the first place.“
Speed Up and Sit Still follows the money trail and outlines the influence of the American Psychiatric Association and the pharmaceutical companies on Australian psychiatric practice. It also details the history of ADHD in Western Australia and New South Wales.
Perth is the world’s only ADHD child drugging hotspot to have experienced a massive (60%+) decline in child prescribing rates – simultaneous halving in the rates of amphetamine abuse amongst teenagers. Mr Whitely contends Perth’s experience is “unequivocal evidence supporting the commonsense proposition that prescribing amphetamines facilitates their abuse.”
Whitely attributes Perth’s massive decline in ADHD prescribing rates to tighter prescribing accountability measures and a robust local media debate about the validity of the diagnosis and the safety and efficacy of the drugs. He claims “Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart are vying for the title of Australia’s new child drugging capital because they haven’t learned from Perth’s mistakes; they are repeating them.”
Speed Up and Sit Still, covers complex material in an easy-to-read format aimed at parents, teachers, medical professionals, policy setters and the community at large.
To purchase Speed Up and Sit Still visit www.speedupsitstill.com
Forthcoming Blogs Beginning November 15
Monday November 15 – ADHD child prescribing numbers by State: Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart vie for title as Australia’s Child drugging Capital.
Monday November 22 – Patrick McGorry’s plans for early intervention in psychosis – a Stitch in Time or a Stitch Up?
Monday November 29- One year on and what action has the Gillard Government taken on the discredited National ADHD Guidelines ?
Monday December 22- New Research; beating boredom a key to keeping kids ADHD drug free (by guest blogger Dr Nigel Williams).
Note; All authors proceeds from the book are donated to Drug Free Attention difficulties Support Inc. DFADS (www.dfads.org) a not for profit support group for parents wishing to try drug free approaches for children with attentional and behavioural difficulties.
- Adderall Alters Brain, Claims a Young Life (abcnews.go.com)