Jerome Kagan is a psychologist and professor at Harvard University. He was named as the 22nd most eminent psychologist of the 20th century. He has conducted extensive research on the cognitive and emotional development of children and has made claims that ADHD is an “invention” that doesn’t exist.
He strongly believes that the disorder was constructed by pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals. Essentially, ADHD is a “hoax”.
Kagan’s view has gained a lot of criticism from psychologists and other medical professionals. However, due to his professional background and expert knowledge in children’s cognitive development, he has continued to defend his viewpoint. He insists that there needs to be a shift in the ways that mental health issues, like ADHD, are handled.
Children who misbehave or underperform are often diagnosed with ADHD. Kagan criticised doctors, calling them impatient and are quick to hand out mind-altering drugs such as Ritalin. Kagan believes that medication should be a last resort, not the first option.
Doctors should investigate the reasons why a child is misbehaving before making prescriptions. He also suggested that children who misbehave should be tutored and given more educational support, not drugs.
As stated above, a great proportion of the blame could be attributed to the power of pharmaceutical companies. In fact, prescription medications are big business. Also, when money is involved, other factors start influencing the treatment administered.
This means that a great number of doctors benefit from prescribing and promoting some drugs.
This is actually “corruptive and immoral” leading to misdiagnosis as well as over-diagnosis in a number of cases.
In addition, misdiagnosis is another problem characterized by lack of deep investigation taking place before children are diagnosed with mental disorders.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in 2011, about 6.4 million kids were diagnosed with ADHD.
He believes that more needs to be done to ensure that the health and safety needs of the patient are met. Prescribing drugs based on symptoms is not effective. Instead, he recommended that the entire system of how mental health issues are diagnosed should be reassessed.
Should we blindly trust authorities with our mental health?