Psychiatric Myths...and some public misunderstanding of mental illness:
Below I display a compendium of 16 misconceptions and myths that interfere with an optimal delivery of psychiatric treatment in the USA and many other countries. You can find the explanations to each one of these items by reading the articles posted in this website (already published by psychiatric journals) or by reading the book “Protecting your Children From Bad Medicine.”
However, there is one fallacy which I call “the scientific embarrassment of the Century,” that deserves a special discussion here:
Antidepressants can cause suicidal thoughts.
Such blank statement was made by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) after some researchers published studies showing that a significant amount of patients prescribed with antidepressants developed thoughts of hurting themselves. The FDA, under pressure for having ignored other warnings such as the one regarding the potential harm of Vioxx (a drug to treat arthritis blamed for causing heart side effects) rushed the above-mentioned decision in disregard of this irrefutable fact:
Millions of people take antidepressants to treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Social Anxiety Disorder and no even one of them have ever developed suicidal ideation… unless they also have bipolar disorder. In fact, the truth is that the purported side effect only happens when bipolar depression is confused with Unipolar depression, which is a very common diagnostic mistake. In other words, it is a wrong diagnosis not the medication as a class what creates the problem… Bipolar individuals become agitated, their mind race out of control and they can feel so desperate that could consider death better than the scary realization of no having control over their thinking. In other cases, under unusual stress and episodes of anger they can act impulsively and harm themselves.
The following are some of the other myths:
Conduct Disorder is a separate psychiatric diagnosis.
Spanking is form of teaching children good manners.
Autistic children have an increased possibility of having ADHD.*
Autistic symptoms are not worsened by amphetamines.
Antidepressants are safe to use in individuals with bipolar disorder.
Hyperactivity equals ADHD.
ADHD can be diagnosed using a written test.
Anybody can diagnose ADHD, using one of those “tests” for ADHD.
ADHD frequently co-occurs with other psychiatric illnesses.
ADHD is not a real illness but something invented by the American Psychiatric association to justify "drugging” children.
Genetic influence is irrelevant to children behaviors.
Small children are immune to serious mental illness…even though they can get life-threatening physical illnesses such as Leukemia.
Patients with anxiety disorders can be treated for ADHD with amphetamines drugs.
Eitalin, Adderall, Concerta, Focalin, Metadate, Dexedrine and safe drugs that be prescribed to children of all ages without major concerns.
Natural medications are always safe.
* Neurochemistry 101 teaches us that it is IMPOSIBLE to have ADHD and Autism at the same time but the worse part of this travesty is that amphetamines used to treat ADHD worsen the obsessions typical of Autism. On the other hand, common sense suggest that children with autism do not pay attention... not even to their parents. Of course they have decreased attention span but it is because of autism and they don't need another diagnosis.