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ADHD is Not an Illness and Ritalin is Not a Cure


Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the most prevalent neuropsychiatric label in childhood, a valid medical condition? Should we really refer to the millions of children diagnosed with ADHD as children who suffer from the “diabetes of psychiatry” — a chronic and harmful biological condition that must be treated regularly with powerful psychoactive substances? Building on previous critiques, this thorough, elegant, and mainly courageous book answers these questions through a step-by-step rebuttal of the scientific consensus about ADHD and its first-line treatment with stimulant medications.

While maintaining scientific rigor, this book is written in a clear, creative, and flowing way, using colorful examples — some funny, some tragic — which sweep the reader and inspire social change. The book integrates key critiques into one consolidated source, uncovers massive evidence against the efficacy and safety of stimulant medications, and offers principal solutions to this burning socio-educational problem. But most importantly, this book reviews dozens of reliability and validity gaps in the overriding biomedical consensus. It exposes multiple biases and non-parsimonious bandages (unjustified rationalizations) aimed at hiding the scientific holes of the consensus and it redefines ADHD as a non-pathological quality/mode-of-thought that has both weaknesses and strengths. In this way, the book serves as the missing needle required to pierce the over-blown theoretical balloon commonly known as ADHD.

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Sample Chapter(s)
Introduction: Illusory consensus and silenced controversy


  • Personal Prologue: A Late Apology to Queen Sarabi
  • Introduction: Illusory Consensus and Silenced Controversy
  • Part One — ADHD is Not an Illness: A Step-by-Step Refutation of the Notion that ADHD is a Valid Neuropsychiatric Disorder:
    • What Makes (Any) Psychopathology ‘Real’? The Philosophical Foundation of the Debate
    • Does ADHD Meet the Criterion of Deviance?
    • Does ADHD Meet the Criterion of Dysfunction?
    • Does ADHD Meet the Criterion of Danger?
    • Does ADHD Meet the Criterion of Distress?
    • Is ADHD a Neurobiological Deficit?
    • Interim Summary of Part One — The Benefit of the Doubt
  • Part Two — Ritalin is Not a Cure: A Comprehensive Refutation of the Notion That Stimulant Medications are Effective, Safe, and Morally Justified:
    • What is the Treatment of Choice for ADHD? Introducing Stimulant Medications
    • Are Stimulant Medications Effective in the Short Term?
    • Are Stimulant Medications Effective in the Long Term?
    • What are the “Non-Serious” Safety Concerns of Stimulant Use?
    • What are the Serious Safety Concerns of Stimulant Use?
    • Can We Trust the Biomedical Consensus? Biases and Conflicts of Interests
    • Interim Summary of Part Two — Nothing Like Eyeglasses
  • General Discussion — A Time to Tear Down and a Time to Build
  • Personal Epilogue — A Very Special Flamingo
  • Acknowledgements
  • About the Author
  • Index

Readership: This exceptional book addresses a wide and diverse audience — scientists and clinicians, alongside medical officials, counselors, educators, and, most importantly, parents. Indeed, the book adheres to standard academic style and scientific norms (with hundreds of verified references and methodological analyses). However, it also contains illustrative stories, allegories, and concrete, real-life examples that ease the reading and make the science available to most readers.

Yaakov Ophir
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