Barry Turner is a university lecturer in the UK teaching on issues in mental health and medical ethics as well as research methodologies and ethics in psychology and criminology. Barry has spent many years working with the mentally ill and currently teaches mental health law to psychiatric social workers. As well as his role as an educator he has acted in an advisory capacity to two national mental health charities. He was one of my main advisors during my four-year investigation into the psychiatric labels scam.
This page has been created specifically to make public Barry Turner's thoughts on 'ADHD' in relation to two separate exchanges of emails I had in August 2007 with people who neglected to do their homework before they challenged my own views on this subject.
August 10, 2007
"________ is a true believer and there is little point in arguing with the faithful. It is now and ever has been irrelevant what scientists 'believe'. It is not the scientist's job to 'believe'. The word means searcher after the truth not believer. I work in a forensic and biomedical science department staffed by scientists several of whom are either devout Christians or Moslems. They however are level headed individuals who take science seriously and approach their day jobs with scientific vigour, incidentally they don't 'believe' in ADHD either.
I have been at a good number of psychiatry conferences in my time on this subject and there is a startling phenomenon among psychiatrists that _______ does not understand. Many psychiatrists and clinical psychologists who toe the party line on ADHD while at the podium openly dismiss it in the bar afterwards. In fact I am certain that his team is nowhere near as big as he thinks it is. On the 16th I am attending another meeting of psychiatrists some of them very distinguished including at least one professor of psychiatry. They ALL consider ADHD to be an utter fabrication and totally lacking in empirical foundation. They base this assertion on objective scientific criteria; It is not a BELIEF that it is a fabrication because it is philosophically impossible to "believe" in the non-existence of something.
In philosophical terms ADHD does exist of course. It is a phenomenon created by the APA. That is the sole manifestation of its existence, since in those who have had this inflicted upon them there is no aetiology or diagnostic formulation. Harry Potter also exists, as [a] creation of JK Rowling; the only difference is JK Rowling is not really transporting children to Hogwarts to be trained in wizardry.
_______ may at some point in his tunnel vision life begin to understand that science, real science is not about one team believing and the other not. Religious people believe in deities and the doctrines of their faith. Atheists do not "believe" in the non-existence of God. If this is two 'teams' they are playing different sports.
Below are the views of some scientists who are not on _______'s team" ...
[Please refer to the bottom of Page 2 for this additional information]
August 10, 2007
"Just for a laugh ask _______ if he believes in Father Christmas and fairies at the bottom of the garden. When he says he doesn't demand that he produce evidence that they don't exist. Tell him that failure to do so will categorically prove that they do. Tell him that there is a huge team that do believe in them and that too makes them real.
Ask him if the Loch Ness monster exists. If he says no demand that he proves conclusively that there is no prehistoric animal swimming around in Loch Ness. You can tell him that a great deal of money has been spent, many papers written and many thousands of hours spent by scientists looking for it, so by his logic it must exist.
Inform _______ that not only can psychiatric conditions be invented; uniquely in medical science they can be un-invented. The DSM used to categorise homosexuality as a disease. Many psychiatrists subscribed to this 'belief'. The later DSM removed homosexuality by consensus just as they added ADHD by consensus. There is now a growing consensus that paraphilias including many serious sexual perversions should no longer be classified as diseases and should be removed from the DSM. They got into the DSM by consensus and that is how they leave it.
What a tragedy that the real science of oncology is incapable of curing cancer by deciding by consensus that cancer is no longer a disease.
If the _______s of the world were still running science the universe would still be revolving round the earth, air would be made of phlogiston and calx and our mental states would be designed around the concept of balancing the humors of earth, air, fire and water.
Oh dear... I just realised that modern psychiatry with its half baked and unsubstantiated claims about chemical imbalances actually BELIEVES they are!"
August 18, 2007
"ADHD is not a diagnosis, legitimate or otherwise PERIOD! A diagnosis is reached after examining symptoms and carrying out appropriate tests by reference to a known aetiology. ADHD has no universally accepted aetiology and there are no tests for it short of a tick box classification based often on second hand subjective value judgements on what is normal behaviour. Therefore there is no diagnostic formulation. It is highly unusual and deeply disturbing that some of this "diagnosis" is not carried out by medical professionals at all. Many of the children who have had this condition inflicted upon them have had it done by schoolteachers and teaching assistants whose knowledge of the subject has been gleaned from cod psychology articles in the plethora of "health" magazines to be found in the newsagent. In many cases that is the sum of the scientific basis for this "diagnosis".
The DSM is not the standard diagnostic model, it is only relevant to members of a club known as the American Psychiatric Association and the only reason many medical professionals mistakenly follow it is because it is fashionable and well marketed, not because it has any intrinsic scientific credibility. In deconstruction the DSM becomes a rambling series of opinions, ill formed beliefs and loose consensus. In other words it is more akin to a political manifesto or pseudo-religious philosophy than any serious scientific work. If diagnostic manuals in general medicine were constructed this way the average life span in the developed world would be the same as it was in the seventeenth century.
The lay people who have been sucked in to this fraud are of course unaware of the methods by which a diagnostic formulation is reached and that, combined with an anachronistic semi-religious reverence for 'doctors orders' is how this fraud has been concocted and perpetuated.
The 'professional' people are divided into two camps those who 'believe' and those who retain some scientific credibility and question this fabrication. Incidentally the belief is usually associated with financial or other self-interest.
The lumping together of behavioural traits, which vary over a pretty long spectrum in this case, and calling them a disease effectively makes any behaviour a disease since subjective value judgements are the only criteria by which this behaviour is deemed abnormal. It has long been recognised in psychiatry that minority groups within societies tend to have higher than average incidence of mental illness. This is in large part a result of the majority social group labelling their unfamiliar cultural traits as 'abnormal'.
The absurdly rigid developmental framework with achievement measured in future earnings potential is what is responsible for the idea that the children labelled with ADHD are abnormal. Children as you well know need space to develop and they need to do it in their own way, with parental guidance to keep them safe. Setting narrow parameters as measures of normality push perfectly normal children into an outgroup where many of them will remain for the rest of their lives. This is a world where they will face discrimination, disadvantage and the infliction of 'treatment' with dangerous brain damaging pharmaceuticals. The irony is that many of the parents, trusting as they are of medical professionals actually believe that by taking their children for 'diagnosis and treatment' they are helping them, nothing could be further from the truth.
Many medical professionals have disgracefully propagated this false illness for profit and kudos. What is so very disgraceful is that many of them secretly agree that there is a lack of empirical foundation for this 'condition' but go on supporting the idea for selfish motives."
August 20, 2007
As with ADHD 'diagnosis' is an application of scientifically established symptoms to a known aetiology of disease. It therefore follows that since "depression" these days covers all the range of emotions from being sad to being acutely psychotic that there is no clear aetiology.
I worked in the wonderful world of psychiatry when manic depression, now bipolar, was a condition that wrecked lives and led to many untimely deaths. The sufferers were chronically disabled by this condition and the behaviours manifested were so far off the spectrum and so far beyond the experiences of the majority for it rightly to be called an illness. Today it seems to have been extended to being fed up or disappointed and you will notice that the prescriptions of SSRI's have risen in parallel with the steady expansion into areas of normal human experience.
The problem was in those days that the condition had an incidence of about 1% in the population, nowhere near enough to make a profit. The drug companies and their tame bought and paid for psychiatrists therefore decided that the boundaries needed to be expanded. A quick check with a few medical economists and marketing men demonstrated that for sufficient profit to be made from depression the population incidence should be increased.
How do you do that, make more people depressed or expand the definition?
Well the authors of the DSM had the answer, change the definition. Make normal behaviour abnormal, its easy, all you need is a consensus, a 'wonder drug' and a gullible self centred population.
Is depression over-diagnosed? Well not really, it is no longer diagnosed because diagnosis is not the process that is used when determining whether someone 'needs' a psychiatric drug.
Diagnosis is a scientific process and the proponents of the DSM long since abandoned science in favour of cabalistic consensus, fraudulent research paid for by the pharmaceutical industry and marketing spin.
Sadly the hedonistic me, me, me, now, now, now generation seem to favor that."
August 22, 2007
"It is NOT the majority that believe in ADHD it is a vocal minority that constantly claim to be the majority. As for people like _______ they know little in real terms about mental illness focussing largely on the fashionable pseudo-science that is the bulk of modern psychiatry. I do, I spent a very long time working with psychiatric patients and I have seen suffering on a grand scale in cases where people really are mentally ill. That is why I am so offended by the ever expanding DSM and all of this pseudo-scientific psychobabble that categorises virtually all human behaviour as illness.
When I worked at the sharp end of mental illness, not the cosy world of psychiatric conferences, I learnt the difference between abnormality and the comparative state of bliss that everyone else lives in. There was no doubt about the severely disturbed thought processes of patients being well off the scale of normal experience.
I have worked with manic-depressives and schizophrenics, I hate the labels but they do help with one thing they describe disturbed mental states that we should all thank our lucky stars we never have to experience.
As for this bunch of neurotic non-hackers who think that being sad is an illness or that a little boy who is a handful is ill, well they make me angry. I can actually understand the characters that invent these 'diseases', they are money grubbing and often unethical individuals who probably would sell their granny down the river. I consider them reprehensible but at least I can understand them. I NEVER will understand a parent who because of their own failings puts an almost irreversible stigma around the neck of their own children and subjects them to the brain atrophying and even life threatening poisons that masquerade as medical treatment.
Thankfully I now only teach about mental illness to the next generation of social workers, I have had my ass in the grass. My continuing contact with those in the field however keeps me informed and this is what I know.
The majority of mental health social workers DO NOT believe in ADHD, the majority of psychiatric nurses DO NOT believe in ADHD, the majority of clinical nurses DO NOT believe in ADHD, there is a large and growing number of psychiatrists who DO NOT believe in ADHD. _______ and those like her is mistaken and deluded. The reason is simple, they have never fully developed their own personalities so it is natural for them to need a comfort blanket to hang onto and imagined illness has always provided this.
To project the awful stigma of psychiatric abnormality and dangerous treatments onto perfectly normal human beings is not only a travesty in itself but is a disgraceful disservice to those whose chronically disturbed states of mind are really causing suffering to them and to their families.
I no longer have the time or the patience to argue with those who are 'comfortably duped' by the ADHD lobby."
August 23, 2007
"_______ is right about one thing, it is a futile conversation. Futile because she lives in a world where faith is enough. Note the references to 'courage of convictions'. This is not a form of courage but of cowardice, hiding behind a dumb-assed belief system is not courage. Real courage comes from knowing the truth of what human life is, not what some well-meaning aunt Nellie thinks it should be.
We all have a dark side; we all have an uncontrolled side. This is not illness it is normal. The problem with naive individuals like _______ is they have an idealised picture of the world in which it is all smiles, picnics and mom's apple pie. They are terrified of the real world so the bits they don't like they call abnormal or 'ill'.
We have to accept that there are some to whom we will never get the message across. There are some who will hide behind this idiotic pseudo-medical claptrap forever because it is more comfortable to them than the truth is. In my previous email I talked about my experiences in psychiatry. I used to deal with a bloke who thought he was Daghda, the principle Celtic God. He really believed he was Daghda, he wasn't just saying it to wind us up, there was absolutely no point in trying to tell him that he was not this deity. In psycho-speak this was called a paranoid delusion. Unquestioning belief in ADHD is something similar.
Young children believe in Santa Claus, fairies, and monsters. This is part of the way we develop our personalities. As they develop and children learn more about the world they live in these beliefs drop away to be replaced by experiences and knowledge. Children are inquisitive and their need to learn is insatiable.
Sadly in some children this is stifled by parents and teachers who 'believe' and who force their children into the same rigid, unquestioning, and for them safe and comfortable world. The children grow up ignorant and with their personalities stunted. For their whole lives they substitute belief for experience, belief for knowledge and belief for responsibility. That, along with dishonest doctors and perverted scientists who greedily prey on this ignorance is why we have ADHD.
Science, true science is about doxasticism. Doxasticism is the philosophical ethic of questioning. It is why we are not still living in the Stone Age. If the world were really run by those who 'believe' that is exactly where we would be.
I applaud your efforts to get the message across Bob but I must say that arguing with people like _______ is unlikely to generate anything in terms of a rational debate and I notice from the correspondence that you are now described as a "nasty man" because you question this woman's faith in ADHD. That response is so predictable it is almost, well dare I say it, symptomatic of something. I'll get the DSM out and check it immediately."
August 23, 2007
"There are two different species who promote the idea of ADHD
Firstly there is the dupe.
These people go through life led by the nose in everything they do. They organise their existence around a series of belief systems. You can detect it in their linguistic communication. Everything is passive and based on predetermined ideas. They are heavily reliant in what they claim to be 'authoritative sources', usually nothing of the sort. They cannot see their own shortcomings in terms of responsibility; they are always victims of something 'out there'.
ADHD dupes are weak willed, unimaginative and see the world in black and white. If their children do not conform to an abstract model, usually based on fashions and cod psychology found in 'health' magazines they start to worry. They cannot appreciate that difference in humanity is something to be celebrated. To them anything outside the pattern that has been written for them is 'abnormal'. From a Freudian perspective they never grew up, ever anally retentive they substitute the fabricated illnesses of modern psychiatry for the bogeymen and monsters of their childhood.
The modern health industry with its colossal advertising budget and endless stream of glossy magazines on lifestyle capitalise on this type of character. They are a market and a highly profitable one. There is much talk about cults drawing gullible and vulnerable people in, brainwashing them and parting them from their money. Cults receive very bad press for this because allegedly they take people in, sap their finances and make it virtually impossible to leave. The irony is on those criteria that there is no more successful cult than biopsychiatry. It is the only cult that enjoys statutory authority to proselytise for members and its arsenal of brainwashing tools exceeds a hundred fold those of all the other cults in the world, and just see what happens when one of its "converts" wants to leave.
Then there is the con-artist
This group, usually fee paid professionals make a living off the dupes. Big bucks come their way because this ADHD is an industry and they are its sales staff. This group abuses the language of science to convince the dupes that they are right.
Defective and sometimes fraudulent research done by the bucketful convinces the dupes that since lots of research has been done (the dupes never question its validity) it must be true. Con-artists in every sphere have used this consensus argument to part dupes from their money for centuries.
The con-artists never put themselves in a position where they can be questioned, they know their 'science' does not stand up to scrutiny so they avoid it. In any case why try to convince the sceptical when there are enough fools out there who do not need convincing?
This is the perfect example of symbiosis. The dupes need the con-artists to support their belief system, the con-artists need the dupes to pay them both big money and everlasting respect. The dupes will chant the mantra of ADHD while the con-artists can be thankful that they avoid the hard questions.
There would be nothing wrong with this at all if it was not for the fact that the victims that have this scourge forced on them have not yet had the opportunity to choose whether they want to be duped or not. The victims are helpless children trying to grow up in a world where they must conform or be 'treated'.
In ancient cultures mutilation has often been performed on children to mark them out and make them belong. In ancient South America children's heads were bound tight with bandages to make their skulls a distinctive shape. In ancient China and Japan it was the feet. Disgracefully in the modern world it is the child's mind that is being bound tight and mutilated by drugs, not bandages to make it conform to a materialistic, servile and self centred model that the dupes call normal."
August 23, 2007
"More Notes on Consensus
The ADHD lobby has been asked innumerable times to present evidence, empirically validated repeatable evidence from observations and experiment to substantiate ADHD as a disease. Their response is almost always the same. They will quote the hundreds of papers written, refer to the vast amount of research, quote the authority of consensus but never will they actually come up with the illusive evidence.
What does this tell us? How does the science of ADHD square up to the truth?
For the purposes of authority the lobby claims a scientific foundation for their belief. By this fallacy they place the argument disingenuously into a scientific forum. The substance of this claim is that "thousands" of papers have been written by hundreds of "scientists" and that huge amounts of research have been carried out. This is a fallacious and in many cases dishonest assertion. The existence of even millions of inconclusive research projects based all too often on faulty methodologies and millions more papers peer reviewed by the "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" method does not establish ADHD's scientific bona fides.
I have had the somewhat dubious privilege of having to read the material churned out by this research. As a vocal critic of ADHD it has been my duty to do this. I have never seen any empirical evidence in any of this material but I have seen a huge amount of misleading statements, dubious research models and downright dishonest flim flummery passing itself off as science. I have seen unethical and deceitful statements made by those who have the nerve to call themselves scientists but never have I seen anything that comes anywhere near evidence of the existence of this condition as a medical pathology.
In my professional life I am responsible for two areas of teaching, medical ethics and law and research ethics and methodology in psychology and criminology. I am a peer reviewer for a distinguished psychological journal and have had years of front line experience of psychiatric patients and the very real afflictions they suffer from. In short I think (or should I say believe) that I am qualified to make these observations.
What about consensus? The ADHD lobby put great emphasis on the alleged consensus in thinking on their pet "illness". In the many futile discussions I have had with the lobby they have always thrown this at me as if that is evidence enough. A lot of psychiatrists believe in ADHD so we are all fools who do not. Many psychologists and psychiatrists have formed a consensus that ADHD is real so those who do not follow it are the odd ones out and therefore wrong.
Consensus is far from proof. It is in fact a poor substitute for a lack of evidence and science was never advanced by consensus. It is consensus otherwise known as orthodoxy or dogma that has held back science. Consensus is the product of belief not evidence. Where evidence exists consensus is irrelevant. If 10 million "scientists" decide by consensus that gravity does not exist it will still exist, not because 10 million other scientists believe it does, but because it can be proved to.
Neither is it in any way relevant that the "majority" believe that ADHD exists. Apart from the fact that I know (not believe) that there is no such majority, even if there was the condition would not spring into life because of that belief. In the sixteenth century the majority believed in witches, hobgoblins and demons. Those who shout about being in the majority on ADHD must therefore conclude that witches, hobgoblins and demons, rather than being a figment of superstitious and ill educated minds represent a number of extinct species
Science is about questioning and the philosophy of science is doxasticism. The methodology of science is empiricism. Doxasticism is a virtue by which the searcher after truth aspires to it by applying doubt and avoiding both dogmatism and scepticism. Consensus has no part to play; the virtue of doxasticism allows us in our search for the truth to accept results that do not fit in with our preconceived notions and to courageously accept that we may never find the truth.
Empiricism is about being able to measure the results of our experiments and much more importantly for them to be repeated and tested by other impartial observers. It is not about believing that this rock weighs fifty tons its about devising a method that can measure it and one that others can measure our findings by.
The belief system employed by the ADHD lobby can never assimilate such a philosophy or such an empirical, evidence based analysis. They speak in absolutes without substance. They quote authority in forms of belief and consensus without qualitative or quantitative evidence. That is the language of dogma not science.
Put in simple terms there will never be a meeting of minds between the ADHD lobby and those of us who refuse to be seduced by this cosy catch all world of pathologising every life experience.
We are on a different philosophical plain. They believe and we do not. Not believing is not the antithesis of belief. As I have said many times in a fight between believers and non-believers the non-believers do not have to match their evidence for non-existence with the alleged evidence of belief. I cannot prove the non-existence of ADHD and I cannot prove the non-existence of Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster.
We do not have to prove that something does not exist. If Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster do exist then they are animals with a taxonomy and a DNA profile, which will place them in a scientific catalogue. If they exist somewhere they are tangible, you could touch them.
If ADHD exists it will have a diagnostic formulation based on a clinical aetiology, its causes will be tangible, empirical methodology will be capable of placing this in a catalogue of medical conditions. To date the chaotically slung together criteria in the DSM do not form any kind of diagnostic formulation. The alleged symptoms are nothing more that a series of subjective value judgements on what normal behaviour looks like. There is no aetiology recognisable in terms of medical science. The ADHD lobby cannot even agree which of these alleged symptoms most characterise this supposed brain disorder. Even more interestingly is the comment to be found in the World Health Organisations International Classification of Diseases -10. While debating the somewhat fascinating concept of situation specific ADHD, a remarkable concept where the child is only afflicted in certain settings such a school or home, the manual concedes that the condition is not in the main classification because of poor empirical predictability. That is medico-speak for there being no evidence of its existence. If anything better pointed up the absurdity of this alleged illness it is the idea that it is situational. ICD-10 is the actual bona fide diagnostic manual, not the DSM which is only the club handbook for the American Psychiatric Association.
The Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot to date exist only in the imagination. Many people believe in them and many thousands of hours have been spent looking for and conjecturalising these creatures. Scientific methodology has been used in the search and many biological scientists; palaeontologists and animal scientists have been involved. There is even a consensus that they exist. But until we have got one in the jar, they don't.
ADHD exists only as a concept. It exists as a construct of the American Psychiatric Association. It exists in that huge numbers of children are labelled, stigmatised and drugged by a group of doctors who base the medical practice on belief and trendy materialistic models of what they subjectively consider to be normality. This is the basis of ADHD rather than real medical science. Behind this group of individuals, who love to describe themselves in terms of consensus, is the huge power of the multi-national pharmaceutical companies who make astronomical profits from the peddling of these fabricated diseases.
On the day that there is a proper aetiology arrived at through empirical validated and repeatable scientific study, on the day when there is a proper diagnostic formulation, not a value judgement based on consensus ADHD will exist as a disease."