Child Bipolar Disorder

Child Bipolar Disorder: A Figment of Psychiatric Imagination?

In the spring of 2007, I was stunned and outraged to read a news story on about the tragic death of Rebecca Riley, age 4. At age 2 ½, Rebecca had been “diagnosed” with “bipolar disorder” by a psychiatrist at Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts. As Rebecca got progressively worse on a bizarre combination of psychotropic drugs, she died at age 4 of a drug overdose. Rebecca’s tragic case prompted me to look more in depth at what I view as an ominous trend in child psychiatry

There are important new developments in child psychiatry and drug marketing that do not bode well for the mental and physical health of children, including pre-schoolers like Rebecca. Child psychiatry and the drug companies have a huge new market for powerful toxic drugs to put into young innocent children. Their parents are convinced by mental health professionals that child bipolar disorder is a new advance in “diagnosis” and treatment. Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital are leading players in what I view as another fraud perpetrated as “legitimate” mental health diagnosis and treatment of young children. There are increasing numbers of internet references providing information about child bipolar disorder.

The rationale given for “diagnosing” bipolar disorder in young children is really bizarre. I think the rationale reflects a new psychological syndrome that I call “Psychiatric Thinking Disorder” (PTD). It involves grasping at straws, bundling them all together, giving a “diagnosis” of child bipolar disorder and writing prescriptions for powerful psychotropic drugs to be given to young children. I believe that this is a delusional disorder found in adults who usually have MD degrees and a prescription pad for writing OFF LABEL prescriptions of very toxic and dangerous drugs for young children. A key part of the Psychiatric Thinking Disorder involves the belief that one is “diagnosing” a real mental disorder in children who require strong drugs to control their behavior. There is an inability in these MDs to distinguish normal developmental behavior from a real developmental delay or disorder. Also, extending adult criteria for “diagnosing” bipolar disorder to young children is an application of the “homunculus theory of development” that was popular in the Middle Ages. This approach to “diagnosing” child bipolar disorder is devoid of any sense that young children are developmentally very different from adults.
When a disastrous outcome occurs after a child has been taking these toxic medications, then the ploy is to quickly blame the parents for overdosing their child. Psychiatrists deny professional responsibility for the tragic outcome. They claim that the diagnosis and prescriptions are the advanced “Standard of Care” for child psychiatric practice. Then, they bring in their professional “expert” colleagues to support the “diagnosis” and toxic prescriptions. They convince other professionals — social workers, teachers, school principals, psychologists, etc. — that the “diagnosis” and drug treatment represent cutting edge advances in psychiatric practice. These other professionals are expected to defer to the MD’s so-called greater expertise and not to question the diagnosis and prescriptions. Also, psychiatrists claim that, in the absence of adequate research with children, the psychiatrist has relied on the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for diagnosing ADULT bipolar disorder and applied these criteria to young children’s behavior even though there is no scientific research to support this practice.

In my view, over the past 30 years, the development of the psychiatric diagnostic manuals — first, the DSM-III and then the DSM-IV — has resulted in a “dumbing down” of mental health diagnosis from a highly sophisticated diagnostic system that was developed right after World War II, primarily by clinical psychologists. This “dumbing down” diagnostic process has produced the “Psychiatric Thinking Disorder” that leads to prescribing extremely dangerous and toxic drugs to be given to young children. There is also a strong grandiosity associated with this thinking disorder. As for child bipolar disorder and the “Psychiatric Thinking Disorder,” it’s sometimes hard to tell which psychiatrists and Medical Schools, Universities, and Hospitals are just blatantly corrupt and evil, and which ones are just grandiose, believing that they are doing valid diagnoses of children’s “psychiatric” problems.

Since I began my psychology career in the late 1960’s, I have observed the “medicalization” of Learning Disabilities into ADHD. (Neurologist Dr. Fred Baughman calls the diagnosis of ADHD a fraud—a bogus disease.) More recently, when stimulant drugs like Ritalin sent some of these “ADHD” kids into manic or anger explosions, psychiatrists came up with the bizarre idea that the ADHD diagnosis really should have been “bipolar disorder.” It never seems to occur to these prescribing MDs that perhaps the stimulant drug that they prescribed for the child resulted in the manic or aggressive behavior. The resulting drug induced manic or aggressive behavior is then used as a rationale to “diagnose” bipolar disorder in the child. This is another example of what I refer to as the Psychiatric Thinking Disorder.

When psychiatrists discuss whether the pre-school child’s “correct” diagnosis is ADHD or bipolar disorder, it reminds me of medieval clerics debating how many angels can stand on the head of a pin! It is psychological nonsense that can have disastrous outcomes when powerful toxic psychotropic drugs are given to a young child based on such superficial thinking. It also is an example of the “homunculus” theory of development applied to child psychiatry. In other words, it simplistically assumes that the young child is a miniature adult!

With the vast financial resources of the drug companies supporting them, university departments of psychiatry and their teaching and research hospitals have substantially taken over the mental health field. This unsavory alliance between drug companies and organized psychiatry has produced the DSM series of diagnostic and statistical manuals of the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM-III and DSM-IV editions became the diagnostic “bibles” used by health insurance companies and the government to determine eligibility for reimbursement. In effect, this system has established firm control of the mental health enterprise in the hands of organized psychiatry as the dominant authorities. All the other mental health related professions have been forced to use the DSM-IV as the only acceptable diagnostic framework. Since the DSM-IV is so closely related to organized psychiatry and the drug companies, virtually all DSM-IV diagnoses mandate a drug prescription as a primary treatment modality. Psychotherapy and counseling are viewed as adjunct therapies to add to drug treatment.
The drug companies and their psychiatric “experts” have been able to get Congress and the state legislatures to legally establish the legitimacy of psychiatric diagnoses as “scientifically” valid and the “standard of care.” A tragic example of this travesty of science and clinical care can be seen in the case of Rebecca Riley. A psychiatrist “diagnosed” her with child bipolar disorder at age 2 1/2 and then prescribed “off label” a bizarre combination of toxic drugs that included a highly addictive drug and a liver toxic “black box” drug. Since there is no scientific basis for a diagnosis of child bipolar disorder, psychiatrists simply apply adult diagnostic criteria to children in a vague, confused manner that is totally devoid of any sensitivity to developmental differences between children and adults. Psychiatrists also assume that each child that they see is neurologically intact, has normal sensori-motor, auditory and visual processing, no toxic metals, and no substantial nutrient mineral imbalances that could affect their neuro-endocrine system as well as their glucose metabolism. Of course, there are no biochemical or neuro-endocrine assessments done in cases of ADHD or “child bipolar disorder,” nor is there any consideration of possible toxic metal effects on the child’s nervous system.

Unfortunately, the bottom line is that there is no real interest in using any other conceptual framework besides the simplistic psychiatric diagnoses that are found in the DSM-IV. The DSM-IV is used to rationalize any diagnosis that can justify writing a prescription for one or more toxic drugs as an “acceptable” treatment even if the prescription is “off label.” “Off Label” means that there is no science or research to support this dangerous practice. By fiat, this becomes the accepted “standard of care,” i.e. supporting the drug racket in psychiatric practice that is promoted and sold as “scientifically” or “evidence” based. In my view, the “Psychiatric Thinking Disorder” permeates this whole fraudulent process that is aptly described by Dr. Fred Baughman from a neurologist’s perspective.

What is of real concern regarding the well being of children, their parents, and society is that this psychiatric fraud has been promoted as “scientifically” and “evidence” based. It is sold as “acceptable” treatment of children and is likely to become the “standard of care.” Under these conditions, tax dollars through Medicaid and other government programs are then used to buy the toxic drugs that are put into very vulnerable children. In this way, government has become a partner to this outrageous treatment of children’s emotional/behavior/learning problems. Health insurance dollars are used in a similar manner. Schools and mental health clinics are also jumping on this bandwagon just as they did with ADD and ADHD. In my view, “child bipolar disorder” is essentially a drug marketing scheme that has no scientific or clinical foundation.

Drug Industry Crime

In a recent article (November 1, 2007) that was on News, Herb Newborg summarized the fines levied in September, 2007 against the drug industry and medical device manufacturers for their criminal activities. Here are my original comments about what Newborg reported.

“Herb Newborg’s article on the corruption fines levied against drug companies indicates that these companies and their officials routinely engage in massive deceipt and manipulation. Using Newborg’s figures, these fines add up to 3 billion, 430 million dollars! These companies must be making a lot more in profits for their officials to decide that it is worth the risk of being fined for corrupt practices. And these same companies and officials supposedly are engaged in “scientific” studies to determine the safety and effectiveness of their products. How could anyone possibly trust any studies and data they submit when deceipt, fraud, and corruption seem to be standard operating procedures for them?”

Obviously, fines alone don’t deter this kind of criminal activity that adversely affects the health and well being of large numbers of people while generating millions and billions of dollars in sales and profits. Not only are our politicians complicit in allowing the FDA and other government “health” agencies to serve the needs and interests of these criminal companies, but the politicians also reward these companies with billions of dollars of subsidies in the form of Medicare drug “benefits” to pay for toxic drugs. Is our health/disease care system in need of reform? You bet! But, this system is so corrupt to its core that the corrupt influences have poisoned everything from medical and other health practitioner training to licensing to continuing education to health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. The latest “buzz” word to support this corrupt system is that only “evidence based” treatments and practices will be accepted in the new health care reform that is being touted by candidates. Hillary Clinton is already useing this buzz word of “evidence based” practices in some of her speeches. I wonder how much money her campaign has already received from drug companies and medical device manufacturers? Until we clean out enough corrupt politicians in both the legislative and the executive branches of government, we will continue to be exposed to the dangers of toxic drugs that easily gain the stamp of approval by the FDA. How many more Vioxx, Avandia, Rezulin, and other dangerous drugs do we have to be exposed to before there is enough grass roots pressure to break up this corrupt system?

John Weeks interview with FDA’s Philip Chao

Retired Clinical Psychologist/Nutritionist Not Convinced by Chao Interview

“The FDA’s past history doesn’t inspire confidence and trust in what Chao claims he and his FDA colleagues are doing now. Since the FDA has stated that ‘only a drug can cure, prevent, or treat a disease,’ the FDA has been operating on the basis of a contrived lie that has been highly beneficial to drug companies. Well researched health effects of fruits, vegetables, and dietary supplements cannot be claimed because the claims ‘haven’t been evaluated by the FDA.’ How many young people have needlessly died of sudden massive fatal heart attacks from magnesium deficiency because supplement manufacturers could not legally, according to the FDA, relate magnesium to cardiac health and function? For years, the FDA has been much better at playing legal-semantic games than scientific integrity.

“When it comes to the FDA’s activities, including supporting CODEX, I will remain extremely vigilant. Your interview with Chao does not convince me otherwise.”

Ephedra, Ritalin and Other Types of Stimulants

Ephedra, Ritalin and Other Types of Stimulants: Health Risks Increase with Magnesium Deficiency

Ephedra, an herbal stimulant, was back in the news recently with the tragic death of a young Baltimore Orioles pitcher. Several different questions were raised by the possible role that the use of ephedra may have played in causing the sudden premature death. One question is “scientific.” Is there a causal relationship between the use of ephedra and the person’s death? The incidence rates of adverse effects with the use of ephedra also are part of the scientific perspective. Should a warning be added to the label on consumer products containing ephedra? What should the nature of the warning be? Should other stimulant products including the widely used Ritalin and other stimulant treatments for ADD also carry warning labels?

It is instructive to note what are the major risks associated with a stimulant herb like ephedra. Heart attacks, strokes, and seizures are the major health risks that are associated with any stimulant. What was quite remarkable about the media coverage of the health risks with the use of a stimulant like ephedra was the utter lack of discussion of what makes some people at greater risk with the use of a stimulant. The fact that the use of a stimulant carries serious health risks for some people cannot be denied. There certainly have been grave concerns raised about the health risks of ephedra. But, there are similar risks with the use of prescription stimulants such as Ritalin (

Perhaps the most significant scientific and clinical question has to do with accounting for the mechanism by which a stimulant drug may trigger an adverse health event. A major clue is provided to us by looking at the specific adverse health events known to be associated with the use of stimulant drugs and herbs. As noted above, heart attacks, strokes, and seizures are the major health risks that are associated with use of a stimulant. These are all conditions that are also associated with the clinical presence of a magnesium deficiency. The recognition of this fact may be quite helpful in determining who is at greater risk with the use of a stimulant drug or herb. Also, there are two aspects involved in looking at the relationship between magnesium deficiency and the effects of stimulant drugs and herbs.

One aspect would look at the magnesium deficiency status of a person at the time that he or she begins to use a stimulant drug or herb. Initially, if there is a serious deficiency of magnesium when use of the drug or herb is started, then there is a strong probability of serious health risks stemming from use of a stimulant. This is pretty clear and straightforward because it is known that there is a strong relationship between magnesium deficiency and heart attacks, strokes, and seizures. Stimulants tend to cause a loss of magnesium from cells and tissues. Therefore, stimulants are very likely to worsen a magnesium deficiency condition and increase the risks of an adverse health event.

A second aspect of the magnesium deficiency factor related to the use of stimulants is when a person’s initial magnesium status is normal or near normal. In other words, when the person starts using a stimulant drug or herb, their magnesium status is not deficient or high risk. However, given the fact that a stimulant induces a loss of magnesium from cells and tissues, continued use of the stimulant over an extended period of time may eventually reduce a person’s magnesium reserves to dangerously low levels. In other words, a person may be considered a low health risk when he or she starts their use of a stimulant drug or herb. But if they continue to use the stimulant over an extended period of time, they may shift from a low risk status to a very high risk status as the stimulant causes a loss of more and more magnesium. As they become more and more deficient in magnesium, their health risks increase, especially with continued use of a stimulant drug or herb.

Assessing Magnesium Deficiency

Over the past 23 years,. I have found that a very reliable and valid way to assess magnesium deficiency is to use a hair tissue mineral analysis (TMA). Not only does a hair TMA measure cellular magnesium, but because hair TMA also measures cellular calcium, the hair TMA provides important data about the relationship between calcium and magnesium. If magnesium is deficient in relation to calcium as reflected in the calcium/magnesium ratio, then a high ratio of calcium/ magnesium is also indicative of a magnesium deficiency. This measure of a magnesium deficiency also is very useful for determining whether a person is at greater risk when using a stimulant drug or herb. The use of hair TMA can provide extremely valuable information about who would be at the greatest risk for adverse effects of using a stimulant drug or herb. In many cases, the use of hair TMA could literally be a life saver.

Food Sources of Magnesium

Green leafy vegetables are one of the best sources of magnesium. This vital mineral can also be obtained from nuts, seeds and some whole grains. Since hair TMA data show that magnesium deficiency is much more prevalent than most healthcare professionals are aware, it is wise for most people to consider taking a magnesium supplement in addition to food sources of magnesium in their diet. This is even more important for those individuals who use a stimulant drug or herb because stimulants cause a loss of magnesium. This results in an increased need for more magnesium in order to reduce the health risks associated with stimulant usage.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

Muscle spasms, tremors, glucose metabolism problems leading to diabetes, cardiac arrhythmia and palpitations, heart attack, leg cramps, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and agitation, mental confusion,
constipation, eye twitches and blurred vision, high blood pressure, mitral valve prolapse, PMS, alcoholism and addictions., seizures, transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), and stroke are common symptoms of magnesium deficiency. There is a wealth of good information and research about magnesium in health and disease on the internet. Search for “magnesium, health.”

A Prescription for Vitamins? Minerals?

Can you imagine what it would be like to have to get a prescription from your doctor in order to buy Vitamin C or Vitamin E or Calcium or Magnesium? Can you imagine the added cost to your healthcare of having to make an appointment with your doctor to get such a prescription? And, what if your doctor said, “I don’t believe in vitamins so I’m not going to write a prescription for you!” What if vitamins and minerals were so tightly controlled by the FDA that you had no other recourse, but to try to get them by prescription from a recalcitrant physician who “doesn’t believe in vitamins?” How would you feel if maintaining your energy, your health and your immune system were entirely dependent on such a dysfunctional health care system?

Obviously, having freedom of choice in healthcare is a critical issue. In fact, our very survival may be dependent on having free choices in regard to healthcare, especially in regard to selecting vitamins and minerals at reasonable prices without the added cost of seeing a medical doctor for a prescription.

As far back as 1936, the U.S. Senate reported that our soils were already so depleted that our food supply could no longer provide the same amount of nutrients as in previous generations! The nutritional situation is far worse today than it was in 1936. Our foods can keep most of us from feeling hungry all the time, but this does not mean that our food supply contains adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to properly nourish and energize our cells and tissues. Most of us have full bellies while we are slowly starving to death from inadequate nutritional support from foods.

For decades, organized medicine and many medical doctors have debunked nutritional supplements and dismissed their importance for maintaining health or preventing disease. In doing so, they have overlooked a basic truism of modern day life. Next to air and water, food and nutrition are absolutely vital for a person’s health and well-being. Vitamins and minerals are essential for a strong immune system. Air, water, food and good nutrition are essential to support life.

Given the sad nutritional state of our food supply today, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and other food supplements are no longer supplement luxuries. These nutritional supplements are really an essential extension of our basic food supply. As such, a very convincing case can be made that, today, in order to maintain optimal health, energy, and a strong immune system, virtually everyone needs some type of nutritional supplements added to their diet. Therefore, these food supplements should not be as tightly controlled and regulated as are artificial and dangerous medicinal drugs and medications. Drugs and medications are invented and patented by pharmaceutical company chemists for monopolistic control and big profits. Certainly, standards of quality and proper labeling are warranted for nutritional supplements. But it is critical for people’s freedom of choice in health maintenance that they have easy and inexpensive access to good quality food supplements of their own choosing.

Given the fact that foods and food supplements can have a “drug“-like effect on the body, speeding up or slowing down metabolism, affecting blood sugar levels, heart rate, etc., then the argument can be made that anything having to do with food and nutrition falls entirely within the domain of medicine and medical practice in the very broadest sense of the terms. Under this paradigm, anything a person can ingest can have a drug-like effect on the body and therefore, could conceivably fall within the broadest domain of medicine. Taking this position to its logical, but absurd conclusion, no person should be permitted to buy any foods or beverages without a medical evaluation and a prescription! Obviously then, under this paradigm, every food and beverage choice should require a medical evaluation, consultation and a prescription! A person should then need a prescription in order to buy foods and beverages at the grocery store since these products could conceivably affect our medical status. For the same absurd reasons, a person should also need a prescription in order to buy any foods or beverages in a restaurant. A prescription should also be required for purchasing fruits and vegetables, milk, bread, potatoes, cereal, etc. After all, they do affect our health status.

In this context, something that most people don’t realize is that words and semantics often play a major role in what happens in our health care system. Are foods “drugs”? Are vitamins and minerals “drugs”? Should you have to go to a medical doctor in order to have access to the foods and nutritional supplements that you need every day to support your own health and well being? If the FDA and drug company interests succeed in defining food supplements as “drugs”, what is to stop the FDA from extending this warped logic to defining foods and beverages as “drugs?” After all, coffee has caffeine in it; that’s a stimulant drug. Bananas and other fruits have a lot of potassium in them. Potassium is a critical mineral that can have a substantial effect on a person’s metabolism and heart function. Then, perhaps the FDA should regulate how many bananas (a good source of potassium) you can buy each month. Since the FDA is charged with “protecting” your health and well being, perhaps they can save you from yourself by limiting your purchase of bananas. That would help prevent you from “overdosing” on a bunch of bananas. The FDA might even go so far as to make a banana a “controlled substance”.

The healthcare industry is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. It depends on having a steady supply of sick people. Healthy people don’t often go to the doctor to get a prescription for expensive drugs and medications. The use of vitamins, minerals and other food supplements are becoming a larger part of this industry. They can play a major role in prevention of disease processes and in helping a person to maintain his/her health. A lot of money is at stake in the form of sales and big profits. Under current conditions, there are strong financial incentives for drug companies to tightly control the availability and the price of these nutritional supplements just as they do with prescription medications while a patent is in force. In fact, a few years ago, some of the large pharmaceutical companies were found guilty of fixing the price of raw materials for the manufacture of various vitamin and mineral supplements. They paid huge multi-million dollar fines.

What occurs in the healthcare marketplace may have profound effects on what nutritional supplements are available to us to protect our health. Freedom of choice in healthcare is a critical issue for all of us. It is a common ploy for the drug companies, the FDA, and the American Medical Association to claim that certain actions and policies are for the sole purpose of “protecting” our health and well-being. All too often, when the claim of “protection” is made, there are usually ulterior motives involving more control and monopoly in the healthcare marketplace. Price gouging and escalating costs usually follow. Is it any wonder that healthcare costs continue to escalate?