The Wall Street Journal recently printed a letter to the editor in which Upland, Calif., psychiatrist/psychoanalyst Charlene Moskovitz promotes the alleged benefits of medication and psychotherapy for children diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and ADHD (and, presumably, other emotional and behavioral issues). According to Moskovitz, children who exhibit the behaviors in question may be dealing with “biochemical abnormalities.”
She asks, rhetorically, “Would such a child not benefit from having his or her biochemical issues helped with medication and thus build further strengths and coping mechanisms to deal with the other difficult aspects of his life? Does such a child not benefit more fully from the psychotherapy a skilled therapist provides?”
In all fairness to her, Moskovitz is only acting as a spokesperson for the mental health and pharmaceutical industries that have built up around the practice of diagnosing children as young as two with various mental disorders. Said practitioners routinely explain the issues in question – depression, anxiety, inattention, impulsivity, defiance, frequent and extreme tantrums, and sudden mood swings – in terms of “biochemical imbalances” and prescribe medication as well as various forms of therapy.
In 2009, I published a book on this subject: “The Diseasing of America’s Children.” My co-author, pediatrician Bose Ravenel of Greensboro, N.C., and I put forth evidence that these brain-based explanations and therapies have no scientific validity.