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Tag: psychiatric labelling

A Dose of Sanity: Mind, Medicine, and Misdiagnosis

Neuropsychiatrist Dr. Sydney Walker once again draws on his decades of experience to shine light on psychiatry’s over-reliance on psychiatric labels in this book. He explains how psychiatrists and mental health professionals have become accustomed to running down a list of symptoms and throwing a label on their patients. Instead, mental health professionals need to do further investigation to find if there are any underlying medical issues causing these symptoms, whether it’s hyperactivity, memory loss or depression. As a result of this over-reliance on psychiatric drugs, studies show that the rate of misdiagnosis is more than 4 in 10.

Beneath these symptoms that are all-too-quickly categorized as psychiatric disorders, are often medical conditions such as poor nutrition, Lyme disease, allergies or hypothyroidism. In A Dose of Sanity: Mind, Medicine, and Misdiagnosis, Dr. Walker teaches readers to take a step back and evaluate symptoms on a deeper, biological level to start understanding what they really mean. Dr. Walker believes that psychiatry is moving towards the hypothetical realm with the manner in which it diagnoses patients, and he offers an approach in this book that goes beyond this.

One of the useful tools included in A Dose of Sanity is the 24-hour profile that mental health consumers can use to track emotional and physical changes throughout the day to give their psychiatrist a more accurate picture of how they are feeling, and the patterns and causes surrounding their symptoms. For all mental health consumers, whether you are experiencing symptoms yourself and/or have been labelled, or if you have a loved one that has told you they have been labeled hyperactive, depression, dementia, etc., this book is a must-read.

About the Author

Sydney Walker III, M.D., is a board-certified neuropsychiatrist, Director of the Southern California Neuropsychiatric Institute, and founder of Behavioral Neurology International. His other books include Help for the Hyperactive ChildPsychiatric Signs and Symptoms Due to Medical Problems, and The Hyperactivity Hoax: How to Stop Drugging Your Child and Find Real Medical Help.


Charles B. Inlander – President, People’s Medical Society:

“Bravo to Dr. Sydney Walker. He has written a masterful book for current and prospective mental health consumers. Before filling a prescription for Prozac or Ritalin, make sure you get A Dose of Sanity.”

The Hyperactivity Hoax : How To Stop Drugging Your Child And Find Real Medical Help

This book is written by neuropsychiatrist Dr. Sydney Walker, who is willing and determined to find the root of hyperactive behavior in children, instead of rushing to place psychiatric labels on them. With the rampant diagnoses of children with ADD, ADHD and hyperactivity, Dr. Walker examines what these labels mean, and whether the prescribed treatment of stimulants such as Ritalin is working.

In Dr. Walker’s private practice, he often discovered that a child that had been labeled as ADD or ADHD was misdiagnosed and in fact had displayed the hyperactive symptoms because of an underlying medical illness such as diabetes, food poisoning or allergies. In The Hyperactivity Hoax : How To Stop Drugging Your Child And Find Real Medical Help, Dr. Walker helps parents find safe and effective treatments for their child’s symptoms without prescribing them psychotropic drugs that are likely to be unnecessary and potentially cause other long-term issues for the child due to their side effects. The book also offers some entertainment with how candidly Dr. Walker calls out the psychiatric field and DSM-IV.

Dr. Walker offers valuable advice in this book for parents regarding how to determine if your child needs medical attention, how to find the medical help you need, alternative treatments for their child’s behavioral issues, how to stand your ground when dealing with doctors and school officials, and how to provide better overall care for your child.

About the Author

Sydney Walker III, M.D., is a board-certified neuropsychiatrist, Director of the Southern California Neuropsychiatric Institute, and founder of Behavioral Neurology International. His other books include Help for the Hyperactive ChildPsychiatric Signs and Symptoms Due to Medical Problems, and A Dose of Sanity.


Marilyn Chase, The Wall Street Journal:

“His mission is to embolden families to say ‘no’ to the Ritalin fad.”

Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., Director, Autism Research Institute:

“Dr. Walker’s book is must reading for parents who want real solutions for their children–not just ‘wastebasket’ labels such as hyperactivity and ADD. I recommend it highly to parents–and their doctors.”

Publisher’s Weekly:

“Walker, director of the Southern California Neuropsychiatric Institute, makes a dramatic case against the widespread use of the drug Ritalin to treat hyperactive children, [pointing] a finger at hurried doctors who treat symptoms without identifying underlying causes.”

Charles Inlander, President, People’s Medical Society

“Finally someone breaks the myth about hyperactivity….Not only does it clearly show that hyperactivity is a professional excuse for medical incompetence, but it gives parents a real action plan for helping their children. It’s about time an esteemed physician spoke out. Bravo, Sydney Walker.”

Unraveling the ADD/ADHD Fiasco

This is another groundbreaking book from psychologist Dr. David B. Stein, which was published in 2001. Unraveling the ADD/ADHD Fiasco is, like other books written by Dr. Stein, based on his highly successful Cargivers’ Skill Program, which provides parents with skills to teach their children to approach learning with more enthusiasm, and to respect and honor authority figures in the home and at school.

In the book, Dr. Stein addresses the rapid rise in children being diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, and questions the pharmaceutical solutions that are so often being provided to treat these conditions in children. Dr. Stein raises concerns over the theories of ADD and ADHD, and the riskiness of prescribing amphetamine drugs like Ritalin to children as a way to treat these behavioral disorders. Dr. Stein suggests that this sudden rise in ADD and ADHD diagnoses are being brought on by children misbehaving and not being able to perform in school, which could be a result of the current status quo in modern society’s parenting and teaching institutions.

To help educators, physicians, therapists and parents treat these growing behavioral problems in children, Dr. Stein suggests an alternative to medications. His Caregivers’ Skill Program has been proven highly effective, and Stein uses case studies from his own practice to demonstrate this. This solution will lead to happier, healthier, better educated and better behaving children who have more harmonious relationships with their authority figures.

About the Author

Dr. David B. Stein is a psychologist who worked as a clinical practitioner and professor of psychology in Virginia. He also was deputized with the Prince George Co. Police Department in Virginia, and worked as a criminal profiling consultant for Petersburg and Virginia State Police. Dr. Stein is an accomplished author who spent most of his career fighting against and exposing the evils of using amphetamine drugs such as Ritalin to treat children with ADD and ADHD. His other books include The Psychology Industry Under a Microscope, Controlling the Difficult Adolescent: The REST Program, Ritalin is Not the Answer: A Drug-Free Practical Program for Children Diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, and Stop Medicating, Start Parenting. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 73 years old, and is survived by his wife, two sons and two grandchildren.


Dr. Bose Ravenel, co-author of The Diseasing of America’s Children: Exposing the ADHD Fiasco and Empowering Parents to Take Back Control:

“I am a practicing pediatrian with a heavy emphasis on behavioral problems. After reading Dr. Stein’s former book RITALIN IS NOT THE ANSWER, although skeptical because so much of conventional ‘wisdom’ about managing ADD was challenged, I cautiously began to offer this approach to select parents. The results were impressive in several cases, and this fueled my desire to learn more about Dr. Stein’s approach. Having now begun to offer the CSP (Skilled Caregivers Program) for any parent who prefers a non-medication method of dealing with ADD/ADHD behaviors, I continue to experience success in a number of cases where previously medication offered the only hope for improvement. The current volume amplifies on what Dr. Stein has previously written, and adds a number of areas to supplement the fundamental behavioral premises and techniques. Having had an opportunity to read the manuscript twice prior to its current availability, I am most impressed and unhestitatingly recommend it for any parent dealing with this issue and for professionals who would like to be able to help parents to manage their child’s behavior problems effectively without having to resort to medications.”

The Diseasing of America’s Children: Exposing the ADHD Fiasco and Empowering Parents to Take Back Control

This book, written by psychologist John Rosemond and pediatrician Dr. Bose Ravenel, exposes the fallacy behind the creation of these behavioral and developmental “diseases” such as ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and early-onset bipolar disorder (EDOBD). These diagnoses do not conform to the scientific definition of what a disease is, and lack tangible evidence, yet children are being diagnosed with such labels at alarming rates.

In the book, Rosemond and Dr. Ravenel uncover how the “ADHD Establishment” – which includes mental health professionals, physicians, patient advocacy groups, and the pharmaceutical industry as a whole – have tricked parents, teachers, patients, consumers and medical professionals into believing they suffer from an illness and need medication for it. There is little evidence that this particular illness exists, and all the while, the ADHD Establishment continues to amass growing profits. The Diseasing of America’s Children: Exposing the ADHD Fiasco and Empowering Parents to Take Back Control explains the new age pseudo-science that has been used to create these “diseases,” and examines how the school system is part of the problem.

This book reveals the dangers posed by many of these behavioral drugs prescribed for these so-called conditions. Finally, backed by scientific research and years of professional experience, Rosemond and Dr. Ravenel outline methods proven effective to address behavioral issues such as defiance, tantrums and disrespect. These solutions can help children at home and in school without the need for pharmaceuticals or professional help.

About the Authors

John Rosemond

John Rosemond is a family psychologist and parenting expert. He has written thirteen books on parenting issues and is a syndicated columnist for over 200 newspapers. His latest book is The Bible Parenting Code: Revealing God’s Perfect Parenting Plan. Rosemond and his Certified Leadership Parenting Coaches answer questions at Rosemond is also an in-demand speaker on parenting and family issues, having appeared on a number of major television talk shows.

Dr. Bose Ravenel

Dr. Ravenel is a distinguished pediatrician repeatedly recognized as one of the Best Doctors in America prior to his retirement in March 2020. He is a member of several professional organizations, and a author and speaker in the areas of child discipline and parenting. He received his medical degree from Duke University, and trained in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Ravenel also published a commentary titled A New Paradigm for ADD/ADHD and Behavioral Management Without Medication.

Psyched Out: How Psychiatry Sells Mental Illness and Pushes Pills That Kill

This book, written by Kelly Patricia O’Meara, drives an important point home: there’s no question that people suffer, often severely, from mental and emotional issues, but what is in question is the scientific evidence that would categorize these mental issues as “diseases.” O’Meara lays out for us how these mental disorders that are now being sold as physical diseases are mostly based on theories, not actual scientific data. An example is the “chemical imbalance” theory. No psychiatrist can produce a test of a patient done to show the changing chemicals in their brain, yet much of the medical community, government and world population seem to accept the “chemical imbalance” theory as scientific fact.

Also mostly based on theory is the effectiveness of many of these psychiatric drugs prescribed for these mental “diseases.” In Psyched Out: How Psychiatry Sells Mental Illness and Pushes Pills that Kill, author O’Meara investigates the shifting of language the FDA has used to cover up potential risks and the lack of successful and effective clinical trials that have taken place with many of these psychiatric drugs. Not only are doctors and pharmaceutical companies not aware or honest enough about potential side effects, they have also failed to address the fact that many of these drugs make mental conditions worse. An example of this is suicidal ideations in children that have come after being prescribed these drugs. While it is up to the people whether they choose to take these drugs, they need to be making that decision based on truth, not blatant falsehoods.

About the Author

Kelly Patricia O’Meara is a former investigative reporter for The Washington Times’ Insight Magazine, and has written a lot of material on the fraud behind psychiatric diagnoses and the dangers of psychiatric drugs. In her 1999 cover story for the The Washington Times’ Insight Magazinecalled “Guns & Doses,” she explored the connection between psychiatric drugs and senseless acts of violence. Prior to her work as a reporter, O’Meara spent sixteen years as a Congressional staffer to several members of Congress. She holds a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Maryland.


Beverly K. Eakmen, The Free Library by Farlex:

“O’Meara’s well-researched statistics show that Americans are awash in prescription psychotropic drugs, especially antidepressants. She makes her case right up front.”

Teaching the Restless: One School’s Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed

With over 6 million children in the United States being labeled with psychiatric disorders and prescribed medications for said labels, this book makes a strong case against such practices. Teaching the Restless: One School’s Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed was published in 2004 and written by Chris Mercogliano, an experienced educator who is the co-director of the Albany Free School in Albany, New York. Mercogliano is able to draw from his experience with the practices from the Free School, which forgoes psychiatric labeling and drugging. Instead, the Free School offers alternative ways to help children learn how to relax, concentrate, manage their emotions, run their lives in a responsible manner and develop healthy relationships. Many of the approaches used at the Free School are community-based.

One main theme of the book is the case study of nine students of the Free School (six boys and three girls) who were all given psychiatric labels and medications at their previous school. Mercogliano reveals in Teaching the Restless how these children succeeded with the Free School’s approach. Mercogliano theorizes that for children with oppositional behavior the best approach is to give them the freedom to choose what they want to learn and to what aspects of the school they want to devote most of their time This teaches the children to look within themselves for motivation. This freedom-based approach also teaches these children to be accountable for themselves, and to their peers and the community.

Teaching the Restless is an excellent tool for both parents and educators to help them understand how to deal with hyperactive children. The book encourages readers to make more of an effort to understand these children and help bring out their positive attributes instead of suppressing them.

About the Author

Chris Mercogliano is an American author who has written numerous books containing well-researched material about children’s education, development and mental health. Beginning in 1973, he taught, and eventually became co-director, at the community and freedom-based inner-city alternative school the Albany Free School . He worked at the Free School for over 30 years. He also serves on advisory boards for other democratic schools. Mercogliano has authored numerous essays. Other books he has written include Making It Up As We Go Along: The Story of the Albany Free School (written in 1998), How to Grow a School: Starting and Sustaining Schools That Work (written in 2006), and In Defense of Childhood: Protecting Kids’ Inner Wildness (written in 2007).


Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of Magical Child:

Teaching the Restless is a very important book for our time. That we continue to prescribe drugs to our children in such massive numbers is appalling. There are no historical precendents for a society perpetrating such a travesty on its offspring. Chris Mercogliano deserves a medal for his courage and insight, as well as his years of hard work on behalf of America’s children.”

Ron Miller, executive editor, Paths of Learning magazine, educational historian, author of What are Schools For?:

Teaching the Restless is a finely crafted moral commentary on a society that would rather “tranquilize our children than create a more tranquil world for them to grow up in.” Chris Mercogliano is a gifted writer as well as a superb observer of children’s lives. Here, he offers a rich blend of insights and observations based on his own extensive teaching experience. His stories of real kids struggling against the cultural constraints on their lives, including inappropriate labeling and drugging, are deeply moving and convincing.”

John Breeding, clinical psychologist, author of The Wildest Colts Make the Best Horses:

“God bless Chris Mercogliano. He has turned his lifelong commitment to the creation of free learning communities for children and families toward a passionate defense against the oppression of children by psychiatry and the schools. May his longstanding drug-free school zone in Albany extend throughout our country and the world.”

The Myth of the Hyperactive Child: And Other Means of Child Control

Though this book was published back in 1975, it was ahead of it’s time.  Authors Peter Schrag and Diane Divoky produced a very well-researched book that is backed up by bold and insightful arguments.  Schrag and Divoky examine the landscape of mental health profession, the public school system, and how they are shifting into a more authoritarian role, and are no longer advocates for our children.  The authors expose the loose haphazard research done on “disorders” such as MBD (minimal brain dysfunction) and the lack of evidence of the effectiveness of psychiatric drugs like Ritalin, as well as the dangerous side effects of these drugs.  The book also gives an in-depth analysis of the increased implementation of practices such as psychological testing, data banks, “predelinquency screenings” and behavior modification, to “fix” our children, many of whom are perfectly healthy and normal.

The authors warn parents of the psychiatric labels and psychotropic drugs that could be forced on their kids, who have no defense.  And much of this psychiatric treatment, under the guise of “helping” the child, is likely to in fact cause further psychological damage.  This begins a vicious cycle that leaves your child a slave to the government system, with various psychiatric labels that follow them around for their lifetime.  The Myth of the Hyperactive Child is written from a unique perspective that explains the big picture of the mental health industry (and society in general) that was taking place in 1975, and is still taking place now in 2021.  Specifically the book puts the focus on the increasing power of institutions over individuals, and their interference with human liberties.  The book also points out that while the safety of psychotropic drugs is a concern, there is a bigger issue we are facing that threatens our children and society at large: the “ideology of drugging” and early intervention.

About the Author

Peter Schrag is an American writer, editor and scholar of California politics and political history.  Schrag was a columnist and page editor at the daily newspaper the Sacramento Bee for nineteen years.  He wrote for the weekly magazine The Nation for nearly a half century.  Schrag is also a former visiting scholar at the Institute of Government Studies at the University of California.

A notable honor Schrag received during his career was being listed as a notable editor and writer by Marquis Who’s Who.  He was a Guggenheim fellow from 1971072, and a National Endowment of the Arts fellow from 1976-77.  He was born in Germany, and received his Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College in Massachusetts.   Some of the other books Schrag has published include When Europe Was a Prison Camp: Father and Son Memoirs, 1940-41 (Indiana University Press, 2015), Paradise Lost: California’s Experience, America’s Future, and Final Test: The Battle for Adequacy in America’s Schools.


Aryeh Neier, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

“For the last half century, Americans have been responding to real and imagined social problems by pinning derogatory labels on people, excluding them from opportunities available to others, and then bemoaning the worsening of the problems. Some of the newest and most dangerous labels stigmatize young children. They are called ‘hyperactive,’ ‘predelinquent,’ or are said to suffer from ‘learning disabilities.’ In their fine book, Diane Divoky and Peter Schrag give us an absorbing account of what is going on. The information they gather and the insights they share with us give us a chance to save our children from the awful things done to them in the guise of helping them.”

The New York Times:

“Schrag and Divoky present us with fine polemical writing in a well‐researched and thoughtfully argued brief intended to stimulate informed action against the widespread use of drugs, psychological testing, data banks, “predelinquency” screening, [and] behavior modification[.]”


They Say You’re Crazy: How the World’s Most Powerful Psychiatrists Decide Who’s Normal

The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) IV is the official diagnostic “bible” used by the American Psychiatric Association and mental health professionals.  But so much of the general population doesn’t know how these “illnesses” are determined, since they are not the same as medical diagnoses, which can be determined with the clear-cut scientific method.  That is where psychologist and author Paula J. Caplan comes in with her book, They Say You’re Crazy: How the World’s Most Powerful Psychiatrists Decide Who’s Normal.  Caplan is a former consultant to the DSM, and has served as an adviser to various related APA committees.

In total, there are 400 mental illness labels listed in the DSM IV.  This includes everything from “self-defeating personality disorder” to “nicotine dependence” to “premenstrual dysphoric disorder”.  “Homosexuality” was once listed in an earlier publication of the DSM as a mental illness, but not in the current DSM IV. This should be a cause for widespread concern, because since when can a disease stop being a disease?

Caplan gives an eye-opening look into the lack of scientific methods and evidence, bias and close-mindedness that was involved in the process of developing the DSM IV handbook.  She questions whether the creators of the book have the authority to determine what is “normal” and “not normal.”  She cuts through the mental health industry jargon to expose to the everyday laymen the danger of these official labels that are being put on people and dramatically impacting the course of their lives.  She also points out how the book is very thorough in listing symptoms of these illnesses, but not treatments or solutions.

About the Author

Paula J. Caplan is a clinical and research psychologist, as well as an award-winning nonfiction author, playwright, actor, activist, advocate and director.  She grew up in Springfield, Missouri, and then went on to graduate from the Radcliffe College of Harvard University.  Following that, she attended Duke University, where she received her M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology.

Caplan is currently an Associate at the Dubois Research Institute of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University, where she works on their Voices of Diversity Project.  She is also a past fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.  She is a former Full Professor of Applied Psychology and Head of the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education at the Ontario Institute for studies in Education.  She was also a former Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, and former Lecturer in Women’s Studies at the University of Toronto.

Caplan has published a total of twelve books so far, which include Lifting a Ton of Feathers: A Woman’s Guide to Surviving in the Academic WorldBias in Psychiatric DiagnosisDon’t Blame Mother: Mending the Mother-Daughter Relationship, and her most recent publication, Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans.


Psychotherapist Bryan Knight, from

“Read Dr. Caplan’s book and weep for the thousands of people (mostly women, of course) whose lives have been damaged by being labelled with the stigma of a mental illness, when in reality their only problem was that, like [like psychiatrist and author] Dr. Siebert, they dared to be different.  Or human.”