Yes, the drugs don't work

5th October 2012 at 01:00

We strongly echo Pat Downes' welcoming of your coverage of the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and its likely impact on children through inappropriate medicalisation and drug prescription ("Drugs are a ticking time bomb", Letters, 28 September). And it's almost as much of a scandal that the Department of Health and National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) tellingly refused to comment on your original report ("Say no to drugs advice, psychiatry experts warn", 21 September). Nice's approach is increasingly challenged both by the academic world and by organisations such as the Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy, which are exposing its treatment guidelines as being singularly myopic and unscientific. More generally, this issue is the latest manifestation of an ideological "paradigm war" being played out in modern culture - in this case, around whether children's behavioural difficulties are better understood as a medically diagnosable condition that psychoactive medication should treat, or whether the degree to which we medicalise difficult behaviour is a barometer of the degree to which our culture rejects children and their childhoods.

Dr Richard House, University of Winchester and Professor Sami Timimi, University of Lincoln.

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