ADHD Report


International Consensus Statement

The Brain and ADHD




Appendix - Evidence and ADHD

Candlelight Project - Biopsychiatry Illuminated

Mind / Body
Loch Ness Monster
George Bush
Rebranding Disease
MindFreedom 2
APA Resignation
Chemical Imbalance
ADHD Diagnosis
ADHD Brain Scans
APA Funding
Medicating Normality
Medicating Normality 2
Pseudo-Science 2
Pseudo-Science 3
Pseudo-Science 4
CPS and Psychiatry
Teacher Diagnosis
Official Story
Damage of Labels
Evidential Reasoning
Curate's Egg
Abolishing Psychiatry
Health Care
ADHD Drugs
PR Industry
Protecting Children
Ritalin Safety
School Psychiatry
Dr. Thomas Szasz
Parent's Extracts
International Consensus Statement

Parenting Tips Newsletter

Letter from the author



Biopsychiatry Illuminated

by Bob Collier

23 February 2004
Issue 82

Edward L. Bernays was a nephew of Sigmund Freud and is known in the public relations industry as the "Father of Spin". Between the 1920s and the 1940s, he pioneered many of today's PR techniques.

In his article 'The Doors of Perception: Why Americans Will Believe Almost Anything', Dr. Tim O'Shea tells us something about Edward Bernays' methods in drawing from the book 'Trust Us We're Experts' by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber.

"Bernays learned early on that the most effective way to create credibility for a product or an image was by "independent third- party" endorsement.

For example, if General Motors were to come out and say that global warming is a hoax thought up by some liberal tree-huggers, people would suspect GM's motives, since GM's fortune is made by selling automobiles.

If however some independent research institute with a very credible sounding name like the Global Climate Coalition comes out with a scientific report that says global warming is really a fiction, people begin to get confused and to have doubts about the original issue.

So that's exactly what Bernays did. With a policy inspired by genius, he set up "more institutes and foundations than Rockefeller and Carnegie combined." (Stauber p 45)

Quietly financed by the industries whose products were being evaluated, these "independent" research agencies would churn out "scientific" studies and press materials that could create any image their handlers wanted. Such front groups are given high- sounding names like:

Temperature Research Foundation
Manhattan Institute
International Food Information Council
Center for Produce Quality
Consumer Alert
Tobacco Institute Research Council
The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition
Cato Institute
Air Hygiene Foundation
American Council on Science and Health
Industrial Health Federation
Global Climate Coalition
International Food Information Council
Alliance for Better Foods

Sound pretty legit don't they?

As Stauber explains, these organizations and hundreds of others like them are front groups whose sole mission is to advance the image of the global corporations who fund them ...

This is accomplished in part by an endless stream of 'press releases' announcing "breakthrough" research to every radio station and newspaper in the country. .. Many of these canned reports read like straight news, and indeed are purposely molded in the news format.

This saves journalists the trouble of researching the subjects on their own, especially on topics about which they know very little. Entire sections of the release or in the case of video news releases, the whole thing can be just lifted intact, with no editing, given the byline of the reporter or newspaper or TV station - and voila! Instant news - copy and paste. Written by corporate PR firms.

Does this really happen? Every single day, since the 1920s when the idea of the News Release was first invented by Ivy Lee. (Stauber, p 22) Sometimes as many as half the stories appearing in an issue of the Wall St. Journal are based solely on such PR press releases...

These types of stories are mixed right in with legitimately researched stories. Unless you have done the research yourself, you won't be able to tell the difference."

Read the complete article here:

You may also find this related article of interest:
How the Media Deceives You About Health Issues

In the matter of the selling of 'ADHD', this is the opening of an article entitled 'Is your ADHD support group a front organization for the pharmaceutical industry?' by Richard DeGrandpre.

"On May 18, 1999, the New York Times reported that "social phobia ranks today as the third most prevalent psychiatric disorder in the United States ... affecting an estimated 19 million Americans, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. Many are too bashful even to talk to therapists."

In the same week, the Boston Globe reported that "Epidemiological studies have found that acute social anxiety is the third most common psychiatric disorder in the United States ... affecting up to 13 percent of Americans. Jerilyn Ross, president of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America ... said she hopes a publicity blitz planned by ... SmithKline Beecham will raise awareness of social anxiety disorder and lead more people to seek help, which could include psychotherapy instead of drugs."

Why were the Boston Globe and the New York Times both writing about "social phobia disorder" in the same week, and why would a drug company spend its money to "raise awareness" of a mental- health disorder? The answer: the FDA had just approved a drug for the treatment of social phobia. As the Boston Globe put it, SmithKline makes the drug Paxil, which was "the first drug approved by the FDA specifically for treating social anxiety disorder."

Notice how, in the media reports just quoted, the drug company isn't claiming that the social-phobia "disorder" affects millions of people. Rather, it's an organization with a professional- sounding name, and one that appears to have nothing to do with the pharmaceutical industry: the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. If these claims were presented by a drug company they would likely appear to the public and news organizations as self- serving and biased. If, however, they are presented to the public by an organization that seems only to have the health and welfare of the public in mind, they seem objective and credible. This is certainly what drug-company executives believe, which is why they go great lengths to create and influence what are essentially front organizations for the pharmaceutical industry.

Consider the case at hand. The Anxiety Disorders Association of America, ADAA, receives so much funding and influence from the industry that it is misleading to suggest that they are not an intricate part of it. The Boston Globe and the New York Times both received much of their information for the above reports from an ADAA press release, treating it in just the manner that the industry would want: as objective information from an independent organization. As a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times makes clear, however, the ADAA is neither neutral nor objective: "I recently received a press release from the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. It said if your child is afraid of going back to school, maybe it's not normal, maybe your child needs drugs. The release says three children in every class have an anxiety disorder. The solution? Well, enclosed are details of a drug company-sponsored workshop showing the wonders of Paxil and similar drugs."

With funding coming directly from Paxil's maker, ADAA did much more than just send out press releases. The summer of '99 also saw a barrage of advertising by ADAA, which asked people to imagine being "allergic to people." A poster they used had a picture of a young man staring despondently into a coffee cup while a happy "social" couple sat at the other end of the table. The implication is made clear by the caption, which reads: "Over 10 million Americans suffer from social anxiety disorder... The good news is that this disorder is treatable." In addition to a tollfree number and a Web site being listed, the poster indicates support, not from a drug company, as it should, but from three nonprofit groups: the American Psychiatric Association, the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, and Freedom From Fear, which together form what is called the Social Anxiety Disorder Coalition. Like ADAA, these two organizations receive substantial funding from the pharmaceutical industry. "Funding for their public awareness campaign comes from a far less visible partner: SmithKline Beecham, the pharmaceutical giant whose flagship antidepressant [is] Paxil," writes Michelle Cottle in The New Republic (August 2, 1999). Cottle also notes that the APA's social phobia website is paid for by SmithKline, as is ADAA's, and that, on July 19, 1999, ADAA would hold a press conference to announce the findings of a study, paid for by various drug makers, suggesting a huge impact of anxiety disorders on America's productivity. Behind all this is ADAA's corporate advisory board, which is made up of representatives from different drug companies.

The ties between drug companies and organizations like ADAA do not end with public ads and education. As front organizations, they also direct the public toward support groups that share their two-pronged bias, that the disorder in question is really a legitimate medical disorder in need of medical treatment, and that this treatment will most likely involve psychiatric drugs. The support group is in many ways the most important step in the process of getting people on the latest pharmaceuticals, since it is the support group that will come into direct contact with the individual or parent."

Further into this article, the author then deals specifically with 'the mother of all ADHD support groups' - CHADD.

"CH.A.D.D., which somehow translates into "Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder," asserts on its website ( the following:

With over 22,000 members in 225 affiliates nationwide, CHADD is the nation's leading non-profit organization serving individuals with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). Through collaborative leadership, advocacy, research, education and support, CHADD provides science-based, evidence-based information about AD/HD to parents, educators, professionals, the media and the general public.

Clearly CHADD is a powerful organization, and one that is likely to attract many if not most American parents confronting a possible diagnoses of "ADHD" in their child. What is not clear, especially to those who stray into the CHADD web of "support," is what the organization is really about. Founded in 1987, CHADD, which estimates that 10 to 20 percent of schoolchildren have ADHD, organizes speaking events, publishes a monthly newsletter (Chadderbox) and a glossy magazine (Attention!), and operates an impressive website. CHADD claims that "No matter how many sources of information are out there, CHADD is the one you can trust."

This trust depends greatly, however, on what you want from CHADD. If you want an organization that has longstanding ties with pharmaceutical interests, and that selectively recruits only scientists proven to be pro-drug to their advisory board, than you can trust CHADD; if you want an organization that unquestioningly embraces ADHD as an inherited disease for which parenting and culture play no role, either as causes or solutions, than you can trust CHADD; and if you want an organization that acts as a powerful lobby for the growing population of ADHD parents and children, than you can trust CHADD. If, however, you want an honest organization that acknowledges its pro-drug and pro-disease agenda to its prospective (and current) members, than you cannot trust CHADD; and if you want an organization that carefully considers, or even considers at all, the findings of scientific and epidemiological studies showing that ADHD has strong social and cultural inputs, that psychostimulants may very well cause brain damage, and that psychostimulant drugs work more for parents and teachers than they do for children, then again you cannot trust CHADD."

Read the complete article 'Is your ADHD support group a front organization for the pharmaceutical industry?' right here:

Others are somewhat harsher in their criticism of CHADD and the information it provides to the public. This article really puts the boot in:


In 2002, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave $750,000 to Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), a non-profit, 501(c)(3) group, to act as a national resource center on Attention- Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Meanwhile, the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have severely criticized CHADD's financial ties to the manufacturers of ADHD drugs heavily promoted by CHADD.

More than half of the drugs promoted and validated on the CHADD website are manufactured by companies that fund CHADD. CHADD also opposes any legislation that would prevent parents from being coerced into placing their child on such potentially dangerous drugs. Indeed, it attacks parents who grieve the death of their children by psychiatric drug treatment - or parents who have been terrorized with charges of medical neglect for choosing not to drug their child. CHADD makes a mockery of their pain, labeling them "isolated" cases whereas the truth is hundreds of parents have complained about such abuse.

Parents accuse CHADD of using taxpayers' money to provide biased information, thereby denying parents access to truly "informed consent" from a government-funded "resource center."

While CHADD accuses its critics of "tossing around untruths and inaccuracies," "misinformation" and "junk science," a close study of its website reveals CHADD to be guilty of these.

Consider the following:

In 1987, members of the American Psychiatric Association voted ADHD to be a mental disorder for inclusion in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The same year, CHADD was formed.

Within a year, 500,000 American children were said to suffer from this "disorder." After a financial boost from pharmaceutical interests, the number of CHADD chapters exploded from 29 to 500.

In 1992, CHADD received $50,000 from pharmaceutical interests. By 1994, this had reached $400,000 and by 2001, $700,000.

Elliot S. Valenstein, Ph.D., author of Blaming the Brain, says such funding "enables the groups to increase newspaper and magazine advertising and the information they distribute by other means. Typically, patient advocacy material has a pro-drug bias, encouraging people to seek medication often by exaggerating the effectiveness of drugs and the scientific foundation on which they rest."

In 1995, the INCB expressed concern about non-governmental organizations and parental associations in the U.S. actively lobbying for the medical use of Ritalin for children with ADHD. It said that financial transfers from a pharmaceutical company with the purpose to promote sales of an internationally controlled substance could be identified as hidden advertisement and in contradiction of the provisions of the 1971 Psychotropic Drugs Convention.

In 1995, the DEA issued a methylphenidate (Ritalin) background paper, stating: "The DEA has concerns that the depth of the financial relationship with the manufacturer was not well known to the public, including CHADD members, that have relied upon CHADD for guidance as it pertains to the diagnosis and treatment of their children."

Misleading Parents and Children and its Members:

On September 26, 2002, the CEO of CHADD, E. Clarke Ross, testified before Congress that the group's financial relationship to ADHD drug manufacturers is "on our website. It's in our IRS returns." This information is not obvious on the "National Resource" website; it is in CHADD's annual report. Unless someone knew where to look, it would not be easily found.

CHADD claims that ADHD is a "neurobiological" disorder, despite the fact that there is no science-based evidence to support this. CHADD's website fails to inform people of the considerable difference in medical opinion regarding the validity of ADHD.

Pediatric neurologist Fred A. Baughman, Jr., who has discovered real physical diseases, says that by claiming ADHD is a "disease" or "neurobiological" it makes it so "real and terrible that the parent who dares not to believe in it, or allow its treatment, is likely to be deemed negligent, and no longer deserving of custody of their child." He adds, "This is a perversion of science and medicine and is a lie."

Elliot S. Valenstein, Ph.D., says that patients "may be encouraged when they are told that the prescribed drugs will do for them just what insulin does for a diabetic, but the analogy is certainly not justified. What is much clearer, however, is that there are a number of groups that benefit from promoting the analogy."

CHADD defers to the 1999 Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health when citing ADHD as a neurobiological disorder, yet the Surgeon General's report, the DSM-IV, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Practice Guideline for ADHD, do not confirm or state that ADHD is a "neurobiological" disorder. In fact, the Surgeon General provided no conclusive evidence to support this theory - a fact CHADD neglects to mention on its website.

When pressed recently by Insight Magazine on the scientific validity of ADHD, E. Clarke Ross finally responded, "It really is a matter of belief."

The DEA warned that most of the material prepared for public consumption by groups like CHADD does not address the potential or actual abuse of Ritalin. It is portrayed as a benign, mild substance that's not associated with abuse or any serious side effects. In fact, Ritalin and several other ADHD drugs are Schedule II drugs in the same category as cocaine and morphine.

In a token gesture to balanced coverage, CHADD devotes about four pages to alternative interventions, while using 10 pages to espouse the virtues of psychotropic drugs. The known and documented side effects of these drugs are downplayed as "mild and typically short-term," contradicting medical and scientific reports showing serious side effects, including death.

Under the "Frequently Asked Questions" section of CHADD's website, alternatives are referred to as "controversial interventions." It states that "many people turn to treatments which claim to be useful, but which have not been shown to be truly effective in accord with standards held by the scientific community." Here again CHADD does what it accuses others of, using "a tactic designed to startle and scare the American public," and one motivated by pharmaceutical vested interests.


No one can deny that many children today are faced with very real problems, including controlling their behavior, focusing and learning. But to propagandize that this is a brain disease over which a child has no control, for which the government must provide unlimited funds to "treat" through our schools, is fabrication and deceit. There is considerable information that can be provided to both parents and CHADD members that CHADD deliberately chooses not to provide, pushing instead a drug and behavioral approach. This does not constitute informed consent, is therefore discriminatory, a violation of the trust implicit in federal funding, and a failure in their accountability to the government and the American people."

I mentioned a little bit about CHADD in my 'Parental Intelligence Report on ADHD' of May 2003. As I said then - and this applies to everything I present in The Candlelight Project - it's up to you to make up your own mind about these things. I'm simply passing on what I discover, albeit often accompanied by my opinion of it (which is just that).

My personal experience of CHADD is limited to a few visits to their website in the early weeks of my exploration of so-called 'ADHD' (during which I found no overt reference to its relationship with pharmaceutical interests) and to an exchange of emails with its then Deputy Director, whose response to my request for more detailed information about the nature of 'ADHD' was, I have to say, highly unsatisfactory. The concerned parents' guide to childrens' attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD)