Views & Reviews Review of the Week

A deficit of attention to impartiality?

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 15 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:1047
  1. Iain McClure, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, Murray Royal Hospital, Perth, Perthshire
  1. imcclure{at}

    Media coverage of drug treatments that fails to allow the manufacturers a voice does no favours to drug sceptics, says Iain McClure

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)—the subject of this week's Panorama, the BBC's flagship investigative journalism programme—has become a totem of many modern concerns. A condition that encompasses impulsivity, overactivity, and difficulty in maintaining attention—and with an alleged prevalence of between 5% and 10%1—it has repeatedly hit the headlines as being not just a product of developing psychiatric knowledge but also a symptom of increasing malaise in capitalist societies. Its unique position among child and adolescent psychiatric disorders as a condition that is widely believed to necessitate at least a trial of a stimulant drug (in most cases) has led to concern about psychiatry's simplistic reduction of the brain and that ADHD in particular is “a pharmacological response . . . crudely searching for a disorder.”2

    Whatever the truth regarding such issues, the facts are that the number of diagnoses of ADHD …

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