About Us

Ann McKay, R.N.C., John McGonigle, M.D. and Mark Brody, M.D. have devoted themselves to homeopathy and related alternative medical treatments. In keeping with the spirit of homeopathy's founder Samuel Hahnemann M.D., we utilize treatments that emphasize safety and the restoration of the sick to health.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Homeopathy and ADHD

As a physician with a background in child psychiatry who specializes in homeopathic treatment, I find it sad that the popular press continues to reify the fictitious disorder of ADHD. This artificially constructed disorder is often treated as an illness when in effect it is a loosely defined aggregation of symptoms which occur in different patterns with different individuals. As is the habit with the lumping kind of nosology that characterizes modern medicine, all these individuals are amazingly given the same diagnosis! When one looks more closely, however, one sees that there are some children where the emphasis is more on the attentional aspects of the disorder and others where the hyperactive or impulsive aspects predominate. Indeed there are some who exhibit marked mood swings, thereby creating debates about whether they have ADHD or bipolar disorder of some combination of the two. In fact, what we see is evidence of the crudeness of a diagnostic system that persists in trying to fit square pegs into round holes.

In the homeopathic system, one works with the individual and notices the unique aspects of the child's symptoms rather than lumping the child into a group to which they do not properly belong. By avoiding this mistake, the child is not stigmatized, and instead is viewed as a unique individual whose inattentive or hyperactive symptoms are merely manifestations of a more generalized derangement in their body’s self-regulatory system. Remember, ADHD has no lab tests or reliable biological markers; it is the arbitrary name given by a number of psychiatrists and psychologists who many years ago sat around a board room table during the creation of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and decided that Attention Deficit Disorder would be a good name to describe something that they only understood dimly at the time. Later they decided their original understanding was imperfect. so they changed it to ADHD -attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, which has only created more confusion. I say we should stop trying to define something with inaccurate language, and stop creating illness out of our own misperceptions, which only furthers the process of stigmatization. Instead, start learning about ways of curing what is mistakenly viewed as a life long illness and start appreciating the uniqueness of our children. A good place to begin is Judith Reichenberg Ullman and Robert Ullman’s book Ritalin Free Kids, where many examples can be found of successfully treated children who exhibited symptoms of what has been referred to as ADHD.

It is ironic that the purveyors of the modern psychiatric nosology contribute most to stigmatization, even though they are often the same people who are trying to fight stigmatization. The left hand does not know what the right is doing. This is likely to be because of confusion about what a disease or illness is within the medical profession. While it may be true that illness-mongering is motivated by the sincere desire to bring help to people, such labelling not only becomes a powerful force of stigmatization, it offers no lasting solution to the problem. Instead, it allows for only a lifetime of symptom management with drugs. Effective as the drugs may be at managing the symptoms they do not take away the illness of ADHD. The best way to fight stigmatization is not to stigmatize in the first place, to eliminate the underlying illness which causes "ADHD" symptoms, rather than to try to argue people out of what has been engendered naturally through the process of illness-mongering.

mark brody, md