Opinion of professionals

In this website area we show an important set of opinions and declarations of  doctors and specialists (psychiatrists, children neuro-psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, educators, etc) and representatives of institutions, all agree in being critical towards growing trend to medicalization of children discomfort and to administration of psychiatric drugs to children. In order to see the copy of other opinions by Institutions, you can also see this section.

“My opinion is well known, both about informed consent and about use of psychiatric drugs, as integration of psychotherapy and/or other interventions. In the register for children Adhd we have a consent model among the best and most complete in Italy. Then it results to me that every oncologist asks the written consent for chemotherapy or any other therapy, then I think that one cannot – as recently in an interview to Corriere della Sera a pharmacy doctor told- say that in Italy “the problem is the lower consumption of psychiatric drugs towards other countries’, using a marketing criterion as per car sales that have to be always increased (however causing some ambiental problems!). I think as useful and timely the presentation of a bill to disciplinate this matter, and I hope that it will be approved in short and acceptable times”.
(Pietro Panei, Responsible for Adhd Project of ‘Istituto Superiore di Sanità)

“The declared exponential increase of depression cases is a stereotype: it is necessary to understand if it is a real phenomenon or if it is an artificial increased date. I can affirm with safety and without fearing confutation – as widely shown in my last book – that it is artificially increased by collusion between the interests of pharmaceutical Companies and those of psychiatrists ready, in most cases, to follow the indications of the Companies. Depression in the last 50 years has been country of conquest by Pharmacy Companies that, by using the “disease mongering” (i.e. strategies for the creation ‘at table’ of pathologies) created “at table” new pathologies and above all new needs to create a wider category of customers… not surely of patients. It is disconcerting to see how some psychiatrists and researchers have colluded – often in an aware way – with this market dynamics that has nothing to do with science”. Then, caused by difficulty of knowing the true epidemiology of depression, the used criterion, anyway very incorrect, is to calculate the quantity of depressed patients on the basis of the quantity of consumed antidepressive drugs. Caused by easiness and superficiality  with those one prescribes these drugs, above all after the market immission of SSRI (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), whose success is principally due to lower presence  of collateral effects, the epidemiologic date, so calculated, is falsed in surplus. More than this: in this way one considers as foreseen 2 problems that have to be consideres seriously. The first is to decide in which way and in which cases the antidepressive drugs function really. The second is if equivalency between antidepressives consumption (caused by a more aggressive advertising by Pharmacy Companies) and quantity of depressed patients is an acceptable equation”.
(Nicola Lalli, Psychiatrist and  Psychotherapist by Rome University “La Sapienza”)

“The work you, of the team of ‘Giù le Mani dai Bambini’, are doing on ADHD in Italy is important and very deserving. Your consent document on ADHD is a guide book also for us abroad, for its value and its clearness of explanation”.

(Leon Benesayag, Professor of Neurology and Neuropediatrics of Medicine Faculty Of Buenos Aires University, Argentina)


“The creation of this Register  to schedule children suspected of ADHD, without the adequate garanties that one must have, is a trap: one risks to treat  with Ritalin children who have not to begin therapy. The great problem that is being ignored is that of therapeutical protocol, lacking and oriented to pharmacological solution, with the result that diagnosis risk to be done roughly and that the alternatives to drug are not correctly evaluated. Then the good idea of the Register checking the givings, can become a skylarks mirror, if one does not evaluate with greater seriousness the criterions of children management”.
(Federico Bianchi di Castelbianco, Psychotherapist  of evolution age)

”The questionnaires used to diagnosticate these children problems  are highly subjective and impressionist. Differences of experience, tolerance and emotional state of interviewer and interviewed child  are not considered,  and in spite of this vagueness, and in spite of the fact that evaluation used scales do not answer to basis psychometrical criterions, the supporters of this approach pretend that these questionnaires give an accurate diagnosis, but it is not so”.

(prof. William Carey, primary and professor of Clinical Pediatrics by Pensylvania University, primary Behaviour Pediatrics by Philadelphia Hospital, member of national Academy of USA Sciences)

“With reference to behavioral disorders, and in particular to “attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD”), I would like to say that we are more coping with a ” fashion” rather than with an inconsistent and vague diagnosis. We surely cannot, but more, we must not do these diagnosis, as they are too easily refined.  It is my opinion that the Register will be not very useful, without full protocols revision: what will change when children, who should not have been treated with Ritalin,  are included in the Registry?”.

(Emilia Costa, head of  1^ Psychiatry Chair of University of Rome La Sapienza)


“Doctors are to be fully responsible and must protect patient right to health, especially when they are minor. We will surely not solve any issue, by opening a Registry that will allow us to go on prescribing questioned and abuse risk psychiatric drugs. Press columns widely demonstrate such attitude is under accuse every other week”.

(prof. Claudio Ajmone, psycotherapist, member of  European Psychoanalisys Association)


“Health Ministry wants to create a ‘monitoring network’ on children, that will filed and classified  according  to their supposed behavioral disorders. They will be then  treated with energizing psychotropic drugs. Finally, we will fill a death list, like in US. I really want to state it clearly: Health Ministry does neither know what they do, nor what the consequences of their actions will be”.

(prof. Giorgio Antonucci, psychoanalyst, already contributor of Franco Basaglia)

“Look the reality where we let live our children: too often there are oppressive expectations and uneasiness reasons that are transferred on the weakest, and that we adult give it as granted. Why are the problems not faced in families? Don’t be astonished then if children have then problems, also serious”.(Prof. Franco Blezza, Full Professor of General Pedagogy of Chieti University)

“I have the clear sensation that we are not totally conscious about to what the feeding of stimulating psychiatric drugs to children of 5 or 10 years old leads, of the impact on his metabolism, on the hormonal system, on his nervous developing system”.(Luigi Cancrini, psychiatrist, Parliamentary Commission on Childhood)

“Considering that it does not exist only a kind of depression, that every story is unique and we cannot generalize, the success of psychotherapies  is known in scientific literature, but too often ignored in therapy. Often one uses with superficiality psychiatric drugs and one thinks that not pharmacological therapies do not run: but the problem is that  they have been “snubbed” for long time for solution with more immediate effects. It is time that professional therapists accept what literature gives as certain: that even if drug has an own use dignity, in the proper case where it is requested, psychotherapy changes really the cerebral structure and influences concretely and positively the behaviours, and one can touch and measure these improvements. I do not understand than as one can continue to ignore these facts, preferring always the biological, organical and pharmacy approach, and superficially degrading the psychotherapy to “some words” between therapist and patient”.
(prof. Emilia Costa, owner of 1° Chair of Psychiatry by Rome University La Sapienza)

“Dozens of thousand of Italian children are depressed: this consideration has no scientific value. Children are bright, sometimes unquiet, they are not careful at school. But there is a misunderstanding, as violence in children for example is tried to be classified as pathological data: this is an ethical, social problem, but it is not surely a clinical problem!”.(Prof. Giorgio Antonucci, Dean of Italian psychoanalysis, already contributor of Dr Basaglia)

“Let’s check the concrete reality: accidentally I quote one of the ‘big five’ in scientific journalism, the ‘New England Journal’, financed for the  74% by pharmaceutical industry. Then here is the true problem: the ethics of the researches. Why we do not begin to publish also the researches that gave negative, that are the great majority?”.
(Dr Paolo Roberti di Sarsina, Top Clinician of Psychiatry, Coordinator of the Committee for unconventional medicines)

“Depression is not a sickness, depression is a symptom! Here one tries to “diagnosticate” a depression without asking to oneself and to child what has caused the problem: it is similar to the situation when one cries the death of  a connection trying to heal that grief with a collyrium that blocks the activity of  tear ducts! an acritical diffusion of antidepressants on children is a great risk for mental illness of new generations: they will make chronic  this kind of problems”.(Luigi Cancrini, psychiatrist, Commissione Parlamentare sull’Infanzia)

“These psychiatric drugs have surely some effects, improve the attention of children, but both of those sane and those ill, and at which price in a long period? That pharmacy in these cases is a scientific serious  approach, has to be demonstrated: we, specialists, must end with making fun about it, we must become humble, we must come down on earth, and begin from here. Let’s open a remark on the opportunity to use these psychiatric drugs”.
(Enrico Nonnis, child neuropsychiatrist, Democratic Psychiatry)

“Unfortunately, a pill cannot lift kids and teen’s uneasiness, it is a pure illusion, a heavy and guilty idea, an inexcusable oversimplification when we pretend psychiatric drugs can be a solution. We are walking the wrong way out if we believe an antidepressant might put us back to a good mood, for example. A chemical element by its own, can just mitigate an issue, but cannot resolve it at all”.

(Cardinale Ersilio Tonini)

“Unfortunately, the drug suffers from being considered a commodity like any other: now sold using refined marketing techniques like a phone or a car”.
(Prof. Agostino Pirella, Professor of the History of Psychiatry University of Turin)

“The Food and Drug Administrations’ (health monitoring agency in the USA, ed) is making changes to the classification of different classes of psychiatric drugs used so far to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), drugs used to date without proper consideration of the adverse effects associated with their use. Descriptions of side effects such as visual hallucinations, suicidal intent, psychotic behavior, as well as aggressive and violent behavior will be included”.

(Jennifer Corbett Dooren, Dow Jones Newswires Agency, Washington)

“These diagnosis are worked out, without considering the environment children live;  as a consequence we attach kids a pain, eradicated from their social roots, and this is a huge mistake. Moreover, the diagnosis puts us in a real danger, as the psychiatric drug therapy provokes serious collateral effects. Nevertheless we must take into account consequences deriving from stating to a 7-8 year old kid, “you are insane”.

(prof. Agostino Pirella, full professor of Psychiatry History at Turin University)

“Suicide-related behaviours (suicide attempt and suicidal thoughts), and hostility (predominantly aggression, oppositional behaviour and anger) were more frequently observed in clinical trials among children and adolescents treated with antidepressants”.

(European Medicines Agency EMA).

“My impression is that prescribing Ritalin to children is a completely busted hypothesis. My puzzles concern primarily the diagnosis and especially his “hyperextension”: it even includes categories of children who have only the temporary peculiarities of behavior. And we know what is the pressure that can come from major pharmaceutical companies: many of their actions have a scientific pseudo-justification manufactured in their allied universities”.

(Prof. Sergio Piro, Psychiatrist, doyen of Neapolitan psychiatry)

“Unfortunately we do not dispose of many documents or diagnosis protocols on psychiatric drug effects on minors, that  can help and drive to a serious prescription guide. I deem it important to be rigorously careful when prescribing teens and kids those drugs”.

 (Sen. Anna Maria Serafini, President of Childhood Bicameral Commission)


“I cannot leave out that “uneasiness medical treating” represents an extreme measure. I consider “Giù le Mani dai Bambini” (Hands off our children) a valuable initiative, especially today when the issue has come out of the dark and in consideration of the latest statistics. I am in favor of all such initiatives, aimed to outline the phenomena and its borders”.

(On. Dorina Bianchi, Vice President of Social Affairs of Deputies Chamber)

“This type of pharmacological interventions on children, based on psychiatric drugs, should be reduced to a minimum and, whenever you can, carefully avoided”.
(Senator Paola BinettiSocial Affairs Commission of the Senate)

“The lack of services and family cares often facilitate the use of chemical shorthand, that certainly does not help, because it is not the solution. The drug often goes to fill the lack of certain services: where there are no services, no family not even working school, behavior can be treated with medication. This exclusive use of drug has limited action, only symptomatic in nature, because it often does not take away disorder to child, but simply reduces some negative side effects, decreasing the discomfort of adults who are near. A child must be treated on the educational and psychotherapeutic plan, not with the exclusive use of drugs”.

(Ernesto Caffo, Psychiatrist, President of the European Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)


“To authorize the administration of a drug that the FDA consider harmful, giving it to children, is a choice that must be revised immediately. Addressing in a health way what is a problem of social and educational nature, is a convoluted and wrong way of doing things. There are advanced techniques that channel the energies of hyperactive children in the right way, in case of kids who often have extraordinary gifts and abilities above average. Before making such a choice, made with excessive haste(per il traduttore non h senso in italiano). It would take a broader debate: it didn’t take into account many authoritative scientific and academic voices of opposing view.

(Giulio Riccio, Councillor for Social Policies of the Municipality of Naples)

“It’s easy to say ADHD. And yet, it is true that all children are affected by ADHD? And I add: does it exist the syndrome of ADHD as it is described? And how these diagnoses are made, by what criteria, with which paths? Until a meeting point in the answer to these questions will not found it will be given to children more and more psychiatric drugs hiding behind the excuse of a diagnosis. A child treated with psychiatric drugs, will probably be a medicalized, disturbed, upset adult. I am also a father, and I would never want that all this could happen to my daughters.

(Prof. Massimo Di Giannantonio, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chieti)

“Certainly for this problem in the abuse of the administration of psychiatric drugs to children there are strong medication lobby’ s pressures I really have little doubt about it. Maybe in Italy situation is a little ‘different, but I fear that even at home  these interests, which can still talk and to whisper to ears of our law enforcement action “

(Hon. Luana Zanella, the Parliamentary Committee for Children)

“The data we collected show clearly that there is something
wrong. It tends too easily to administer drugs to children
especially in the age group between 14 and 17 years of perhaps groped
heal other forms of discomfort that instead would require different approaches. Has been shown that some species of products ¬especially those  for the treatment of depressive illness -increase in suicidal tendency in minor “.

(Dr. Maurizio BonatiIstituto Mario Negri, Milan)

“In the case of depressed children the diagnosis should be very careful
Why is easy to confuse the symptoms, and the only cure is to character education, not medication ”
(Prof. Gabriel Levi, Professor of Developmental Neuropsychiatry, University of Rome “La Sapienza”)

“Italy should stop imitating the United States, especially when the interests of big pharmaceutical companies come into play. I do not think that in a civil society can exist standardized children at school, who always say “yes sir”. Many of our administrators and doctors think like: “if the drug is used internationally to treat a certain disease, and I will not use it, I could be sued.” We’re taking a road less psico-relational and more chemical, trying to quell the effects of the deficiencies that are upstream rather. Honestly, I do not think children should be treated with Ritalin.

(Fausto Rossano, Psychiatrist, Director of the Department of Mental Health of Naples)

“No  psychiatric drug is safe: the industry would need years and years of  testing of each molecule, to acquire
certainties, and no one can afford it. Today we are lovers of the ‘brand’: I can personally testify that they were eliminated from the market a whole range of useful drugs, just to make room for new ‘fashionable’ products , with  more risk and much less experimented “

(Loris Jacopo Bononi, former spearhead of international research the pharmaceutical company Pfizer)

“The psychiatric drugs lack a clear testing, careful and transparent about their effectiveness. It is in fact medicinal products for
adults, who may have completely different effects on children ”
(Ernesto Caffo, Psychiatrist, president of “Telefono Azzurro”)

“Ritalin is considered by WHO as one of the 300 medications most dangerous the world. The fact that it is approved for administration is a fact very serious ”
(Antonella CammardellaVice President of the Healthcare Commission Campania Region)

“In these years we are observing a strong medicalization of Italian people: by every minimal symptom, the citizen  takes medicine”
(Roberto Raschetti, National centre of Surveillance and Promotion of Wealth of the Health Superior Institute – Health Ministry)

“We are very concerned, and we are against this medicalization of distress: as requested by ‘Giù le Mani dai Bambini’ (Hands off our children), a debate must be open immediately. Do not repeat the mistakes of the United States, who have fallen victim to the reckless pressure of pharmaceutical companies, which in Italy obviously know ‘whispering’ to the right ear. The drug can not and should not be a short cut: it is certain that some psychiatric drugs can get immediate positive effects, but at what cost? It acts only on the symptoms, ignoring completely the root causes of these inconveniences”

(Luana Zanella, Parliamentary , House Committee on Childhood)

“In this way a generation is transformed in little ‘zombie’. In loss of scientifically discovered illnesses, children have to be helped and accompanied in their growth. Feeding them with psychiatric drugs let them feel only ill when they are not so. In Parliament we will speak louder and will do all the necessary to stop this foolishness “.
(Laura Bianconi, Parliamentarian, Parliamentary Commission Childhood)

“If we consider that in the 82 centers where Ritalin will be distributed to children I am not will be made available additional resources compared to existing ones, the families will be placed in front of a forced choice: either administering the drug to their children, although in a controlled way, or adjust by themselves, paying for alternative therapies to psychiatric drugs, which may well get good results without exposing children to risks. These pads have the same risk profile of heroin and cocaine and the British government recently ranked among the 20 drugs most dangerous in the world.

(Francesco Caruso, Parliamentary, Social Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies)

“… the use of stimulants such asmethylphenidate / Ritalin to treat
of Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorders(ADHD) is increased by a
astonishing 100% in more than 50 countries. In many countries - Australia, Belgium,
Canada, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway,
Spain and the UK - the use of drugs could
reach levels as high as those in the United States. The Council
therefore calls on countries to assess the possible overestimation
of ADHD and curb the excessive use of methylphenidate / Ritalin …”(International Narcotic Control Board – ONU)

(ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) are being misdiagnosed and therefore psychostimulant drugs overprescribed, despite the growing evidence of the harmful effects of these drugs…[the committee] recommends that further research be undertaken on the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD and ADD, including the possible negative effects of psychostimulants on the physical and psychological well-being of children, and that other forms of management and treatment be used as much as possible to address these behavioural disorders”.(Concluding Observations Committee on the Rights of the Child dell’ONU, in relation to the prescription of psychostimulants)


“Longer-term negative effects are often disregarded, underestimated, or subordinated to short-term cost savings. There is a wide range of complementary or alternative treatment approaches for many of the mental disorders and painful conditions treated today with pharmaceuticals (psychotherapy, counselling, traditional medicine), and such alternatives may often be culturally more relevant and more effective. (…)Health authorities should promote the use of culturally relevant and proven complementary or alternative treatment modalities, keeping in mind that, by relying on such therapeutic options rather than on pharmacotherapy per se, cost savings can be substantial”.

(International Narcotic Control Board on report 2000- ONU)

“The 50% of drugs in circulation is unnecessary and could be safely deleted. Ours is a society increasingly centric-drug, because it sees the solution to all problems in medicine. In addition, the enormous economic interests that revolve around drugs and trend in health care consumerism, is the framework within which the not always better use of pills, ampoules and syrups takes place. The National Health Service could save a lot, with more decisive action on the habits of life”.

(Silvio Garattini – Mario Negri Institute)

“It is worrying increase in the tendency – even in psychology and psychiatry – to medicalize everything and everyone, to make a diagnosis in order to identify which syndrome may be at the root of a problem. Every conceivable behavior (with the term “disturbs”) can find a place in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) and diagnosed as a symptom of an alleged mental illness. Based on this criterion today in the United States amphetamines and psychiatric drugs are daily administered to more than 11 million children. In Italian schools programs for mass screening have started to identify youngsters who suffer from psychological problems. Is it sufficient that a child is restless and undisciplined to diagnose a syndrome of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder? How can this approach be considered scientific, if the syndromes are not evaluated according to scientific criteria? And how is the rejection of such a diagnosis interpreted? As the cause of a lack of attention due to refusal by a crowd? ADHD is a possibility, but there are others: for example, incompetent teachers or inattentive parents…»”.

(Sabrina Parsi, journalist and researcher)

“Giving psychiatric drugs to children, and in general to growing human beings, is something scientifically abominable, and ethically horrible”(Bob Johnson, Psychiatrist, member of Royal College of Psychiatrists and Director of the James Nayler Foundation)