F.A.Q. Frequently Asked Questions, that is …

… the most frequent questions on “psychiatric drugs and children”, on the “hyperactivity disorder” and on our Campaign for awareness and pharmacovigilance.

1) Is “TUTTINSIEME”, initial promoter of this awareness campaign, an association?

“TuttInsieme” is not a association, but a Federation, that is a second level organism representing the interests of the 27 biggest hospital voluntary service associations of north-west of Italy, with  more than hundred thousand registered members operating in wards at this moment. In addition to this institution, among the initial sponsors include the Christian Student Movement and the National Association GiovanialCentro, two associations that have provided early in the campaign the necessary contribution of volunteers for the first awareness-raising initiatives in the area (conventions , events, etc.)


2) Besides the Federation did other subjects join to the Campaign?

The Campaign, named “Giù le Mani dai Bambini” ONLUS (Hands off our Children) has already been joined over one hundred institutions, associations and informal groups, representing the will of more than nine million Italian citizens, such as Federfarma, CISL, ACLI, AGESCI, Forum Nazionale Giovani, AGESC, CGD, OTE, UniTre and many others. This success is even more significant if we consider that the true and really one start-up of the initiative happened only in April 2004.


3) Is “Giù le Mani dai Bambini” (Hands off our Children) an “antipsychiatric” campaign?

Our campaign is a “for”, not “against”. “Giù le Mani dai Bambini” (Hands off our children) strives for a conscious and informed use of powerful tools such as psychiatric drugs, and to minimize the use of those psychoactive molecules dangerous for a child or adolescent. Many psychiatrists, neuropsychiatrists and university professors of psychiatry collaborate actively to our initiative and some of them are reflected in our scientific steering committee. Clearly, a fundamental prerequisite for collaboration – as always in these cases – an affinity of views about the need to tackle the too casual drugging of children.


4) Aren’t the pharmacovigilance activities of our Ministry of Health satisfactory?

Probably not, since the abuse controversy continues to rage. The activity of the public institution is certainly important, but obviously not sufficient to guarantee 100% the right of free choice of therapy for parents, and the right to actually and fully informed consent about the potential risks of these therapies. Recall also, on the sidelines of this response, that scientific research – in ours as in many other countries – is no longer  “independent” (i.e., funded by the state) but is financed largely by pharmaceutical companies that produce pharmaceutical products that should treat these syndromes.


5) Does “Giù le Mani dai Bambini” Campaign (Hands off our Children) make provision for a funds collection or some profit action?

At present the initiative is supported with funds from some of the associations and proponents of public institutions, and thanks to the work of many volunteers and the sensitivity of the citizens. Anyone can make a donation to support the campaign, but the proceeds can not be used to cover general expenditure items, but can be used only for the payment of documented living expenses such as hiring rooms for conferences, printing of promotional material to distribute in local health agencies and schools, etc.. The documentary evidence and received remain on archive, available to any citizen who requests it writing to Committee (the cost of production of documents shall be charged by the applicant). The spokesman, the coordinator, and the scientific and ethical committees, work voluntarily and for free. And then evidently every form of profit is excluded.


6) Is there a “Giù le Mani dai Bambini” (Hands off our children) “president”?

No, by choice of the Committee there is no such charge. It ‘s just appointed a “national spokesman”, that just “brings the voice” of the Committee, in dialogue with the media and institutions, representing the importance of our instances. “Giù le Mani dai Bambini” (Hands off our children) has chosen to be a kind of “horizontal” initiative as much as possible: the aim is to involve as many people as possible, and therefore can not and should not be a tool “in the hands of someone” or rewarding for some people with top positions.


7) Does “Giù le Mani dai Bambini” (Hands off our children) Campaign explicitly promote the scientific rebuttal of “Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder”?

The Campaign – contrary to what some “sponsor” of the drug solution says – does not plainly promote the scientific rebuttal of the disease named “ADHD” without inspection, or at least this has never been his principal purpose: the discomfort of behavior called “ADHD” is rather considered by our experts as a ” nonspecific constellation of symptoms,” or a “bell alarm” that shows that something is wrong, that the balance of the child is in crisis. But these are just symptoms: the real reasons behind the discomfort can be very many, and “label’” them all equally under the heading “ADHD” is scientifically superficial and very little serious.One wishes instead – highlighting pros and against of pharmacological therapies in use at present – to urge the attention of the public opinion on the controversial usual procedure of administering psychiatric drugs to children and adolescents and on the systematic screening procedures started in Italian schools, with the purpose to stimulate the critical conscience of parents, teachers and students themselves on this delicate problem. Therefore the ultimate purpose of the Campaign is also to exercise a correct drug-vigilance action, with the purpose to prevent abuses (documented in several instances in other countries, recently also in Italy) in the administering of these psychiatric drugs. It is therefore astonishing such a clear-cut rejection position by a few psychiatrists, unless they intend to mean they are favourable to such abuses. Our Campaign is inspired by the most elementary principles for the defense of the child and adolescent rights, which are certainly those of receiving an adequate care, but also the not be exposed to any pharmacological care if not actually necessary.


8) Who does oppose more overbearingly to this awareness Campaign?

The all-out promoters of the psychiatric-pharmacological solution, who are almost always referable to a few  associations of sector, included some associations of parents of children apparently suffering because of “Attention Deficit Desease”. These associations are not – contrary to what they themselves seek to understand – the opinion of the majority of the national and international scientific community, and are almost always financed by the producers of the same psychiatric drugs that they publicize as “miraculous.”


9)Is “Hands off the children” Campaign an initiative against a specific drug or the interests of some pharmaceutical company?

This is an awareness Campaign born with the purpose to urge the debate between the citizens on a very delicate theme, such as that of the raising phenomenon of the administering of powerful psychiatric drugs to children and adolescents. The initiative does not deal in any way with a specific pharmacological product or the activity of whatever multinational drug company. Today the pharmaceutical product in discussion could be one, tomorrow another, produced by a different company. That which one wishes to put the attention  first of all is the possibility itself to treat children in very tender age with psychiatric drugs, and the discussion is very strong on this point both in  religious and scientific communities. One for all is worth the example of paroxetina, the active principle of a well known psychiatric drug given out to minors : it has been pratically considered as without collateral effects for years and regularly given out the children, until the producing pharmaceutical company has been sued for having hidden four important scientific studies that were proving it was inducing to suicide children taking it, even if for years experts and doctors favourable to its use did perjury about the fact that it was absolutely innocuous. Ritalin is another example: it was thought for long time that his effects were no-risk or almost, until the international scientific literature could not any more keep  silence about the high number of collateral effects and the numerous proven cases of heavy discomforts directly referable to its administering, even if while we write a few doctors still ferociously deny this evidence. Now a new drug has been commercialized, whose active principle is atomoxetina: is not an amphetaminical by-product, so it is not proven to be addictive, and the collateral effects are relatively few as shown by the 97 researches that have been done (many of them, however, in cooperation with the producing pharmaceutical company). Our spokesman declares: “when the evidences will come that also this powerful psychiatric drug does present such collateral effects to be induced to an extreme prudence? If this will happen, how many young lives will be necessary to place to risk? When that day will arrive, also this drug will probably be “burned”, but in regards to a precise marketing strategy a new one will be put into the market, new health care illusion. And the depraved circle will continue endlessly … PS (updated July 2006): as suggested in this response, atomoxetine has been the subject of numerous “warning” by the Food and Drug Administration, for the high risk of severe hepatic coma and potential induction of suicide during the administering normal therapeutic doses.


10) But what does the majority of the scientific community think about this “disease”?

Several are the critical positions expressed by doctors, pediatricians, psychologists and psychiatrists on the “ADHD phenomenon”, that seems having struck in exponential measure 1%, then 3%, then 5% and now potentially up to 20% of the school population (see circulars 2002 of the Local Sanitary Units, following which the pilot systematic screening projects have been started in more than fifty Italian schools), as numerous is the scientific literature, also international, that dissociates from this “epidemic”. Amongst the experts themselves favourable to the pharmacological solution no statistical uniformity exists: dr. Maurizio Bonati of the Institute Mario Negri in Milan, for instance, affirms that psychiatric drugs “should be given out only in the heaviest cases, over seven years of age”, while the scientific literature in United States recommends starting the therapies already after two years age; prof. Bonati also reminds that “in the USA these drugs are prescribed to the 5% of population school (percentage in exponential increase)” while “the heavy forms would not actually exceed seven per thousand” (!)


11) How ADHD (so called “hyperactivity syndrome”) was discovered ?

The introduction of a new disease into DSM (mental disturbances diagnostic and statistical manual, the reference text for the whole Western Psychiatric world) does not require any scientific proof, but it is based on the experts outlook, who state their opinion and vote during the International periodical Psychiatry congresses: no doubt, this is a democratic system, but having nothing to do with the scientific approach. The so called Hyperactivity Syndrome has been identified and coded just according to this method, and “brought back to the light” in the 80s, when the young “ill” subjects started to increase exponentially, despite no new test to diagnose the “trouble” had been discovered. The “grid” of the textbook of the World Health Organization is much more restrictive in that it provides  the diagnosis of ADHD, but only where the nuisance comes from a chronic debilitating for the child, or risky for himself and others. These restrictive terms of diagnosis, which is essential for prevent abuse, “disappear” from the DSM…


12) How is ADHD diagnosis drawn up?                                                     

No independent psychodiagnostic instrument does exist to draw up the diagnosis: DSM has two attitude and behaviour lists, and according to them, 6 affirmative answers out of 9 – when filling in those while analysing the child – are considered enough to diagnose the trouble. Here below some questions (referred also to children aged between 2 and eight):

“Does he often move hands and feet restlessness or fidgets in his/her seat?”

“Is he often distracted by external stimuli?”

“Does he find it difficult playing quietly?”

“Does he chat too much?”

“Does he often “shoot” answers before questions are completed?”

“Does he look not to listen to what he is said?”

“Does he often interrupt or does he interfere in other people’s conversations or other children’s games, or is he noisy?”

Please note the absence of scientific criteria like “often” and “frequently”. In US the diagnosis is drawn up in about 15 minutes, sometimes without even examining the child; in Italy the diagnosis “is drawn up in about 4 hours, by collecting information from parents and teachers”, Dr. Alessandro Zuddas from Cagliari University says; he is testing an amphetamine psychotropic drug on 150 children.


13) But is ADHD a real biological disease?

Some people have stated that ADHD is “a real neurobiological trouble”, but there is no scientific proof of its neurobiological nature. The biological proves are objective and repeatable tests, mutually associating some behavioral to specific organic alterations, detectable through tests (blood, urine, TAC, etc.). Nothing of the aforesaid is applicable to ADHD. Some alleged evidences have been proved forged by mistakes (ignorant?) done in the testing run. The huge financial interests behind ADHD and its “spreading”, can lead researchers and other individuals to attitudes, very little scientific. In order to demonstrate that ADHD is a true biological trouble, there should be unambiguous anatomical pathologic surveys, linked to symptoms, but if this was really proved, questions and the subject’s behaviour observations would not be necessary to draw up the diagnosis: a clear biological test would exist, and on the contrary, it does not. In Science first you need to give evidences and then you can state it, not the opposite way round; otherwise we remain in the opinion field.


14) It has been said that there should be a genetic origin of this “syndrome”…

ADHD has been said to be “a heterogenous and complex, multifactor trouble – genetic in 80% of the cases, associated to other troubles in 70% of the cases”. These are pure faith statements. We are waiting to test genetic alteration evidences or any other real biological evidence. Science, from Galileo onwards, moves forward otherwise. And then – above any opinion – is it a biological disease? In such case, why biological tests do not exist to draw up diagnosis?
A renown American association, the CHAD, significantly financed by the pharmaceutical company Ciba/Novartis (which manufactures the Ritalin, the most sold drug currently on the market for this kind of “therapies”), defines the ADHD as a “cerebral disease of biologic origin”. Researches from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, the US study center for these pathologies), including professor Castellanos (who supports the hypothesis of a 100% biological origin of the syndrome) rule over the “National Professional Advisory Committee” (for the coordination of doctors and experts) and approve the CHAD-promoted pronunciation in favor of a “disease” status. Yet, professor Nasrallah performed a scanning on adult males treated for infantile hyperactivity and concluded that:“…cortical atrophy may be a long-term adverse effect of this treatment”. Therefore, the “deficit” may be caused by the drug utilized for the cures, and not by the alleged “disease” (!). Even if stimulants were administered to all the subject groups treated by Castellanos, researchers – mostly from NIMH – kept on declaring that cerebral atrophy was a proof of the ADHD being a disease, avoiding studies on drug-free groups of children. In 1996 Castellanos declared that: “A replication study with stimulant-naïve boys with ADHD is under way”. Such a study never appeared, and therefore, up till now, it is impossible to precisely know if the reported dysfunctions are caused by some pathology or by the drug used for the “cure” itself. At the 1998 Consensus Conference, always quoted as an “indisputabile source” by the sponsors of the pharmacological solutions, Dr. Swanson (host) and Castellanos summarized how “…recent investigations provide converging evidence that a refined phenotype of ADHD/HKD is characterized by reduced size in specific neuroanatomical regions…”A renowned international expert on the subject asked: “Dr. Swanson, why didn’t you mention that virtually all of the ADHD subjects in the neuroimaging studies have been on chronic stimulant therapy, and that this is the likely cause of their brain atrophy …?”. Swanson replied: “… this is a critical issue… I am planning a study to investigate that “. Again, such study was never carried out.

Even the final declaration by the Consensus Conference Commission reports: “…there is no independent valid test for ADHD. Although research has suggested a central nervous system basis for ADHD, further research is necessary to firmly establish ADHD as a brain disorder…”.


15)It has been said that “if not treated ADHD might compromise child development and social capabilities in many areas…”.

As treating this “syndrome” mainly means, to give a specific psychotropic drug, methylphenidate, (an amphetaminic drug in fashion among Western US drug-addicted communities in the 70s – but there are other drugs that will have been introducing into the market), under an educational  viewpoint, the child is “trained” to solve his life’s issues through a tablet. Leaving aside that FDA (Food and Drug Administration, USA Health inspection organization) has registered 2,933 different drug adverse reactions in the last ten years, the number of ADHD diagnosed children, treated with methylphenidate who became drug addicted adults, is significantly higher than children who – although ADHD diagnosed – have not been treated at all, because their families did not see any opportunity in treating their children with psychotropic drugs. Besides, it is worth reminding the number of dead children under methylphenidate or other psychiatric drugs treatment – more than 160 reported cases only in United States – as explained in many publications, such as this internet website.


16) But how can different experts be wrong?

Numerous and well-known doctors have been very critical and puzzled about ADHD. However, truth cannot come from a list of famous doctors, also scientific truth, but from laboratory trials. The theory of “syndrome of hyperactivity” is, in this case, poor from scientific trials to grant the efficacy of the proposed therapies. In any case, our Committee has promoted in May 2005 the signing of a “consensus document” aimed to shed light on this sensitive issue, properly investigate the position of the scientific community on this subject: this Consensus has received a number four times of authoritative subscriptions by experts and independent researchers than operly “pro-drug” promoted by our counterpart in 2003. These proportions should clarified once and for all the opinions of experts, at least in Italy.


17) But there are children that actually have behavioural and hyperactivity problems…

Since ever, in the human history, we can say to have found cases of very lively children, absent-minded, sometimes confused and depressed, especially during adolescence time. Some of them became very well-known women and men: for example, Albert Einstein started to read when was seven years old and his teacher talking about him said that he was “a mental retarded, asocial and full of mad dreams” and he was refused at the Zurich Polytech Institute; recently the famous actor Tom Cruise declared that “I suffered from dyslessia (a words disorder) and I was always absent-minded, I am sure I would have been declared as ADHD affected”. We can say that the list of celebrities entering the parameters of the “diagnosis” of this syndrome is very long. First of all, the cases of children really suffering from disorders of this kind are not so frequent if compared to the total amount of the number of children and , second, there are many problems can appear as “ADHD” symptoms but that are not. The following are just some examples to give you an idea:

- high levels of lead in the environment can place children at risk of academic failure and aggressive behaviour;

- high level of mercury in the body can cause nervousness and agitation;

- different pesticides can cause poor concentration , irritability, memory problems and depression;

- too much sugar can make a person feeling “exaggerated”or “hyper”active . Also the so called “fast food” – if assumed regularly – can cause such nutritional deficiencies to generate behaviour alterations (of light type but important) in a child or adolescent;

- if a child has school troubles, this could depend on the fact that he/she is very creative or intelligent and is in need of more or different stimulations.

The children labeled as suffering from ADHD, sometimes simply needs special attentions (didactical or pedagogical ones). The child could feel a sense of emptiness, weariness, without any desire to go to school, feel confused about the didactical material he is studying or in the classroom, he could feel bored or exasperated. A good  teacher could solve the source of these problems and avoid him a pharmacological cure, sometimes useless and potentially dangerous (please read with attention the heavy side effects of some medicines correctly used to “cure”  the symptoms of these disorders).


18) Are there legislative initiatives against the prescription of psychiatric drugss to children and adolescents?

In the USA where there are lots of  polemics, 21 legislative assemblies felt the need to promulgate 26 different legislative measures for children, wholly in line with the spirit of our campaign, and reached a recent federal measure, voted with 425 votes for and 1 only against. This measure grants to the parents the freedom not to cure their children with psychomedicines in case of ADHD . In Italy we have not a legislation to protect the right of health for children and adolescents, this means that these subjects juridically unable to express their will are not protected from the arbitrary administration and uncontrolled of psychiatric drugs.


19) How big it is the interest which would be concealed behind the ADHD?

It is easy to answer this question, with almost eleven million of young consumers convinced or forced to take the psychiatric drugs only in the USA: we are talking about an annual market that exceeds six billion euros and continually growing, and thus the interest to convince the citizenship and the politicians through well perfected marketing campaigns. As the Italian Observatory on Mental Health reminds, the World Health Organization affirmed that “around 2020 half of the children in the world will be affected with mental illnesses”. Translating this datum in billions of euros of sales, one well understands how promoting a politics for the mental health without considering the administering of psychiatric drugs is difficult. Instead it bewilders observing as no one is apparently able to stop the mass medicalization and that it is necessary to create a popular opinion movement in order to force the institutions to do what they ought spontaneously do.


20) Does “Giù le Mani dai Bambini” (Hands off our children) only deals with ADHD?

Absolutely not, in general it deals with everything concerning the topic “psychiatric drugs & children.” For example, our Committee has re-launched first in Italy at the end of 2004, American “warnings” about the potential danger of induction to suicide in adolescents treated with some classes of antidepressants, with well a year ahead of the competent Italian health control organisms.


21) Is “Hands off the children” Campaign inspired by the Church of Scientology, the Damanhur Federation, Soka Gakkai association or other minor religious confessions?

It is absolutely insubstantial the affirmation according to which the contents of our Campaign turn out “very much similar to campaigns of anti-psychiatric propaganda of the Church of Scientology”, as wrongly affirmed by a few psychiatrists who have declared their favourable opinion about administering psychiatric drugs to children and adolescents. “Giù le Mani dai Bambini” (Hands off the children) Campaign is in fact non-denominational, non-political, non-confessional, not inspired to anybody other than by the will of a large group of hospital volunteers. The problem is in the news, and is much heard by the citizenship (as it happened some year ago for the debate about the opportuneness to make blood exams compulsory amongst the citizenship in order to register cases of infection from HIV/AIDS), so that several national level media have thought they had to take critical positions on this respect. Unless still one wants to pretend to affirm that magazines such as “L’Espresso”, “Focus”, “Panorama”, “La Stampa”, etc are also “secretly” inspired by these religious confessions …


22) Why would psychiatric drugs consumers be “forced”?

After it has been approved by law and medical culture a certain type of heavily intrusive sanitary intervention such as that based on psychiatric drugs, who he refuses to let his children “cured” can be accused of lack of medical aid and the children can be removed from him, in order to be exposed to compulsory sanitary treatments. In USA a great deal of legal cases of this type are documented, one has concerned also the brother of the president of the United States G.W. Bush, who has refused to drug his son submitting him to this type of “cares”, starting from the assumption that hiding the symptoms of an uneasiness through the consumption of a drug does not mean at all curing an illness.


23) Isn’t “drugging” an excessive term?

Imagine that a specific group of people, to which a certain scientific reliability and very much power were given, decide that since today on a few life problems – also complex -, attitudes or even choices, are defined as illnesses: complain because one is unemployed, fall in love, read too many books … the possible list is infinite. Then the opportune drugs to solve these “problems” are prescribed … This looks like very much to as described by Orwell in his novel “1984″. However the truth is that harming the children the society of the future is to this background prepared.


24) From the pharmacological point of view, how do these stimulants for children present?

A pharmacologist has confirmed to us that the amphetamines are “synthetic sympathomimetic amines”, which have similarities to ephedrine, they differ in a stronger action on the central nervous system, in particular on the cortex. Methylphenidate – Ritalin’s active ingredient but not only – is an amphetaminic derivative, or methamphetamine: it causes, through the release of catecholamines by the adrenergic nerve endings, increased heart rate, peripheral vascular constriction with resulting in increased blood pressure, mydriasis, bronchial and intestinal muscle relaxation. They stimulate, with an intensity entirely uncommon, the cerebrospinal axis and they are among the substances sympathomimetic, those who possess the most stronger action on the central nervous system. All the sections of the cerebrospinal axis are more or less intensely concerned: the action on the cortex leads to increased mental performance, greater vitality in the design, more power to concentration, removal of fatigue, sometimes insomnia. As said, it is highly recommended great caution in the long-term treatment of mental disorders by means of amphetamines and their derivatives and assimilated, as it is not at all sure that a continuous central stimulus could be of real benefit, rather than of damage. The suspension of the use of these products may be accompanied by mental depression, blunting, apathy and depression, and for this reason the use is often identified with the abuse: patients become dependent on drugs, and may need higher and higher doses with a proportional increase in serious damage to brain, heart and kidneys. Must be considered substances with a very limited and questionable therapeutic potential, so that their removal from therapeutic formularies is likely to lead to the removal of many toxicological problems.


25) Does this mean that you should never give psychiatric drugs to a child?

The position of our experts is that the psychotropic drugs administered to children can be useful only as “symptomatic” or rather to control symptoms and acute crises. But they criticize the use whenever the administration becomes protracted and “chronic”, as often happens, basing that decision that “since the child does not exhibit more discomfort, we must continue to administer the psychoactive molecule”. In fact all the symptoms often reappear when you decide to stop treatment, compounded by side effects and iatrogenic of these powerful drugs, moreover not adequately tested on children, and the result of a trivial “reduction” in the amount of active ingredient in the dose for adults without considering the profound differences existing between the metabolism of a child and that of a fully developed organism. Furthermore, the use of psychiatric drugs on children must be firmly advised whenever the ratio risk/benefit is negative, and every time it is possible to achieve same therapeutic effects without the use of psychoactive molecules.


26) Besides scientific points of view, do ethical and moral ones also exist on this delicate matter?

On subjects and positions able to cause important consequences on wide population layers (and 3% – 5% of the children’s population is certainly to be considered a “wide layer”) is therefore certainly necessary a scientific, but also ethical, approach to the problem. Unless one wants to assume as absolute truth the affirmation of some, which support an all-out supremacy of the science also beyond the possible checkings, almost as if the citizen didn’t have any right to a complete piece of information and to express an informed assent. A similar debate was raised by a few members of the psychiatric community following the approval (done to the unanimity) of the regional law 14/00 in the Piemonte, still valid, which imply the adoption of the informed assent for the administering of electro-convulsive therapy sessions (commonly known as “electroshock”, still practiced in Italy). According to some, in fact, as a “clinical therapy”, even if much argued also in medical literature, it had to lie outside the attentions of the legislator. Since centuries the cautious legislator luckily puts himself beside the doctor, since not all of the procedures are to be considered as legitimate or opportune only because they were labelled as “therapies”. The ultimate good to be preserved is always in fact the patient’s integrity, and in our opinion today enough guarantees do not yet exist so that such integrity is preserved for the best in ” treatments” promoted for curing ADHD.


27) Apart from saying “NO” to indiscriminate use, do you also have proposals to deal with situations really serious?

“Giù le Mani dai Bambini” (Hands off our children) is a campaign of information and monitoring: as a choice – while giving voice to many doctors, specialists and experts in the health sector – it does not provide medical advices. The citizen has to find the most appropriate solutions in consultation with own trusted specialists, our task is only to “arming him” with as much information as possible to enable him to make a really conscious choice. Given the above, some of us have a precise idea of how things should work, and this strategy can be summed up with: a) undertake a “full differential diagnosis” so as to rule out any possible disease or condition that can “mimic” ADHD showing the same symptoms (there are approximately 181 other than psychopathologies), b) if it is not detected, through the tests referred to point a), any disease or medical condition, ask the family at least one year of work by a team of at least a psychologist/psychotherapist-educator-social worker-teacher. This assistance is to be delivered in a professional and gratuity scheme; during this period is desirable to use natural products that are effective and safe for relief of symptoms; c) if point b) fails, and the case is serious, you can switch to using psychiatric drugs, but always in combination with work referred to in point b); d) decisions referred to in point b) and c) belong only to the parents, or the judiciary according to the current civil law in case of their absence or self-evident inability e) the informed consent of the family must still be complete and in writing, with particular emphasis on risks and side effects; f) drug treatment should last no more than a month, including the scaling (at the end of a psychiatric drug treatment it is always recommended interrupting with descendants and constants doses). This treatment can be rescheduled for the same duration after an interval of at least three months (it is called “intermittent treatment”, and is already practiced in psychiatry), g) in case of acute crisis due to illness comorbidity with ADHD, so serious as to prevent approaches with other types of therapies, we can consider sedation with pharmacological intervention, not later than 30 days including the scaling, clinically controlled (day hospital or ambulatory monitoring), with next immediate start as provided in point b). Therefore, as is clear, our campaign has not a “prohibitionist” approach to the drug: the main thing is that these interventions are understood for what they really are (“symptomatic” and non-medical), that they are not abused and that the psychotropic drug is not administered with the ease that instead – unfortunately – nowadays characterizes many health operators.


28) In Italy, just recently, the Ritalin, Strattera (the basic molecule is atomoxetine, strongly objected in the U.S.) and Prozac trade was authorized for children with signs of depression. How does “Giù le Mani dai Bambini” (Hands off our children) comment on these decisions?

We comment it with great concern, because we see the promotion and achievement of the alarming culture of medicalization of childhood hardships. For a comprehensive review of our positions in this regard you can consult press releases in the Press Release section of this website. Just a final note about the “scientific” approach to the mapping of the phenomenon by supporters of pharmacological solution: a study conducted in two regions of central Italy showed a prevalence noise equal to 3.6%, another study based on the pediatricians in the city of Turin has a prevalence of 2.52%; a 2002 study, 0.43%, a study conducted in the schools of Florence and Perugia, has identified a 3.8% of cases; in Rome two pediatric studies were conducted in 1999 and 2003, in the first the prevalence was of 1.51%, in the second 0.91%; the study of Cesena in 2003 – led by local services on a population of 11,980 subjects aged between 7 and 14 years – gave a prevalence of disorders of 1.1% and we could mention many other contradictory data. In short: is it science or a “lottery”?


Note: this page will publish the FAQ and their answers treated by our staff, but any user can direct a question to the experts of the Committee filling the application form in the Agorà area of this website, and receive prompt response.