A hundred years ago it was rarely diagnosed in children. In the intervening timespan the number and type of diagnoses have exploded. Moreover, the number and type of treatments have also exploded. The favored treatment usually involves powerful medications with serious side effects. Big Pharma has made a fortune from these medications and is constantly searching for new variations to patent and sell.
I'm talking about childhood cancer, but I bet you thought I was talking about childhood mental illness. After all, everyone in contemporary society knows that childhood mental illness is over-diagnosed, that drugging children is the preferred method for dealing with the normal problems of childhood, and that normal children are being treated with powerful psychotropic medications simply because they are quirky and authentic.
That's what Judith Warner (author of “Perfect Madness”) thought, too, when she sold a proposal back in 2004 for a book that would explore the over-diagnosis of mental illness and over-treatment of children with psychiatric medication. She knew it for all the reasons listed above: Childhood mental illness was rarely diagnosed in children 100 years ago; since then the number and type of diagnoses have exploded; the number and type of treatments have also exploded; the medications used to treat childhood mental illness are powerful and can have serious side effects; Big Pharma has made a fortune from these medications and is constantly searching for new variations to patent and sell.