Actually, the Breggin books, books by other psychiatrists, and therapists at the mental health clinic I worked in claim that schizophrenia, like all other mental illnesses, is not real, but that's a whole other issue...
DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria (By the way I mean this all in good fun. If I sound hostile it's at the book and not at any of you.)
A: Either (1) or (2):
1: "six (or more) of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level":
(Maladaptive to whom, I might ask?)
a: "often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities"
(Exactly how often is 'often?' I don't know any children that don't frequently make mistakes in various activities.)
b: "often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities"
(What sort of play activities? The ones the child herself has chosen, or the ones deemed 'appropriate' by some adult?)
c: "often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly"
(When spoken to with respect, or when spoken to 'like a child?')
d: "often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace"
(My community newsletter says that if a child puts off homework until the last minute, it means homework is not very interesting to the child and her educational system should be reevaluated. It said the same thing for the system wanting to drug her just because she doesn't find her homework interesting.)
e: "often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities"
(Again, the ones she wants to do or the ones adults want her to do?)
f: "often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)"
(My dh is a teacher. He says if a child does not want to learn, or doesn't like school, that something is really wrong with the school, because children are born with a desire to learn.)
g: "often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)"
(That's what I did to get out of classes I hated.)
h: "is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli"
(When you're sitting in a desk and some lady is yelling at you to sit up straight and fold your hands in your lap - just like in the Ezzo books - then a little chirping bird or falling leaf outside the window can seem pretty interesting!)
i: "is often forgetful in daily activities"
(This is used to describe a lot of other "illnesses," from depression to multiple personality disorder.)
2: "six (or more) of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:"
(Interesting...the symptoms have to persist 6 mo before a diagnosis can be made. What doctor is going to say "Let him hate school for a few more months and then bring him back.")
a: "often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat"
(Uh, those desks are really uncomfortable.)
b: "often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected"
(Especially if not allowed to go to the bathroom or get a drink until the almighty teacher says so.)
c: "often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)"
(Subjective feelings of restlessness and inappropriate running and climbing. Hey, that's every child I know under age 5!)
d: "often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly"
(Playing noisily is a lot more fun. Penelope Leach, author of Your Baby and Child, says that if children are not allowed to laugh and kick their legs and otherwise use noise and movement to express their feelings, they will soon stop having those feelings.)
e: 'is often "on the go" or often acts as if "driven by a motor" '
(When he grows up and has to make $4000 per month to support his family and afford health care, that quality will be appreciated.)
f: "often talks excessively"
(When children don't talk enough, they get labeled with something else, like autism or depression.)
g: "often blurts out answers before questions have been completed"
(Maybe move him to a more advanced class? And celebrate the fact that he knows the answer? If he didn't know the answer, he would be called slow.)
h: "often has difficulty awaiting turn"
(These are children! What child wants to wait their turn?)
i: "often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)"
(When children do not receive the attention they require, they will go to great lenghts to get it. A lot of parents are given the advice to 'just ignore' their children when they are trying to get attention, and this backfires with the child butting into their conversations and games.)
B: "Some hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment were present before age 7 years."
(Ritalin prescriptions for toddlers have increased.)
C: "Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g., at school [or work] and at home)."
(Children are forced into many 'settings' they don't want to be in.)
D: "There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning."
(Clinically significant? I don't believe that's of the most significance to the child.)
E: "The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other Psychotic Disorder and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder)."
(Interesting. That means if a child is psychotic, anxious or depressed, he cannot be diagnosed! But how many children, meeting all or most of the above criteria, would not be anxious or depressed?)
OK, sorry it was so long. My point was that I don't know any children, or adults, who would not qualify for this diagnosis.