The Science and Pseudoscience of Children's Mental Health
Cutting Edge Research and Treatment
by Sharna Olfman, Editor
March 2015, 189pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3083-9
$55, £43, 48€, A76
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3084-6
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Can junk food diets contribute to symptoms of psychological disturbance in children?

This book explains how studies in brain development and epigenetics—the inextricable interplay of genes and environments—have led to breakthroughs in the understanding of children's psychological disturbances and serve to discredit the scientifically unsupported 'chemical imbalance theory' of mental illness.

Intended for mental health practitioners, concerned parents, and child advocates alike, this book presents a powerful new paradigm for understanding the causes of children’s psychological disturbances—and as a result, the proper treatment of these symptoms. Based in cutting-edge research on the developing brain and epigenetics, this important volume serves to inform readers about the latest scientific conclusions and clinical practices that need to supplant pervasive and often dangerous drug prescriptions to millions of children.

Sharna Olfman, PhD, and contributors including leading researchers, clinicians, and childhood advocates present their research findings and explain the implications for treatment of a range of symptoms, including autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), concussion syndromes, and mood disorders. The book definitively lays to rest the “chemical imbalance theory” of mental illness, a theory that has been roundly discredited by the scientific community but kept alive by the pharmaceutical industry. Chapters focus on the real science of epigenetics and the sensitivity of the developing brain to environmental influences such as trauma and chemical toxins—legitimate research findings that are largely ignored by mental health practitioners and rarely influence practice.


  • Presents a new paradigm for understanding the cause and treatment of children's psychological disturbances based in cutting edge research on the developing brain and epigenetics
  • Addresses the latest groundbreaking research on the treatment of concussion syndromes as well as on the cause and treatment of autism spectrum disorders
  • Offers strategies that promote healthy brain development and protect against childhood psychological disturbances
  • Explains how 21st-century parents' excessive use of cell phones and other mobile devices undermines the quality of attachment and places children at risk for compromised brain development and psychological disturbance
Sharna Olfman, PhD, is professor of clinical and developmental psychology at Point Park University, Pittsburgh, PA; a clinical psychologist in private practice; and editor/author of Praeger's Childhood In America book series. Olfman's published works also include Praeger's Drugging Our Children: How Profiteers Are Pushing Antipsychotics on Our Youngest, and What We Can Do to Stop It; The Sexualization of Childhood; Bipolar Children: Cutting-Edge Controversy, Insights, and Research; No Child Left Different; and All Work and No Play...: How Educational Reforms Are Harming Our Preschoolers. She has written and lectured widely on the subjects of children's mental health and parenting. From 2001 through 2008, Olfman was founder and director of the annual Childhood and Society Symposium, a multidisciplinary think tank on childhood advocacy.


"This very timely volume, on an exceptionally important topic in the lives of children and families, is a frank and thought-provoking consideration of the issues."—Frank Farley, PhD, Former President, American Psychological Association

“Informative and provocative! This book should be required reading for anyone concerned with children’s mental health.”—Irving Kirsch, Author of The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth
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