HomeADHDCan You Spot a Quack a Mile Away?

The prompt for today for The Spectrum Bloggers Network is “Quacks”.

Right away, I thought of the shyster doctors out there, but immediately afterwards, I thought “ducks”. More specifically, I thought of the adorable little duckling in this video.

Of course, my dyslexic brain merges the two together, to form the not-so-esteemed Duck-Billed Charlatan!

Anyway, I have the feeling the intended meaning was of the misleading doctor variety, but for the purposes of this entry, I’ll refer to that group of so called doctors as DBCs, for Duck-Billed Charlatans.

What? I enjoy that nickname!

I personally feel that most doctors honestly want to help their patients. After way too many years, I’ve finally found a GP (General Practitioner) who I like. Before that, I’ve had a very hard time finding someone who’d listen to me and suggesting a rounded course of care.

I don’t think those previous doctors were DBCs, but I know they’re out there. One in particular saw my husband when he was having a hard time. After a whole 15 minute conversation, he prescribed one of the newest drugs on the market, at what we now know was too high of a dose, without bothering to look at other options or giving a diagnosis, first.

Maybe that’s more common than I’d like to think, but as soon as you walked into his office, you’re presented with at least five pamphlets for drugs, a huge display about Prozac and other things obviously from drug reps. Had I known then what I know now, I would have insisted on finding someone else right away.

Unfortunately, my poor husband ended up getting cycled through drug after drug, and suffered through terrible side effects, before finally getting prescribed two of the oldest drugs on the market. They worked.

They were also generic.


Fortunately, we were able to make it through all of that, dropped that doctor, and my husband’s now healthier than I am.

It angers and saddens me to think these types of things happen to adults, but it has twice the effect when I think of the little kids subjected to that sort of treatment. Families end up out huge sums of money, their little ones may have suffered permanent damage and no one’s held accountable in the end, barring a massive lawsuit not settled out of court.

Personally, I prefer a balance of western and alternative medicine. In fact, if I can get a non-chemical solution to my problem, I will every time. Medication is an absolute last resort for me. Yes, it has its place, and if it helps you, awesome! I’d just rather avoid it for as long as possible first.

If the doctor thinks radio waves from this machine can cure
all of your problems, leave the office. Classic quackery
may be classic, but it’s still quackery.
From the “Quackery Hall of Fame” in
the Science Museum of Minnesota,
Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

That said, there are also alternative medicine DBCs out there, too. Basically, anyone who advertises their services as “We can cure all cases of XYZ ALL THE TIME” is lying through their teeth. I’ve noticed that parts of their methods may show promise, but they’re often vastly overpriced. There’s no such thing as a cure-all for anything in the world of medicine.

Even basic infections can become complicated if the patient has antibiotic allergies.

Within the neurodiverse world, I’ve seen this applied to dyslexia, autism, and ADHD. I’ll read the information given, but I’ll reserve judgement until I can double check everything.

The one that sticks out in my head the most is how one DBC wanted to push his version of therapy on dyslexics which included motion sickness medication and a range of different therapies. I already know the motion sickness medication he suggested had no effect, because I had been put on it before.

It stopped the dizziness I was having at the time, but it had no effect on my dyslexia. I shudder to think of how much he would have charged for the appointment just to suggest it. It’s an over the counter drug, for heaven’s sake.

As much as those people gall me, the idea of classifying those particular types of neurology as “diseases” also irritates me. However, that’s a personal opinion. It’s shared by many others, but it comes down to opinion in the end.

So, how do you avoid these Duck-Billed Charlatans? Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as looking for webbed feet, feathers and an elongated orange nose.

In some cases, you need to meet the doctor in person to see how they treat their patients. However, in the event of finding one of those Miracle Cure All Remedies, you’ll need to hit the internet. I’d ask myself the following:

  • Are there reputable sources, completely unrelated to the office in question, backing up that method?
  • How long has the office/doctor been in practice?
  • Can you talk to people who have tried the therapy in question?
  • Are there outstanding complaints against the office or doctor?
  • Are there financial/personal connections between the office or doctor and medication/resource suppliers?
  • If drugs are involved, how long have they been on the market, are they FDA approved for the proposed use (and age group), what studies have been done on them, and what’s the incidence of side effects?

In my experience, it’s always a better idea to do your research before spending time, effort and money on an appointment. It’s a hassle, but the savings in time, money and suffering is worth it in the end.

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