The Epidemic of ADHD Diagnoses

How can this be?

Almost one in five of American high school boys is being diagnosed with ADHD.  In the South, it’s almost one in four.

Children on Medicaid are diagnosed at rates about one-third higher than those who are not.

Taking ADHD medication can result in drug addiction and even psychosis.

Diagnoses have gone up more than 50% in the last decade.

Something is disturbingly, dangerously wrong here.  And I think it’s with our parents, schools, and doctors, not with our children.

For more see “More Diagnoses of Hyperactivity Causing Concern,” Alan Schwarz and Sarah Cohen, NYT

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3 comments on “The Epidemic of ADHD Diagnoses

  1. momshieb says:

    H’mmm. A couple of thoughts here. I am not so sure about your statement that “taking ADHD drugs can cause drug addiction and even psychosis.” There may be some correlational link, but I have never seen a good causal effect study. If you have one, I’d like to see it.
    I know a lot of kids (teaching for 30 years now!) who have made huge gains in confidence, academic ability and self esteem after going on the correct medications.
    On the other hand, I know kids who were diagnosed and put on meds because they were bouncy, energetic and wanted to learn by doing. That’s just wrong, and most often when it happens, the kid doesn’t change with the medication anyway.
    Since the introduction of so much standardized testing, I have seen less willingness on the part of parents and teachers to let children just learn by doing, creating, making a mess and developing at their own pace.
    We need to be really thoughtful and careful about the use of ANY medication, ever, but we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, either.

    • That statement came from the NYT front-page article today. but I’ve read a bunch of things before to that effect — that these drugs are addictive and that they can cause major psychiatric problems. It makes sense that children become dependent on them and then feel they can’t function without them — even if they didn’t really need them in the first place.
      All drugs have risks, and these particular drugs seem to be prescribed like candy without an appropriate, individual cost-benefit analysis of the risks in many cases. I’m sure many parents aren’t counseled about risks.
      Red Sox certainly did a number on the Yankees today. We were just pathetic.

  2. What’s interesting is the range in the number of “cases” among states. Why would there be three times as many such cases in the South as in California, why wouldn’t there be a fairly even distribution? The much higher incidence in Red States troubles me.

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