Author Topic: The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder (how the number of diagnoses soared)  (Read 329 times)

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Offline mountaineer

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By ALAN SCHWARZ
December 14, 2013


After more than 50 years leading the fight to legitimize attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Keith Conners could be celebrating.

Severely hyperactive and impulsive children, once shunned as bad seeds, are now recognized as having a real neurological problem. Doctors and parents have largely accepted drugs like Adderall and Concerta to temper the traits of classic A.D.H.D., helping youngsters succeed in school and beyond.

But Dr. Conners did not feel triumphant this fall as he addressed a group of fellow A.D.H.D. specialists in Washington. He noted that recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990. He questioned the rising rates of diagnosis and called them “a national disaster of dangerous proportions.”

“The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous,” Dr. Conners, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University, said in a subsequent interview. “This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels.”

The rise of A.D.H.D. diagnoses and prescriptions for stimulants over the years coincided with a remarkably successful two-decade campaign by pharmaceutical companies to publicize the syndrome and promote the pills to doctors, educators and parents. With the children’s market booming, the industry is now employing similar marketing techniques as it focuses on adult A.D.H.D., which could become even more profitable.

Few dispute that classic A.D.H.D., historically estimated to affect 5 percent of children, is a legitimate disability that impedes success at school, work and personal life. Medication often assuages the severe impulsiveness and inability to concentrate, allowing a person’s underlying drive and intelligence to emerge.

But even some of the field’s longtime advocates say the zeal to find and treat every A.D.H.D. child has led to too many people with scant symptoms receiving the diagnosis and medication. The disorder is now the second most frequent long-term diagnosis made in children, narrowly trailing asthma, according to a New York Times analysis of C.D.C. data.

Behind that growth has been drug company marketing that has stretched the image of classic A.D.H.D. to include relatively normal behavior like carelessness and impatience, and has often overstated the pills’ benefits. Advertising on television and in popular magazines like People and Good Housekeeping has cast common childhood forgetfulness and poor grades as grounds for medication that, among other benefits, can result in “schoolwork that matches his intelligence” and ease family tension.

A 2002 ad for Adderall showed a mother playing with her son and saying, “Thanks for taking out the garbage.”  ...
Read the rest at New York Times
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Offline Rapunzel

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 A good example of this is Lindsay Lohan who received a diagnosis of ADHD and adrenal... which coincidentally helps you lose weight, too.  Her last rehab evaluated her and said she isn't A DVD and weined her off Adetsl, reports lately says she's back on it.  Another Adetsl druggie in addition to hard drugs is Charlie Sheens last ex.. schools insisting kids take these drugs are pushing an entire new generation of prescription drug addicts..
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Offline GourmetDan

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I heard there is some new migraine drug that suppresses appetite as a side-effect.

Lots of women are using it to lose weight without being hungry.


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Offline Oceander

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ADHD does get over-diagnosed.  I suspect that, with respect to high-school age children (15% of whom have been diagnosed according to the article), some of the diagnoses are at the behest of parents who want to give their kids an unfair advantage at school - ritalin doesn't have its reputation as the study drug for nothing.

Offline mountaineer

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I'm afraid we have an entire generation or two of children who have been overprescribed Ritalin and Adderall. Who knows what the consequences will be.
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Online truth_seeker

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Ritalin is a stimulant for "normal people."  For "normal people" incorrectly diagnosed with ADD, Ritalin acts as a stimulant.

For correctly diagnosed ADD people, Ritalin does NOT act as a stimulant, however.

So 10% of the students are walking around taking a stimulant which works similar to methamphetamine, cocaine, etc.

I wonder if any campus killers were on Ritalin?

Offline mountaineer

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I wonder if any campus killers were on Ritalin?
If you google "Ritalin" and "violence," a whole lot of articles show up. Here's part of one:
Quote
Is Ritalin the Root of Student Violence?
March 29th, 2000 by Tom DeWeese

 As communities reel from one massive act of student violence after another, the nation looks for answers. How many are looking at the schools themselves as the conduit through which millions of students are drugged with mind-altering drugs?

 November 20, 1986: Rod Mathews, 14, beat a classmate to death with a bat in the woods near his house in Canton, Massachusetts. Though Rod was extremely bright, he was put on Ritalin when he was in third grade.

 February 19, 1996: Timmy Becton, 10, grabbed his three-year-old niece as a shield and aimed a shotgun at a sheriff’s deputy who accompanied a truant officer to his Florida home. Becton had been taken to a psychiatrist in January to cure his dislike of school and was put on a psychiatric drug, Prozac. His parents said that when the dosage of the drug was increased, Timmy had violent mood swings and that he would “get really angry…”

May 21, 1998: Kip Kinkel, a 15-year-old at Thurston High School in Springfield, Ore., murdered his parents and then proceeded to school where he opened fire on students in the cafeteria, killing two and wounding 22. Kinkel had been prescribed both Ritalin and Prozac.

 April 16, 1999: Shawn Cooper, a 15-year-old-sophomore at Notus Junior-Senior High School in Notus, Idaho, was taking Ritalin when he fired two shotgun rounds, narrowly missing students and school staff.

 April 20, 1999: Eric Harris, an 18-year-old senior at Columbine High School, killed a dozen students and a teacher before taking his own life. Prior to the shooting rampage, he had been under the influence of Luvox.

 May 20, 1999: T.J. Solomon, a 15-year-old at Heritage High School in Conyers, Ga., was being treated with Ritalin for depression when he opened fire on and wounded six classmates. ...
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