In children under the age of 5 prescriptions for these stimulants for ADHD have increased an astonishing 107% for girls and 78% for boys between 1991 and 1995. People are starting to ask if ADHD is being over diagnosed and why.
While some people question the existence of ADHD many others are
becoming concerned about the dramatic rise in the number of diagnosed
cases in this country. The U.S. is the only country that recognizes this
as a condition. Other industrialized nations consider this part of
normal childhood behavior. They also have a tendency to use natural
remedies to treat children that are over active and have problems with
concentration. While the United States accounts for 5% of the world's
population we consume 90% of all the Ritalin produced in it.
For people that do have ADHD proper diagnosis and treatment can have
profound effects on their lives. They do better in school, at work and
get along better with their peers. These drugs have been shown to help
these people. The problem is that these drugs have the same type of
affect on people that do not have ADHD. Diagnosis is sometimes a blurry
area. There is no biological test that tells us if a person has it or
not. It is more objective than scientific. If a person becomes well
versed in the symptoms they can fake it. The positive affects of these
treatments can only be obtained by a diagnosis of ADHD and a
prescription for these drugs.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF OVERDIAGNOSIS?
Many times parents and teachers do not feel like dealing with a child
that is out of control. Diagnosis and treatment is a quick fix to
change any negative behavior. A positive diagnosis is seen as an aid to
general parenting. It solves the problem of an unruly child. The problem
is that treatment usually takes one form and that is to medicate them.
It is much easier when a problem child just stops being a problem.
This solves the problem for parents that do not have the time to parent
and teachers that feel they do not have the time to teach. What it does
not do is address the underlying problem that the child has
The problem is not the manufacturers of these medications it is the
people that use them as the only or primary way to treat ADHD. Even in
children that are not a problem it has become all too easy to call them a
problem and subject them with unneeded treatments.
Abuse of ADHD medications
These drugs have become noticed by students, professional athletes
and teenagers. They are looked at by these people as performance
enhancers. They can provide several hours of intense focus that can help
get a student through the next test or assist an athlete with their
performance in an important upcoming event. This may be something that
is too hard to resist for some.
Use as a recreational drug
Many teenagers are buying them from their friends to get high. They
consume these in large amounts and may be setting themselves up for some
serious consequences. These drugs have side effects such as suicidal
tendencies, insomnia, stunted growth and liver and heart damage. Because
they are taking many times the recommended dosages these side effects
can be magnified.
Adults that are looking for an advantage in the workplace
If you have adult ADHD a correct diagnosis and treatment can assist
in better performance and a better life. The problem is that diagnosis
in adults is very difficult. It requires one to look back on their
childhood for information which will assist in the diagnosis. An adult
with knowledge of the symptoms may be able to answer questions in a way
to obtain the desired diagnosis.
The business aspect
An entire industry has been spawned by the increase in ADHD
diagnosis. Some of these are legitimate and bring value to people lives
while others are only designed to benefit the business owner.
We have coaches and councilors, programs for parents, software,
websites and books. All of these companies depend on treating people
that have been positively diagnosed and may contribute to the over
It is the job of these companies to keep the topic of ADHD in
people's minds through news media and advertising. They do this under
the pretense of educating people when in fact there is little education
behind the sales pitch. You should not confuse this with objective
People need to understand that this is business and not to believe
everything they hear
In conclusion, if you feel that your life is negatively affected by ADHD by all means get
tested. But remember that medication is not the answer to everything.
Look at diet, exercise and natural remedies. In other words educate
yourself to your options.
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