Is your child on ADHD drugs? You are part of a growing trend. The CDC released a report last month that shows a huge increase in U.S. kids with ADHD. The report says a record 11% of kids ages 4-17 have ADHD. The biggest increase was for older high school aged boys. According to the report about 20% of teen boys are diagnosed with ADHD.
April 2, 2013, Alice Park posted an article in Time that highlights the growing use of ADHD drugs like Ritalin and Adderall.
Park says, “11% of children ages 4 to 17 were diagnosed with ADHD, a 16% increase since 2007, the last time that researchers at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did a comprehensive survey for the prevalence of the neurobehavior disorder. The rise was especially dramatic among boys, with an estimated 1 in 5 boys in high school diagnosed with ADHD. What’s more, about two-thirds of the children diagnosed were treated with stimulant medications that can improve attention but also come with side effects.”
A Summary of Gary Null’s “The Drugging of our Children”
Have you seen the 2005 video showing the overuse of ADHD drugs for kids? The problems have gotten much worse since that video.
The video was produced by Gary Null and entitled “The Drugging of our Children.” It questions why we medicate so many children for symptoms of ADHD. If you watch the video you’ll see that most doctors prescribe medication first before considering other treatment options. And there are many other options and possible diagnoses that cause ADHD symptoms.
Most kids get diagnosed with ADHD by their pediatrician or family doctor, who aren’t usually trained in providing the type of detailed evaluation that a reliable diagnosis requires.
Null warns that doctors need to look at other conditions before prescribing ADHD drugs to kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 6 diagnosed with ADHD do behavior therapy before using ADHD drugs.
Park writes, “But writing a prescription is far easier than monitoring a series of sessions that involve training and a commitment of time and effort from parents and family members.”
Understanding what an ADHD diagnosis is:
Null explains that ADHD is a clinical diagnosis. This means that there is no definite test that can prove your child has ADHD. When your child is diagnosed with ADHD it is done by looking at all the symptoms. If enough symptoms are present then your child is given an ADHD diagnosis, and often prescribed ADHD drugs. But are they necessary? Does your child really have ADHD? Does your child really need ADHD drugs? Are the symptoms caused by one of nearly 100 other health conditions instead? Gary Null investigates ADHD drugs in detail in “The Drugging of Our Children”.
Patty Johnson, a Colorado State Board of Education member from 1995-2001, tells viewers to exhibit caution when an ADHD diagnosis is suggested. “One of the problems with the diagnosis for ADHD is that it’s very subjective,” She says. “It’s basically a list of behaviors.”