Posts Tagged ‘ADD’

An ADHD Epidemic or an Over-Diagnosis Epidemic?

December 26, 2013

ritalin

ADHD is only an epidemic because lazy doctors and greedy pharmaceutical companies have allowed it to be:

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) published a study “The amount of children on medication has reached an astounding 3.5 million up from 600,000 in 1990. Also an astounding 15% of high school kids are now diagnosed with ADHD.  The historical average was 5% of children were affected by ADHD.”

Dr. Connors of Duke University who fought to bring Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) into the spotlight is appalled and considers this a “national disaster of dangerous proportions.”  Many doctors are quick to diagnose and give out medications. This comes from a phenomenal marketing campaign by pharmaceutical companies that publicized the disorder and promoted the medication to medical practitioners. The proportion of children taking medication for ADHD increased with severity, from 56.4% among children with mild ADHD, to 71.6% among children with moderate ADHD and

Click on the link to read my post on More than 1 in 10 U.S. Children Diagnosed with ADHD!

Click on the link to read my post on Doctors are Hypocrites When it Comes to ADHD

Click on the link to read my post on Shock Horror: Sleep Deprived Children Diagnosed with ADHD Instead!

Click on the link to read my post on ‘If my Son was a Dog, I’d Have him Put Down’: Mother of ADHD Child

Click on the link to read my post on Why Are There So Many Children Exposed to Prescription Drugs?

Click on the link to read School Nurse Arrested for Stealing Students’ ADD Pills

More than 1 in 10 U.S. Children Diagnosed with ADHD!

November 23, 2013

 

perks

Does anyone actually believe this figure is a true reflection of how many children actually legitimately suffer from the condition?

The number of U.S. children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder continues to rise but may be leveling off a bit, a new survey shows.

More than 1 in 10 children has been diagnosed with it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which surveyed more than 95,000 parents in 2011.

ADHD diagnoses have been rising since at least 1997, according to CDC data. Experts think that’s because more doctors are looking for ADHD, and more parents know about it.

The condition makes it hard for kids to pay attention and control impulsive behaviors. It’s often treated with drugs, behavioral therapy, or both.

The latest survey found about 11 percent of children ages 4 through 17 had been diagnosed with ADHD. That translates to nearly 6 ½ million children. Half of children are diagnosed by age 6, the study found.

A 2007 survey put ADHD diagnoses at 9.5 percent of kids.

The CDC survey asked parents if a health care provider told them their child had ADHD. It’s not known how thorough the assessment was to reach that conclusion.

ADHD diagnoses were increasing at a rate of about 6 percent a year in the mid-2000s, but slowed to 4 percent a year from 2007 to 2011. That may reflect that doctors are closer to diagnosing most of the kids with the condition, said the CDC’s Susanna Visser, the study’s lead author.

 

Click on the link to read my post on Doctors are Hypocrites When it Comes to ADHD

Click on the link to read my post on Shock Horror: Sleep Deprived Children Diagnosed with ADHD Instead!

Click on the link to read my post on ‘If my Son was a Dog, I’d Have him Put Down’: Mother of ADHD Child

Click on the link to read my post on Why Are There So Many Children Exposed to Prescription Drugs?

Click on the link to read School Nurse Arrested for Stealing Students’ ADD Pills

Click on the link to read The Rampant Misuse of ADHD Pills

Doctors are Hypocrites When it Comes to ADHD

November 12, 2013

ritalin

So doctors are now warning that ADHD is being over diagnosed. Over diagnosed by whom?

By dentists?

Vets?

Beauticians?

Doctors have been savagely over prescribing medication (Ritalin prescriptions have risen by 72% in Australia from 2000-2011), often for as little as concentration issues in class. This is not a reason to give children medication!

Why is it that we focus on the child that is not concentrating rather than the teacher that isn’t sufficiently engaging his/her class? How can we blame the student when the teacher has often invested nothing more than a trip to the photocopier machine in planning for their lesson.

Remember, the very same teachers that complain about the lack of concentration in their class can often be seen dozing off during a staff meeting or professional development seminar. If poor concentration is all it takes to earn a prescription, then teachers at staff meetings make for great Ritalin candidates!

For too long we have been allowing our children to be the guinea pigs for our obsession with the quick fix solution. I would have thought that one cannot make a proper determination about a child’s ADHD status until they have ruled out social issues, home life issues, dietary habits and sleeping patterns. But this due process often goes out the window, because those matters take time, patience and sensitivity. Who has got time for that when there’s a wonder drug that turns a daydreamer into a concentration machine?

So the doctors think too many children are diagnosed with ADHD. I wonder who they have to blame for that.

Click on the link to read my post on Shock Horror: Sleep Deprived Children Diagnosed with ADHD Instead!

Click on the link to read my post on ‘If my Son was a Dog, I’d Have him Put Down’: Mother of ADHD Child

Click on the link to read my post on Why Are There So Many Children Exposed to Prescription Drugs?

Click on the link to read School Nurse Arrested for Stealing Students’ ADD Pills

Click on the link to read The Rampant Misuse of ADHD Pills

Click on the link to read Is There Any Student Left Without a Disorder?

School Nurse Arrested for Stealing Students’ ADD Pills

October 26, 2012

The last person you would expect to tamper with the students’ pills:

Dallas school nurse Rebecca Baily-Long is on paid administrative leave after allegedly stealing prescription drugs from students.

Bailey-Long is accused of risking the health of young students by replacing a K.B. Polk Vanguard Elementary School student’s Ritalin, prescribed for attention-deficit disorder, with prescription painkiller Tramadol, according to The Dallas Morning News. She also allegedly stole unknown pills from another student, WFAA reports.

The incident came to light when a nurse filling in for Bailey-Long said the girl, identified by CBS Dallas-Fort Worth as Natalie, had run out of pills. Mother Ruby found it odd since she had supplied the school with months worth of the drug just one month prior. A family member had also pointed out that the girl was acting oddly, until the discovery that some of the pills at the school had been replaced with others.

Click here to read my post, Who Needs Quality Teaching or Parenting When You Have Medications?

Click here to read my post, Get Your Kids on Ritalin Before Their Grades Suffer

Click here to read my post, It is Doctors Not Teachers Who Are Helping Children Get Good Grades

Click here to read my post, Doctors Create a New Normal by Over-Prescribing Drugs

Doctors Treating our Children Like Lab Rats

September 2, 2012

It’s bad enough that doctors are over prescribing medications to young children, to read that they are also prescribing them drugs that are intended for adults makes me extremely angry. How do we allow doctors to prescribe any drug until extensive research has been conducted:

Children are being prescribed unlicensed medicines that could be causing harm, a report has warned.

The Government study is demanding an urgent investigation into  the ‘unacceptable’ fact that almost a third of drugs given to sick children are officially approved for only adult use.

It warns of ‘a high number of drug errors’ in which children may be wrongly prescribed too much of a medicine because the doses are meant for adults.

Historically, pharmaceutical companies have not had an obligation  to test medicines on youngsters. The law changed in 2007 and new drugs coming to market must now be tested on children before they can be used on them.

But this still means about 30 per cent of drugs prescribed to under-18s – and up to 95 per cent of drugs given to babies in intensive care – have never been tested on children.

It’s one of modern days big tragedies that doctors seem to be in bed with the big pharmaceutical companies.

Click here to read The Drug Companies Are at it Again!

Click here to read Doctors Create a New Normal by Over-Prescribing Drugs

Click here to read ADHD Diagnosis a “Convenient Out For Lazy Teachers”: Dunham

Doctors Create a New Normal by Over-Prescribing Drugs

June 10, 2012

Some doctors seem to relish the opportunity to prescribe psychiatric drugs. After all, from the perspective of a passive observer, prescriptions of such medication are becoming all too frequent. I wonder if it will get to the stage when those not on drugs will feel left out and marginalised because of it:

PRESCRIPTIONS of antipsychotic drugs given to children have doubled in only five years, data obtained under freedom of information laws shows.

Antidepressant prescriptions have also risen, bucking international trends to reduce the use of the drugs after they were linked to children developing suicidal thoughts.

A psychiatry professor at the University of Adelaide, Jon Jureidini, said he was concerned antidepressant medication use was increasing despite warnings about suicide risks.

He said antidepressants should almost never be used in children.

After the US drug regulator issued a warning about the risk of suicide in children and teenagers taking antidepressants, there was a 58 per cent drop in the use of the drugs.

Yet between 2007 and 2011 in Australia antidepressant prescriptions increased from nearly 22 prescriptions per 1000 children aged below 16 to nearly 27, data provided to the Herald by the Department of Human Services under freedom of information laws shows.

Last year there were about 14 antipsychotic prescriptions for every 1000 children, compared with seven in 2007.

Professor Jureidini said it was likely the increase in the prescription of antipsychotics could be explained by doctors prescribing the drugs for behavioural problems, or by conditions such as personality disorder being reclassified as bipolar disorder and then treated with antipsychotics.

”There has been a very significant increase in the prescription of antipsychotic drugs and we can be pretty confident there has not been an increase in psychosis,” he said.

Antipsychotics are recommended for the treatment of children with conditions such as bipolar disorder, in some cases. National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines say doctors can consider prescribing an antidepressant for childhood depression in the short term, where psychological therapy has not been effective or has been refused.

Professor Jureidini said more monitoring of the drugs and their side effects was needed, along with training for GPs on non-pharmacological treatments.

A clinical adviser to the National Prescribing Service, Philippa Binns, said those who were prescribing antipsychotics and antidepressants to children should be specialists in children’s psychiatric problems.

I plead to doctors worldwide to please resist from writing a prescription for drugs unless you have tried all  other options which have turned out to be unsuccessful.

ADHD Diagnosis a “Convenient Out For Lazy Teachers”: Dunham

May 1, 2012

I commend for her courageous piece on the rising rates of ADD and ADHD diagnosis. Ms, Durham refuses to pull punches, raising a view I have been quite vocal about – the dubious role of teachers in the diagnosis process. Deborah suggests that teachers may be taking the lazy approach instead of the responsible one. She also raises strong arguments about the lack of research about the long-term ramifications of taking Ritalin, the contribution of diet to a child’s mental state and the lack of engagement and stimulation in school.

I’m starting to wonder if it’s possible for doctors, teachers and parents to diagnose kids with anything other than  Attention Deficit Disorder? According to a new study, the rate that kids are diagnosed continues to increase by 5.5% each year, but are there really that many more kids with ADD and ADHD? It seems like this has become a convenient “out” for many lazy teachers, doctors and parents who don’t know what to do with kids who don’t fit the “mold”.

The rates of ADHD diagnosis in the developed world increased annually by an average of 3% from 1997 to 2006 and 5.5% from 2003 to 2007 in the U.S. But researchers wanted to know–as did we–how accurate these diagnoses really are.

Led by a team of researchers at the University of Basel’s Katrin Bruchmueller, 473 child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychiatrists across Germany were surveyed on how they diagnose people with ADD or ADHD. In three out of the four cases, the described symptoms and circumstances did not fulfill ADHD diagnostic criteria. In fact, many mental health practitioners were found to base their decisions on unclear standards.

For example, male patients were more readily diagnosed when they displayed symptoms such as impulsiveness, motoric restlessness and lack of concentration–all things that can be perfectly normal when growing up. Boys were more likely to be diagnosed than girls, and on the same note, male doctors tended to diagnose ADHD more frequently than their female counterparts.

In short, what the researchers found what that ADHD is over-diagnosed because doctors rely too much on their intuition and not on a defined set of criteria.

All of this is troubling because it means that kids are the ones who are suffering as a result. Instead of taking the time to accurately diagnose them (if there is even anything at all wrong besides just being a “kid”), they are put on brain-altering drugs which is risky for anyone, especially someone who is still young and developing.

More than three million kids in the U.S. take drugs for their supposed difficulty focusing. In 30 years there has been a twentyfold increase in the consumption of these. And while medications like Ritalin may help increase concentration in the short term, not enough is known about the long-term health consequences–although some say drugs like this can stunt a child’s growth, other speculate that they can cause heart problems and even sudden death.

But is it really possible that three million kids in our country really suffer from ADD or ADHD, or has this just become a catch-all diagnosis by lazy doctors, parents and teachers?

We know that an unhealthy diet, sugar, processed foods, stress and a lack of sleep and exercise can all contribute to someone’s mental state. So, it’s entirely possible that our society has become so unhealthy that we are the ones creating these problems in our kids. And it’s not always synthetic drugs that are the answer.

The other issue that could be a major factor here is that kids are not engaged and stimulated in school enough. Taking millions of kids who all have different learning styles and trying to force them to comply and fit into one method of learning does not work. No one can possibly be expected to sit at a tiny, uncomfortable desk for eight hours a day in a classroom with florescent lights and the blinds drawn on the windows. Yet, when a child doesn’t conform, they are thought to have ADD.

Perhaps instead of jumping to conclusions and forcing our kids to swallow mind-altering drugs in order to fit our ideals of how they should behave, all of us–parents, teachers and doctors–should take more time to fully evaluate the unique learning style and personality that each child has and then alter how we interact with them accordingly. That’s not to say that everyone is lazy (because they aren’t) and there aren’t some legitimate cases of ADD (because there certainly are), but research like this points to the fact that we need to take more time and better understand how to consistently diagnose this disorder.

Experts: Medicate Your ADHD Kid or We’ll Report You To The Authorities

November 21, 2011

I suppose it was only a matter of time.  The writing was on the wall earlier this year when experts were outraged when a mother, Christie Haskel, claimed that coffee had cured her son of ADHD.  The medical experts came out in force against Ms Haskel.  How can this woman treat her child with something other than a drug with pharmacological effects that resemble closely those of cocaine and amphetamines?  And coffee? That could damage the poor child’s health!

Now it seems they have taken their pro-drug, anti-choice platform a further step into the ultra-extreme. Now they are threatening parents – take the drugs or you’ll be reported:

EXPERTS have warned that parents who don’t medicate children with ADHD could be referred to child protection authorities under controversial draft guidelines being considered by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The practice points, to guide doctors who treat the disorder, were drawn up by an NHMRC expert working group to address community concern over the use of stimulant medication to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They state: “Consideration should be given to the ability of the child/adolescent and their caregivers to implement strategies. As with any medical intervention, the inability of parents to implement strategies may raise child protection concerns.”

Child psychiatrist and Monash University lecturer George Halasz says the situation should not be seen as unique to ADHD and parents who fail to manage serious conditions such as their child’s asthma or diabetes could also be considered to be failing their duty as a parent.

Dr Halasz said the new guidelines were a step in the right direction because they asked doctors to first try to find other explanations for a child’s behaviour before they diagnosed ADHD.

Firstly there is a gulf of difference between a parent’s decision not to administer ADHD drugs and a decision not to treat a child for asthma and diabetes. Secondly, this move does not promote trying alternate methods but reinforces what many suspect; that Ritalin and it’s type have become a one-stop fix for a condition yet to be fully proven.

The British Psychological Society said in a 1997 report that physicians and psychiatrists should not follow the American example of applying medical labels to such a wide variety of attention-related disorders: “The idea that children who don’t attend or who don’t sit still in school have a mental disorder is not entertained by most British clinicians.”

Another problem I have, is how can you even consider reporting parents for not giving their children a drug that has the following possible side-effects:

How about we report lazy doctor to the authorities who prescribe this drug without due process? How about we report bullying tactics by so-called experts? How about we let parents decide for themselves what is in the best interests of their children?

How about you think about the consequences of drugging such a large proportion of our young?

The Horrendous Over-Prescribing of ADHD Drugs

April 21, 2011

America is running our of Ritalin!  Parents are frantically running around trying to find pharmacies that still have some in stock.  You might think that what I have just written is the making of good fiction, perhaps a Hollywood satire, but I’m afraid that it’s a true story, with potentially huge ramifications.

Nationwide shortages of popular drugs used to treat ADD and ADHD are sending parents scrambling, with some combing multiple pharmacies for the Adderall and Ritalin that keep their kids calm.

Molly Taylor, 46, of Worcester, Mass., was turned away empty-handed this week when she went to pick up prescriptions of Adderall XR for herself and her 16-year-old son, Luke.

“They don’t have them,” an incredulous Taylor told msnbc.com. “You could be waiting several days, which would have a HUGE impact. If you can’t get it that day, it’s very, very difficult.”

In the past two weeks, federal Food and Drug Administration officials added the drugs methylphenidate hydrochloride and amphetamine mixed salts, the generic names for Ritalin and Adderall, to an expanding list of national drug shortages. Some distributors cite manufacturing delays and increased demand as the reasons; others offer no explanation for the shortages.

But the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, which tracks drug supply issues, has listed the products in short supply for nearly a month, and there have been regional reports of spotty shortages even before that.

5.4 million children have ADHD

In the United States, an estimated 5.4 million children ages 4 to 17 have ever been diagnosed with ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and 66 percent of those with current ADHD take medication to control the condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last year, that amounted to 152 million units sold of Adderall and Adderall XR, the extended-release version of the pill, 35 million units of Ritalin and nearly 702 million units of generic ADHD drugs, with sales totaling more than $1.2 billion, according to data from Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions.

For millions of children — and adults — the stimulant medications ease the symptoms of ADHD, allowing them to control distracted thoughts and behavior well enough to participate in school, work and social life.

The drugs are taken daily, but when patients miss even one dose, the consequences can be swift, said Ruth Hughes, interim chief executive of the organization CHADD, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

“The symptoms come back very quickly,” said Hughes, who is the mother of an adult son with ADHD. “If you start that spiral, within 24 hours you begin to get in the loop of negative feedback. It doesn’t take very long until it has a truly negative impact.”

The current shortages affect various doses of the medications supplied by several manufacturers of brand-name and generic drugs. That means patients who find they can’t get their usual prescriptions might be able to find a similar drug in a different strength, made by a different manufacturer.

However, because the drugs are tightly controlled by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, prescriptions are doled out only a month at a time, and patients have to visit their doctors in order to authorize new drugs, which could be more expensive than the old ones.

“Tightly controlled”? You have got to be kidding me!  This is sickening!  How can we sit and watch our kids being prescribed these drugs in the millions and not wonder whether or not these kids really have ADD and ADHD?  How can you get to the point where demand for a drug for children is so readily prescribed that demand exceeds supply?

It seems like pharmaceutical companies are winning, and we are sitting there silently letting them.  It is time for a parliamentary inquiry on this issue.  Doctors and teachers in particular need to be accountable for their role in this situation.

Surely when a drug becomes so rampantly prescribed that drug companies struggle to meet demand, there is something not quite right going on?  Or am I the only one that thinks this is the case?

The Cost of Sedating Our Boys

February 20, 2011

I recently came across an interesting opinion piece by Elizabeth Farrelly in the Sydney Morning Herald.  Whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to connect the lack of representation of male teachers to the number of boys on Ritalin, some of her points do resonate.  There is no doubt that Ritalin does have a place, but with the numbers of children (boys in particular) taking the drug climbing markedly from year to year, it is more than fair to raise some strong concerns.  Ms. Farrelly certainly does just that:

The Ritalin wars are usually treated as just another tussle between the pharmaceutical companies and the rest, but is there something else going on here as well? Is it part of a more generalised, covert war on boyhood? //

Thirty years ago Australian primary schools employed five male teachers for every four females. By 2006 there was one male teacher for every four females. This overwhelming feminisation of primary education, and of culture generally, has made boy-type behaviour stuff to frown upon. Are we in danger of seeing boyhood itself as a disorder?

When Christopher Lane, author of Shyness: How Normal Behaviour Became a Sickness, quoted a psychoanalyst saying “We used to have a word for sufferers of ADHD; we called them boys”, he probably did not expect it to become the most famous line of his book.

What was once introversion is now “avoidant personality disorder”, nervousness is “social anxiety disorder” (SAD) or dating anxiety disorder (DAD) and so on. It’s not that these disorders don’t exist, says Lane, a Guggenheim fellow studying the ethics of psychopharmacology, but that our definitions are so broad that the entire mysterious subconscious is reduced to chemical balance, and any deviation looks like disease.

Why, he asks, is ADHD so commonly diagnosed in boys? Is it new behaviour? Or just a new attitude to that behaviour?

But why the gender imbalance, and why now? We know that boys tend to be late maturers anyway, but Scott concedes there are also social and perceptual factors at play. Teachers with “less structured” teaching style and “more distracting” classroom environments, he says, yield many more of his clients than their more disciplined (my word) colleagues.

Whereas ADHD girls “sit quietly in a corner”, the boys are more disruptive and more noticed, more referred, more medicated. And although much the same is true of ”normal” boys and girls, the upshot is that ”girl” is a norm to which boys are expected to strive. Scott sees it as “an unintended consequence of how society operates”.

But consequences this important should be either clearly intentional, if girlifying boys is really what we want, or remedied. Personally, I reckon the crazily creative are types we’ll need more of, rather than fewer of, in the future, even if they are male.

The above are just some snippets from this very thought-provoking opinion piece.  It has never sat well with me that such a large proportion of children taking Ritalin are boys.  Whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to blame it on few male teachers, it does make you wonder whether we are getting it right.

It seems like society may be letting boys down very badly.


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