The Selling of ADD

Many people, school administrators included have advised me to medicate my son. I have mostly resisted because I view his incredible spirit as his greatest gift. For those of you who know him, you know what I mean.

I also believe ADD is often immaturity. These kids just need some extra time to grow up. Yes, adults too have ADD, but do they really?! Can it be that we all just need to accept our own limitations and celebrate our strengths even if those strengths are different than most?! Or perhaps we are fogged and distracted due to the daily onslaught of stimulants, toxins, crappy food, etc.??

This NYT article highlights the ascent of brain enhancing medications and the viral marketing of drugs to children categorized in the same class as morphine and oxycodone– drugs with serious side effects.

To those school officials who threatened that my son would be a drug addict later in life by not medicating, I pray you read this article before you use that line on another family. While some people really do benefit, this is not a drug to be taken on a whim or because you just want better grades or because you want your child to stay on task.

The FDA has cited pharmaceutical companies COUNTLESS times with false advertising and we are all guilty of buying into such false advertising.

Am I taking the easy route for my child?

No, but he is the happiest kid I know and to me that is all that matters. He also happens to be so smart when he chooses to use his smarts, that is when he is interested. Perhaps, the onus is equally on schools to develop more engaging curriculums.

Remember, it takes a village to raise a child!

The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder

The Number of Diagnoses Soared Amid a 20-Year Drug Marketing Campaign

“This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels,” Keith Conners, a psychologist and early advocate for recognition of A.D.H.D., said of the rising rates of diagnosis of the disorder.Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder

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.”

The Food and Drug Administration has cited every major A.D.H.D. drug — stimulants like Adderall, Concerta, Focalin and Vyvanse, and nonstimulants like Intuniv and Strattera — for false and misleading advertising since 2000, some multiple times.

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