According to new data collected from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in five high school aged boys, and eleven percent of school-age kids all over have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. These increasing rates led to growing concern of many doctors that the A.D.H.D.diagnosis and the medication is overused in children of America.
Between the ages of four and seventeen, 6.4 million adolescents have, at some point in their lives, received a diagnosis for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The rate of kids with A.D.H.D. has risen sixteen percent since 2007. This is a fifty-three percent increase since the past decade.
Two-thirds of those children with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall. These medications can drastically improve the lives of those with A.D.H.D. However, this is alarming because they can also lead to addiction, anxiety and rarely psychosis.
James Swanson, a professor of psychiatry feels strongly about treating kids without a real disorder. He said, “If we start treating children who do not have the disorder with stimulants, a certain percentage are going to have problems that are predictable — some of them are going to end up with abuse and dependence. And with all those pills around, how much of that actually goes to friends? Some studies have said it’s about 30 percent.”
Data showed that approximately fifteen percent of school-age boys have received an A.D.H.D. diagnosis.The rate for girls was lower, at seven percent. Diagnoses among people 14 to 17 years old were particularly high; ten percent for girls and nineteen percent for boys. The data also showed that one in ten high school aged boys of is currently taking A.D.H.D. medication.
The medications mainly used to treat A.D.H.D. are Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta and Vyvanse. These are often used to treat anyone who has severe A.D.H.D. and greatly help their concentration and impulse control. However, because the pills can vastly improve focus and drive among people even with small traces of the attention disorder, an A.D.H.D. diagnosis has become a popular shortcut to better grades, with many students unaware of or disregarding the medication’s health risks.
I think children should not be prescribed such harmful drugs. Dr. William Graf a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine said, “Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy.”
If this isn’t concerning enough, the American Psychiatric Association is going to allow more teens to be prescribed medication as they are planning on changing the definition of A.D.H.D. to let more people to receive the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and treatment for it.