It’s hard to exaggerate just how scary this is:
Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That’s a 53% increase in the past decade and around “two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall”, drugs that can cause more problems than they solve.
And the situation is probably going to get worse.
And even more teenagers are likely to be prescribed medication in the near future because the American Psychiatric Association plans to change the definition of A.D.H.D. to allow more people to receive the diagnosis and treatment. A.D.H.D. is described by most experts as resulting from abnormal chemical levels in the brain that impair a person’s impulse control and attention skills.
But what if the doctors are not always right?
“There’s a tremendous push where if the kid’s behavior is thought to be quote-unquote abnormal – if they’re not sitting quietly at their desk – that’s pathological, instead of just childhood,” said Dr. Jerome Groopman, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the author of “How Doctors Think.”
What if those kids diagnosed with this condition are simply bored and in need of alternative paths to their learning? Are “repeatedly losing one’s cellphone or losing focus during paperwork” really symptoms of a medical condition?
Does the fact that I have problems with paperwork and hate sitting still for meetings mean I’ll be getting a prescription?Â