ADHD diagnoses way up among families who can pay for the meds



Inquiring minds want to know. Is ADHD a genuine problem or rather a way to prescribe meds to tranquilize out otherwise active children? Hey, I was “hyperactive” when I was a kid and probably still am. Most of the time I was bored by school. If I were a child today they’d probably zonk me out on medications so I would be “happier” and “calmer” AKA “easier to manage.” Remember the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip? Calvin would probably be deemed ADHD today and then given so many meds he’d be drooling. A curious, happy, fun kid would thus be reduced to a zombie, This is not progress.

“It is one of the most common chronic childhood psychiatric disorders, affecting 4% to 12% of all school-age children and persisting into adolescence and adulthood in approximately 66% to 85% of children”

If one out of eight school-age children now has somehow caught the apparently dreaded ADHD, then perhaps what MDs call a disorder actually falls within the realm of normal.

Patients with ADHD were more likely to be white or black, come from families earning $70,000 or more annually, and were more likely to be male than female.

Imagine that! Children whose families are relatively well-off are more likely to be diagnosed as needing medications. What a coincidence!

PS. My sister is bipolar and needs her meds. That’s not what I’m talking about. This over diagnosis of a supposed ADHD disorder, which rather clearly at least some of the time falls into the range of normal, seems a deliberate attempt to dumb down students to make them more manageable and docile in our over-crowded and increasingly dumbed-down educational system. And of course the pharmaceutical companies make handsome profits while psychiatrists, who used to actually talk to patients, have now become glorified pill-pushers.

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  • seems a deliberate attempt to dumb down students to make them more manageable and docile

    Some Points:

    1 My son was accused of ADHD. It appeared to me it was a deliberate program to make boys behave in a similar manner to girls.

    2.I was told 40% of boys have ADHD, at which point my comment was “It is not a condition, its is normal behavior”

    3. I believe ADHD is a necessary condition for boys. Perhaps a small review of their roles in primitive societies would be instructive. In grassland Africa the boys look after the domesticate animals. ADHD is a required condition, to a predator a boy and a goat look the same, food. Over focus on a single task would make the boy inattentive to the risk from predators.

  • Children whose families are relatively well-off are more likely to be diagnosed as needing medications.

    Active children from well-off families get drugs. Active children from not-so-well-off families are treated as discipline problems; this permits not teaching them.

  • I always wonder what regular doctors are doing prescribing meds for psychological conditions in the first place. Shouldn’t that be left to psychiatrists? At least they have the training for it.

    • MSW’s, social workers, do the work with patients now. Psychiatrist decide what meds to use. My MSW brother-in-law said psychiatrists priced themselves out of the market for working with patients one-on-one and now just prescribe meds.

    • As far as ADD is concerned, I and most of the kids I grew up with, particularly the boys, would have undoubtedly been diagnosed ‘abnormal’ by today’s standards. Why? Because there is really no such thing as Normal. My attention wandered in school because the work was targeted at the dumbest kids and I found it boringly easy – while other kids were busy parsing sentences for the umpteenth time, I was studying a Latin grammar or designing houses or reading mysteries…whatever.

      Hyperactive, to me, means an open and inquiring mind, interested in everything. That is not bad; it’s good – unless you are an adult unwilling or incapable of responding to a child’s curiosity and you just want the kid to shut up and sit still. In that case, you should not be a teacher, parent or deal with children at all.

      There are psychological conditions which can be helped by drugs, but I have noticed that in many (most?) cases the help is sort-lived. Meds often only provide a window, alleviating symptoms temporarily. (That’s why many switch from one drug to another to another). If the underlying problem is not effectively resolved within that window, the body/mind finds ways to counteract the effectiveness of the drugs.
      It’s as if the psyche is saying, “By God, if I want to be depressed/angry/deluded/etc., I will!”. Drugs give a therapist a fighting chance to ‘change the mind’ before the drug(s) start to become ineffective.

      All too many psychiatrists are now simply pill-pushers and leave genuine therapy to psychologists or even to Certified Social Workers, often with unacceptable results. I’ve studied psych for 50+ years and read far more than any professional I’ve ever encountered. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of therapists who have earned my respect. There is no doubt in my mind that the professionals (and I use the term loosely) seem unable to accept human variability. It certainly makes their lives simpler to pretend there is some absolute ‘normal’ and any departure from that is an illness. Big Pharma, of course, is all in favor of that: drug the kids, drug the elderly in nursing homes, etc. And btw the problem is not limited to psych. Too many MDs, particularly younger ones. have the one-size-fits-all mentality. Those who have practiced for 20 or 30 years usually realize that’s not accurate – different people with the same problem may benefit from different treatments.

      Anti-depressives are prescribed wholesale and no one asks if a patient may be depressed because he/she is living in depressing circumstances: the long-term-unemployed’s problem is not a chemical imbalance in the brain; a man’s inability to support his family; a single mom unable to care for her children; children going to school hungry; someone suffering from chronic pain; a widow or widower with no family or social contacts…

      Pills are no substitute for good therapy – and a properly-functioning social safety net.

  • Given that all of the study participants are listed as being in the same health care program, I find myself wondering whether the native assumption that higher household income = greater ability to access medication actually holds. Note also that the big jumps in diagnosis over the period are among non-whites, in particular black females.

  • Funny that this came up, as I’ve just been contemplating my own possible adult ADHD.

    I think that there is some truth to both views, i.e. there is this condition (the author of Driven to Distraction, a good primer, dislikes “condition”, prefers to call it a trait) with science behind the way ADHD brains function that is different – and the view that there is over diagnosis, over medication, and over-pathologizing life.

    Like all conditions, i.e. OCD, anxiety, depression, etc, there is a spectrum, and most of us can find some of the descriptions apply to us but that doesn’t mean we all have the full blown condition.

    I think that its worth reading more about this topic.

    Interestingly, in most of the reading about the topic I’ve done, the emphasis has not been on drugs, but on embracing the trait, and building a life around maximising benefits and minimising challenges. Regular exercise was described as one of the best treatment options, along with selecting the right work, building structure and organisation.

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