The number of young adults taking drugs for ADHD has soared in five years, particularly among young women, whose use of the drugs is up 85 percent, according to a new report. “The ADHD Explosion” gives insight into the causes.
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In March 2013 the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data showing that 11% of school-age children in the U.S.—an astonishing 6.4 million kids—had received a medical diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, a 41% increase in the past decade. Over two-thirds of kids with an ADHD diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin.
Co-author of The ADHD Explosion Richard Scheffler explains why so many kids are diagnosed with ADHD on The Zero Hour with Richard Eskow. A major cause is educational policies. To learn how this trend occurred, listen to both segments: Why are so many kids diagnosed with ADHD? and Schools purposely pushing more ADHD diagnoses? ) )
“The ADHD Explosion,“ by Stephen Hinshaw and Richard Scheffler, considers all kinds of factors that may contribute to the surge [in ADHD diagnoses], from diagnosis by undertrained and harried pediatricians to pharmaceutical advertising. But the eye-opening insight from Hinshaw, a clinical psychologist, and Schleffler, a health economist, who are colleagues at University of California, Berkeley, is the correlation between educational policies and the prevalence of ADHD diagnoses.
The line that separates the merely scattered and energetic child from one who fits the disorder’s full clinical criteria is not sharp. And Hinshaw and Scheffler argue that our shifting expectations of our kids’ (and our own) economic and academic performance have tilted the balance in favor of diagnosing an underachieving child and of medicating him or her with the stimulant drugs used to blunt the disorder’s symptoms.
In their forthcoming book The ADHD Explosion, Hinshaw and Scheffler—a psychologist and health economist, respectively, at the University of California at Berkeley—examine the causes behind the startling and rapid rise in diagnosis rates of ADHD, a neurobehavioural disorder that has somehow become epidemic.
Unless we’re careful, today’s preschool bandwagon could lead straight to an epidemic of 4- and 5-year-olds wrongfully being told that they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Introducing millions of 3-to 5-year-olds to classrooms and pre-academic demands means that many more distracted kids will undoubtedly catch the attention of their teachers. Sure, many children this age are already in preschool, but making the movement universal and embedding transitional-K programs in public schools is bound to increase the pressure. We’re all for high standards, but danger lurks.
Richard Scheffler goes live on Fox News this morning to talk about the surge in ADHD diagnoses and the role education policy plays.
A new book, “The ADHD Explosion” by Stephen Hinshaw and Richard Scheffler, looks at this extraordinary increase in ADHD. What’s the explanation? Some rise in environmental toxins? Worse parenting? Better detection? Drs. Hinshaw and Scheffler—both of them at the University of California, Berkeley, my university—present some striking evidence that the answer lies, at least partly, in changes in educational policy.