January 17, 2014
According to a New York Times report by Alan Schwartz, “The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder”, referred to by the Charleston Gazette, the number of children taking medications to treat supposed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders jumped from 600,000 in 1990 to 3.5 million today.
Although few physicians and medical researchers dispute that ADHD is a real disability that can hurt a child’s or adult’s success in school, at work or in their personal lives,
“Behind that growth has been drug company marketing that has stretched the image of classic ADHD to include relatively normal behavior like carelessness and impatience, and has often overstated the pills’ benefits,” according to the Times. Pharmaceutical companies also work to expand ADHD diagnoses to sell more prescriptions for adults. Also blamed are teachers and school administrators who have promoted the use of ADHD drugs, the Times points out, because it helps subdue and control rambunctious and underachieving students.
According to Dr. Harold Levinson, all the above reasons given for the jump in ADHD diagnosis and sales are correct. But they miss the real cause. In the past, ADHD has been significantly more under- diagnosed than today. And the stress of educational competition worldwide did not exist. And physicians as well as educators, parents, patients, etc. were ill- informed about this disorder until pharmaceutical companies were motivated by profit to enlighten them about the therapeutic benefits stimulant meds offer. And the internet is now a viable communication tool to bypass the prior traditional barriers preventing new and controversial insights from reaching those in need of help. However, the internet also serves as a balancing force by disseminating frightening and false information as well. But at least we all now have an opportunity to judge contradictory opinions for ourselves and make the best possible decisions.
About Harold Levinson, M.D.
Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Great Neck, Long Island, New York. He is a well known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author. His “highly original” research into the cerebellar-vestibular (inner-ear) origins and treatment of dyslexia and related learning, attention-deficit/hyperactivity and anxiety or phobic disorders has evolved over the past four decades. Initially supported by Nobel Laureate Sir John Eccles and other outstanding cerebellar neurophysiologists and inner-ear scientists,
Levinson’s research has more recently been independently validated worldwide by highly sophisticated neuroimaging brain studies.
The Selling of ADHD New York Times Alan Schwartz http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/health/the-selling-of-attention-deficit-disorder.html? pagewanted=all&_r=0
Pill pushers: ADHD industry Charleston Gazette http://www.wvgazette.com/Opinion/Editorials/201401170062
Photo Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net