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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

ADHD and our Adderall Addiction

Nine point Seven percent. 9.7% is the number to keep in mind here. That is the amount of kids ages 14-17 who are now being diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome) across the country. Or...are you ready? FIVE.FOUR Million kids. And the drug they are being given is adderall. An amphetamine with not a few side effects. Stunting of growth. High blood pressure. Psychotic episodes. And yet, the drug is given more and more and worse...people now suspect it is being used for kids who don't have ADHD...they just are not getting good grades.

In a recent NYT article the poor were cited as being effected by this methodology in large numbers. Psychotropic drugs are given for kids who cannot afford tutors or schools that are too poor for 504 plans. The problem is what every parent suspects about these drugs...when will the other shoe fall? You cannot just take a pill and have your problems go away. Worse, the drugs lose their effectiveness and have to be combined with other drugs. But the real question is why do we have this dramatic increasese in ADHD?

No one knows for sure. But we can guess along with our dramatic increase in autism (97% increase since 2000) One thing of course is environmental. Toxins might be a culprit here. Autism has been pinpointed to older men and the quality of their sperm. Apparently the old dads are in the soup here. But ADHD or the inability to focus is an enigma. It is literally everywhere and society does not have the time or patience to cope. Some would say these kids were always there and were just left behind.  Some would say we don't allow kids to fail anymore. Maybe.

And then it comes down to our inability to accept some kids learn differently. Or that we no longer can accept the bad student. Some say it is the pharmacological solution gone bad. Whatever it is, the scary thought is that we are doping millions of kids with little idea of long term effects or even our motivations. In a strange way we have become a nation to big to fail and we put that on our kids too. The question always come down to at what point do you pull the adderall lever and what are the consequences of that decision?
The scary part of that answer is that we are only twenty years into this... and nobody really knows.

Yet.

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Books by William Hazelgrove