Articles/Information

Radical Increase In Kids Prescribed Ritalin

CDC director: 'Misuse appears to be growing at an alarming rate'

Article published on WND.com in April 2014 (http://www.wnd.com/2013/04/radical-increase-in-kids-prescribed-ritalin/)

More than a decade after a national scandal regarding the over-prescription of Ritalin and similar drugs to millions of American children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now reports a far higher rate of diagnosis than a decade ago.

An astounding 19 percent of high school-age boys ages 14 to 17 in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD and about 10 percent are taking medication for it. Ten percent of high school-age girls have likewise been diagnosed.

Fifteen percent of all school-age boys have been diagnosed with ADHD and 7 percent of all school-age girls. That makes a total of 11 percent of all school-aged children in the U.S. diagnosed with ADHD.

The CDC survey completed last year found an estimated 6.4 million children ages 4 to 17 had been diagnosed at some point, a 53 percent increase over the past decade. Approximately two-thirds of those currently diagnosed have been prescribed drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall. Those drugs can help patients with both mild and severe symptoms, but they can also cause addiction, anxiety and psychosis.

Previous studies have estimated 3 to 7 percent of children have ADHD. Although there is no defined test, it is usually diagnosed by consulting with patients, parents and teachers. The rapid increase in the number of diagnoses and the prescriptions has long caused concern among medical professionals, with the harshest critics alleging that children are being drugged to make them easier to teach in the public school system.

"Those are astronomical numbers. I'm floored," Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine, told the New York Times. "Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy."

And while CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden told the Times "the right medications for ADHD, given to the right people, can make a huge difference," he added: "Unfortunately, misuse appears to be growing at an alarming rate."

David Healy, M.D., is a former secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology and has authored 20 books, including "The Antidepressant Era" and "The Creation of Psychopharmacology."

He told WND psychiatric meds, including psycho-stimulants like Ritalin, as well as SSRI antidepressants, are vastly over-prescribed.