ADHD may be misdiagnosed

Prescriptions for the disorder jumped nearly 50 percent in recent years.

Daily Editorial Board

In the past decade, there has been a significant rise in prescriptions of drugs to patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. According to research conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, between 2002 and 2010, the number of ADHD prescriptions has increased by 46 percent, and each year there are 800,000 more prescriptions. The number of children diagnosed with ADHD amounted to 5 million in 2010.

Most primary care doctors are able to easily prescribe medications like Adderall or Ritalin to their patients, as opposed to psychiatrists who can better evaluate the drugs. A study done by MinnPost in February acquired that 22 percent of the 256 high school graduates surveyed said they had taken these psychiatric medications without a prescription. Almost 90 percent acknowledged that a portion of their classmates used the drugs without a prescription. The lack of oversight by medical professionals makes the drugs easily accessible to just about any teen.

Medication is not always the answer. Doctors should be educating patients on basic treatments, such as healthy diet, exercise and a reduced-stress lifestyle, which can be a far more effective treatment than the regular use of these stimulant medications — especially when misdiagnosed to those who use the drugs for the wrong reasons.

“You have to look at how our society handles school childrens’ problems. It’s clear that we rely much, much more on a pharmacological answer than other societies do,” Dr. Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician said. “The medicine is over-prescribed primarily but under-prescribed for certain inner-city groups of children.”