Children Over Medicated For ADHD

Doctors may be overdiagnosing some groups of children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and overprescribing drugs to treat the condition. Researchers examined about 30,000 grade-school children in two districts in southeastern Virginia and found that pupils took drugs for ADHD in school at two to three times the expected rate, according to the study. ADHD is characterized by impulsive behavior and difficulty in paying attention and keeping still. About 90 percent of patients take Ritalin, a mild central nervous system stimulant believed to calm hyperactivity by helping the brain disregard distracting stimuli.

ADHD has been estimated to affect 3 percent to 5 percent of school-age children nationwide, with less than 3 percent actually receiving medication. By comparison, this study found that 8 percent to 10 percent of children in second through fifth grades routinely took ADHD medication in school during the 1995-96 school year.

Researchers also found that ADHD medication was used by three times as many boys as girls and twice as many whites as blacks. Use of the medication increased as children aged. By the fifth grade, 19 percent to 20 percent of white boys received ADHD drugs.

American Journal of Public Health. August 1999

Comment: This study's original impression was that children were being over diagnosed with ADHD. My impression is that it is likely that the diagnosis might be accurate. What is absolutely amazing is in many communities in our country up to one in five males in grade school classes are taking these medications. I am absolutely convinced that the vast majority of these children would have considerable improvement if they were only to follow the low/no grain sugar approach in addition to restricting their fluids to water only. The Heller's book, Carbohydrate Addicted Kids, provides an excellent explanation of the science behind the program.

Dr. Mercola - for more information go to his website

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