Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Link Between Depression and Colorectal Cancer

According to a new analysis of data from the Nurses' Health Study, an ongoing study of some 127,000 female nurses, women who suffer from depression are at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Researchers however have found no link between depressive symptoms and the risk of colorectal adenomas, which are growths or polyps that can become cancerous. Dr. Candyce H. Kroenke of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues explain in the American Journal of Epidemiology that while depression has long been thought to play a role in the development of cancer, the data are inconclusive. But they add that depression has been tied to certain risk factors for colorectal cancer, including diabetes, low estrogen levels, and behavioral risk factors such as smoking.
Researchers hypothesized that depression would increase the risk of both colorectal cancer and colorectal adenomas. They are the first to look specifically at depression and colorectal cancer. Data analyzed from 81,612 women, all free from cancer at the study's onset, showed 400 cases of colorectal cancer and 680 colorectal adenomas were diagnosed during the 8 year follow up period. Women with the highest levels of depressive symptoms on the Mental Health Index had a 43 percent increased risk of colorectal cancer compared to women with lower levels. The association was stronger among overweight women. These findings suggest that depression may worsen obesity's adverse effects on cancer development. They concluded that further research will be needed to identify potential biological factors through which depressive symptoms may promote colorectal cancer development.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Prescribing Stimulants or Nonstimulants

According to investigators, who presented their findings at the joint meeting of the American and Canadian Academies of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, physicians are more likely to prescribe atomoxetine, also known as Strattera, than stimulants to adults with ADHD if the patient has additional psychiatric diagnoses. Research scientist, David L Van Brunt, PhD. for Eli Lilly, wanted to see if a patient with ADHD's history predicted whether or not the patient was steered toward stimulant therapies or a non-stimulant therapy. Dr. Brunt said that factors of treatment, such as histories of depression or anxiety, predicted whether physicians would prescribe atomoxetine as opposed to stimulant therapies.
The study was conducted due to the growing evidence that ADHD persists into adulthood. They reviewed pharmacy and medical administrative claims from a database that included 10,359 patients 18 years or older and had begun both an ADHD medication and had filed at least one diagnostic claim for ADHD between 2002-2003. In the analysis comparing initiations for atomoxetine to any stimulant, 2036 had recently started on atomoxetine and 6814 had started on any stimulant. The key factor that predicted the use of a stimulant was use of a stimulant in the previous year, which occurred in more than 60 percent of cases.
Dr. Brunt says that there is no overall difference in prescribing patterns of stimulants and long-acting stimulants. He says they are being use to address different treatment needs in clinical practice.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

7 Ways To A Happy Holiday

Holidays are they time of year to seduce the senses and bolster the bonds between family and friends. But often, even for the hardiest reveler, the mental and physical stress of holiday tasks can strain the mind and body. Below are some tips to help yet you trough the season, including ways to stay organized, to volunteer your time, decorate, shop, cook, and even card writing, all the while making your health the top priority.

1). Ways To Ward Off Stress
Stress and depression often go hand in hand. It is estimated that 10 percent of the population experiences depression triggered by stress. You can minimize these unwanted effects by controlling time spent on holiday chores.
-Take time for yourself. It’s easy to get burdened with a to-do list. Take time out and pencil in time for relaxation and daily rest. By completing a crossword puzzle, taking a walk, or a nap, the mental and physical break can rejuvenate you.
-Set limits. Don’t try to do everything in one day. Decide how much you can do and stick with it. Don’t forget to ask for help if needed.
-Help others. If you have the time, volunteering can lift your spirits and remind you what the holidays are about. Suggested organizations include the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run, the Marines Toys for Tots Foundation, Meals on Wheels, or even helping the Red Cross with the hurricane victims.
-Skip the holiday spirits. Alcohol, which is a depressant, can dampen your mood. It can affect sleep, increase stress, and exacerbated joint pain in some forms of arthritis, especially gout.
-Remember what’s important. Holidays are about family and friends, and your religious beliefs, not about who got what gift. Take part in events that make you feel good and say no the others.
-Laugh out loud. Remember to enjoy yourself. You’re out to have fun with others. Laughter is a successful supplemental therapy for pain. Even giggles can relax muscles, boost circulation and help dissolve stress.
-Don’t create a financial burden. Don’t cause added worry and stress by overspending. Simplify gift giving. Ask family members to do a grab-bag gift exchange. Enjoy less expensive entertainment by driving to decorated houses or going to free concerts.
-Make compromises. Skip the card writing. Call your friends to wish them happy holidays. Talking to them will boost your spirits. Or if you still want to send cards, get printed ones. It will save you pain from writing and time.

2). Ways To Tone Down De’cor
To get in the holiday spirit, many decorate their home. Here’s a few tips to help without going overboard.
-Go artificial. You can buy an artificial tree with the lights already attached. Places like Wal-Mart and The Home Depot will put a tree together for you. To spruce up a room, use artificial wreaths, garland, poinsettias, and holly branches. They won’t need watering and won’t drop needles, saving time on maintenance and clean-up.
-Take a stand. If you must have a live tree, take the stand with you. Ask the handler to set it in there, then just load it in your car.
-Hang together. If you’re having a get together, ask everyone to bring a decoration for the tree. It will be full in no time.
-Lay on lights. If you’re lighting the outside, use the ones that lay like a blanket and drape them over bushes and trees.
-Seek simplicity. Go minimalist. Try a grouping of candles at different lengths. Switch your regular couch pillows with holiday ones.

3). Ways To Work In Your Workout
Things may seem to busy, but don’t skimp on your exercise. It may make you feel depressed.
-Walk during your child’s sport event. Walking around the gym or field during your child’s sports practice or event will help you burn more calories than sitting on the bleachers.
-Exercise with a friend. If you exercise with a friend, you’re more likely not to break your commitment. Use the time to catch up, vent, release stress.
-Don’t park near the door. Whether it’s at home or the mall, parking further away can help. Those additional steps can really add up during a day of shopping.

4). Ways To Shop Smart
Instead of walking aimlessly from store to store, follow these do’s and don’ts so gift browsing doesn’t lose its luster when pain is present.
-Don’t procrastinate. Joining the mayhem of Christmas shoppers between Dec. 10 and Christmas Eve will only add to your stress, and you’ll probably spend a lot of time on your feet in long lines. You should plan ahead, start early, and shop at a leisurely pace. Stores are less crowded early or late on weekdays.
-Do browse at home. Visit Web sites or review catalogs of your favorite stores. Mae a list of thngs you want to purchase, call ahead to see if the item is in stock, and have the salesperson hold it for you. Better yet, order by phone or online and save yourself a trip.
-Do map it out. If your going to numerous stores, set a course of action and stick to it. List where you need to go and what items you need for each store.
-Don’t lose your cool. Don’t beat yourself up an cause more stress if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for. Remember that it’s the thought that counts.
-Do use a cart. So your finger joints won’t be strained from carrying gifts, use a cart from store to store. If you can’t borrow one from the mall, you can purchase one at for $46.99. You can also use it after the holidays fro groceries or laundry.
-Don’t shop the mall. Scarce parking spots and long lines can make the mall a very stressful and unfriendly place. Try to visit main street style shops or open air shopping areas. Parking is usually plentiful, you can visit multiple shops, and you can get some fresh air in between.

5). Ways To Avoid Temptation. Avoiding high calorie holiday foods is often difficult. But don’t have post-holiday regret by overeating now. Just follow these simple guidelines.
-Eat in before you head out. Eating a healthy meal before you leave home for a holiday party will prevent you from overeating. You’ll also be able to focus on family and friends.
-Set sensible goals. Set a realistic limit on how much you will eat and drink before you go out. Limit your visits to the buffet table and how many items you’ll get. Then praise yourself for keeping your promises.
-Don’t mingle near food trays. Try to stay away from tables loaded with hors d’oeuvres or candies and snacks.
-Bring your own. See if you can bring a veggie tray or something else nutritious for you to snack on.
-Just say “No, thank you”. It may be difficult to do, but if the host offers you seconds, politely but simply decline their offer.
-Inform gift-givers. Let family and friends be aware that you don’t want food as a gift. And if they ignore your wishes, you can give it to a homeless shelter.
-Remove food. Instead of meeting friends and family at a home, try getting together at a holiday concert, theatre, museum, or sporting event.

6). Places To Go Online For Gifts. Shopping on the Web saves time and energy that’s traditionally spent schlepping from store to store. It’s never been easier to find a rare collectible or a sweet sentiment to send to someone over the holidays. With online gift guides and Web-based catalogs providing a clearing-house of gifts that allows you to bookmark a gift idea to come back to later, further simplifies online searches and purchases. Next time you sign in, try these sites:,,,,

7). Ways To Make Meals Simple. Although a home-cooked meal is probably a tradition at your home, long hours over a hot stove can e a bit too much for your joints. Cut down on cooking time by starting a few new traditions.
-Make it a potluck. Why do you have to do all the cooking? Ask friends and family if they can bring a certain dish to share.
-Offer a buffet. Why lug all the dishes from the kitchen to the table? Make it a buffet. Line up plates, food, then utensils and napkins. Your guests will enjoy not having to mess with utensils while filling up their plates.
-Order out. Leave food preparation to someone else. Local caterers and grocery stores can provide dishes or entire meals. You can try such places as or
-Get mobile. If you must cook, a supportive stool with wheels will help you move around the kitchen more easily, and it will help you save energy.
-Go disposable. Washing dishes doesn’t have to be part of the tradition. Use disposable and inexpensive cooking tins. Dixie’s Stoneware even offers decorative dining plates and bowls.

Finally, just remember to do what you can to prevent stress from wrecking your holidays. Stress lowers your immunity and you could be prone to an infection or full fledged flare. Remember to stop and rest, especially at the first sign that you’ve overdone it. Be sure to enlist help if needed. If you do overdue it, an ice pack will help swollen joints and a heating pad helps sore muscles. Taking time to relax, whether it’s listening to music or soaking in a hot tub, will help you better cope with the holidays.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Treatment For Depression On The Net?

A new study has found that depression treated on the internet is as effective as in person sessions with a therapist. Researchers say those with depression doing self help sessions reported similar improvement to those seen in previous studies of patients who go to clinical environments. These findings could be valuable to sufferers in rural and remote areas who have difficulty accessing therapists.
In a study, published by Swedish scientists in the British Journal of Psychiatry, gives credence to the vast majority of self help courses offered online for years. One study examined 177 Swedes suffering from mild to moderate depression. One group underwent an internet therapy treatment while a second group received no formal treatment. They found that those receiving internet therapy reported decreased depressive symptoms immediately after treatment and at a six month follow up. Benefits also included anxiety relief and a better quality of life. They concluded that it is a proven form of treatment for mild depression.
Researchers however expressed concern over the high drop out rate, which was 37 percent, of those receiving internet treatment. Anita Abrams, a clinical psychologist, said that quite a few had to be excluded when it became clear they required treatment at a more personal level. But she feels that anything that reaches out to people may help save a life and it's worth persisting.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Largest Survey On Major Depressive Disorder

Research from the largest survey of psychiatric disorders among U.S. adults indicated a larger picture than previously reported of major depressive disorder (MDD) in specific population groups. The National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) also indicated a strong relationship of MDD to alcohol use disorders, drug disorders and other mental health conditions.
Researchers at Columbis University's Mailman School of Public Health reported middle age, female , Native American, low income, separation, divorce or widowhood increased the likelihood of current or lifetime MDD. The most striking findings to emerge from the study were the elevated rates of major deprssion in baby boomers and in Native Americans. This was expressed by lead author Deborah Hasin, PhD, professor of clinical Epidemiology at the Mailman School.
Research involved interviews with more than 43,000 non-institutionalized individuals over 18 years with questions that reflect diagnostic criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The findings conclude that five percent experienced MDD during the 12 months preceding the survey and 13 percent experienced MDD at any time during their lives. Notable is the shift among the highest lifetime risk from younger adults during the 1980's and 1990's to the middle-aged adults of today. Dr. Hasin feels this is an improtant transformation in the distribution of MDD in the general population and specific risk for those aged 45-64.
The risk of the onset of MDD increases between age 12 and 16 and more gradually up to the early 40's when it begins to decline, with mean age of onset at about 30. Women are twice as likely then men to experience MDD and are more likely to receive treatment. About 60 percent of those with MDD received treatment specifically for the disorder. Of all who experienced MDD, nearly half wanted to die, one third considered suicide, and nine percent attempted suicide. Research also shows that those with MDD, 14 percent have an alcohol abuse disorder, 5 percent have a drug use disorder, and 26 percent are have a dependence for nicotine. More than 37 percent have a personality disorder and more than 36 percent have at least one anxiety disorder.
These results demonstrate a strong relationship of MDD to substance dependence and a relationship to substance abuse. The NESARC also found strong relationships between MDD and anxiety disorders. MDD was strongly associated with personality disordrs. Mailman School colleague Renee Goodwin, PhD, assistant professor of Epidemiology believes this study provides the grounds for further investigation in a number of areas. Complete findings were published in the October 2005 Archives of General Psychiatry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

10 Ways To Take Control Of ADHD

At first you may think that posivie thinking and ADD have nothing to do with each other. But many with ADD develop negative thinking habits due to frustration of challenges and frequent feelings of being overwhelmed. This negative outlook makes it harder for us to manage those challenges and move forward positively. By practicing positive thinking, you're allowing yourself to focus on your strengths and accomplishments, which then increases happiness and motivation. This then allows us to spend more time progressing and less time feeling down and often times stuck. Here are a few tips to help you start feeling more positive.
1.Take care of yourself. You can be positive by eating well, exercising, and getting enough rest.
2.Remind yourself to be grateful. Reminding yourself of the things going right in your life make challenges and stresses seem alittle smaller.
3.Don't make assumptions. Our fears are usually not reality. If you think a friend is mad at you, ask them. Don't waste time worrying unless you have proof there is something to worry about.
4. Don't us absolutes. Have you ever said to someone "You're always late!" Using absolutes like always and never makes things seem worse then they are. And it programs your brain into believing that certain people are incapable of delivering.
5.Detach from negative thoughts. If you're having a negative thought, detach from it, and let it go. Thoughts can't hold any power over you if you don't judge them.
6.Squash the "Ants"-Automatic negative thoughts. These are usually bad thoughts that are reactionary, like "Those people must be laughing about me." When you notice these thoughts, realize what they are and squash them!
7. Practice Lovin', Touchin', and Squeezin'. Positive physical contact with friends and loved ones is an instant pick me up. It even works on pets! One study showed that a waitress recieved higher tips from people she touched then ones she didn't.
8. Increase you social activity. Increasing activity will decrease loneliness. Surround yourself with happy, positive people who will affect you in a positive way.
9. Volunteer or help someone out. Investing your time, money or energy makes everyone feel good. The more positive energy you put out, the more you'll recieve.
10. Combat rumination with pattern interruptions. If you're ruminating, do something different. Rumination is never productive. Try changing your physical environment by going for a walk, calling a friend, or turning on some music.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

New Treatment For Depression

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy, VNS, is a recently approved long-term treatment for depression. The FDA specifically approved this treatment for those who suffer from major depressive episodes, but who have not had an adequate response to four or more antidepressant treatments. Major depressive disorder affects nearly 19 million Americans each year. Unfortunately, one fifth do not respond to multiple antidepressant treatments. For these people, psychotherapy, medications and even sometimes electroconvulsive therapy does not work, or only works for a short while then stops working over time. This is refered to as Treatment Resistant Depression,TRD.
VNS therapy was first approved for the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy in 1997 and is now available for those 18 years and older with TRD. Dr. Sarah H. Lisanby, director of the Columbian Brain Stimulation Service at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, believes patients need safe and effective therapeutic options. The availability of the FDA approved treatment is an important development for the disturbingly large number of people with depression who have not responded to other treatments. She believes that open studies suggest that the benefits were sustained over time with very tolerable and few side effects. Half of the patients with an average of 25 years of major depressive disorder saw some benefit. One third had at least a 50 percent improvement and one out of six was depression free after treatment. They also reported signficant improvements in their quality of life.
The VNS therapy is delivered through a small device similar to a pacemaker that is implanted in the chest area. It sends mild pulses to the brain through the vagus nerve that is located in the neck. A thin, insulated wire is attached to the generator and runs under the skin to the left vagus nerve. The nerve serves as the body's "information highway" that connects the brain to many major organs. Studies have shown what VNS therapy may modulate neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine thought to be involved in mood regulation.

Monday, November 14, 2005

How To Beat Stress

Stress Can have thousands of causes, but the ultimate remedy is to just let it go. First remember the saying "this too shall pass". Often , just letting the problem be is a good solution. When things get rough, stop, take deep breaths, and relax. Things you can do to slow down and let go include taking a break, nap, bath, or going for a walk. The problem for alot of people is that they get caught up in their problems and lose perspective on what matters most. Being calm and collected is the source of success, health, and happiness. If you follow the Serenity Prayer, which says change the things you can and accept the things you can't, stress will be a small, manageable part of your life.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Many Bipolar Adults Have ADHD

Dr. William Niederhut, a Denver psychiatrist and Harvard Medical graduate, claims in a recent book that many adults who suffer bipolar disorders may also have ADHD. They are suffering an inherited disorder which he calls Childhood-Onset Bipolar Attention-Deficit syndrome. He says that with this, adults usually experience episodic depression, irritability and anxiety in their childhood years, along with symptoms of ADHD. The ADHD prevents them from responding fully to treatments using antidepressants or mood stabilizers.
First identified in children by researchers at Harvard a decade ago, psychiatrists studying bipolar disorders have been slow to recognize and treat successfully the syndrome in adults. The adult form of this has not even been clearly named. Dr. Niederhut became interested in this research two years ago after both of his daughters were diagnosed with childhood bipolar disorders. Then he recognized a mild form of this syndrome in himself, and he began to identify its features in many of his adult patients. He found that the syndrome is quite common in adults and can be successfully treated, often with dramatic results. Functioning better at work and in their personal lives, many of his patients now feel well for the first time in their lives. They no longer have the symptoms of depression, ADHD or mania with the proper treatment. His new book is called, "The COBAD Syndrome: New Hope for People Suffering from the Inherited Syndrome of Childhood-Onset Bipolar Disorder with ADHD." Here he has published his findings from the past two years along with a summary of the research data on the subject. His book calls for a paradigm shift in bipolar diagnosis and treatment. Because ADHD is an integral, disabling part of the disorder, psychiatrists need to identify and treat it. They need to do more than stabilize moods for those with this disorder.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

Do you believe that drug companies feed you the truth? If so, I'll bet you believe in the Tooth Fairy too. The latest player in drug maker scandles is Warner-Lambert Co., who allegedly lied to doctors about Neurontin's effectiveness, claiming the epilepsy drug could be used to treat pain, headaches, bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder and alcohol detoxification.

As resitution for its deceptive marketing practices, Warner-Lambert was court-ordered to pay a $430 million national settlement for illegally promoting the epilepsy drug Neurontin for uses not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

Neurontin is FDA-approved for epilepsy and nerve pain related to shingles. However, 90 percent of Neurontin usage is for "off-label" use.

While physicians are free to prescribe drugs for off-label use, federal law prohibits drug makers from marketing drugs for treatments that are not approved by the FDA.

Here's what got Wanrner-Lambert in toruble - From 1992 to 2004, Warner-Lambert paid doctors to promote Neurontin and trained them to submit false billing statements in order to get Medicaid and Medicare to pay for the drug.

Parents, if your doctor has prescribed Neurontin for attention deficit disorder or bipolar, I would suggest you take a serious second look at that prescription and decide whether or not you trust it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Parents: Recognize the Signs of Teen Depression

Depression Affects 1 out of Every 8 American Teens.
Only 20% Get the Help They Need. How Can

Depression affects more than 1 million teens each year. That's one out of every 8 teenagers -- no small amount. Yet only about 20 percent of these teens get the help they need. Moms and dads, it's important to be able to recognize the signs of depression so that you can help your child.

Depression is more than feeling blue, being sad, or being down in the dumps every so often. Depression is a strong mood that lasts for weeks, months, or even longer. Depression often interferes with a person's ability to participate in his or her normal activities.

Signs of Depression in Teens:

-- Depressed mood or sadness most of the time (for what may seem like no reason)

-- Lack of energy, feeling tired all of the time

-- Inability to enjoy things that used to bring pleasure

-- Withdrawal from friends and family

-- Irritability, anger, or anxiety

-- Inability to concentrate

-- Significant weight loss or gain

-- Significant change in sleep patterns (inability to sleep, stay asleep, or get up in the morning)

-- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness

-- Unexplained aches and pains (even though nothing is physically wrong)

-- Pessimism and indifference (not caring about anything in the present or future)

-- Thoughts of death or suicide

If you think your teen may have the signs of depression, don't dismiss them or think they'll go away by themselves. Recognizing whether it's just a passing "phase" or something more serious is crucial to getting help for you or someone you care about.

The most important thing you can do is let your teen know you're there for him or her. Encourage your teen to talk about his or her feelings. Your child needs to understand that these feelings matter and that you truly care.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Sex, Drugs and Depression

A new study shows that depression among young people occurred after substance and sexual activity. Once believed that sex and drug behaviors were used to "self-medicate" depression, this study shows that it's the other way around. Published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the study uncovers gender-specific pathways to depression. This study demonstrates the added risks to sex and drug use and warns parents to be on the look out.

According to the 2003 Youth Risk behavior Surveillance survey almost half of high school students have has sex, 45 percent have had alcohol, 22 percent have smoked pot during the previous month, and 29 percent have experienced symptoms of depression. Feelings of sadness and hopelessness lasting more than two weeks has stopped them from participationg in normal activities.

Data was analyzed from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which included almost 13,500 kids in grades 7-11. Students were interviewed in 1995 and 1996. Investigators found that sex and drug use increased the predictability of depression. Depression did not predict sex and drug use behaviors among the teens. Simply put, those who reported experimenting with substances or sex in 1995 were more likely to report depressive symptoms in 1996 than those who abstained from such behavior.

The study also indicates gender-specific associations between risky behavior and depression. Girls who experimented with substances or sex and those using alcohol were 3 times more likely to be depressed the followoing year than those who abstained. Also, girls having multipe sex partners and involved with intravenous drug use were 11 times more likely to be depressed the next year. In Contrast, boys who used marijuana and those who used marijuana and had multiple sex partners were 4 times more likely to be depressed the next year than those who abstained. Therefore, contrary to previous reports, these findings suggest that sex and drugs do come first.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Can Computer Exercises Improve Your Memory?

If you've seen ads about computer exercises that will improve your memory, think twice before you buy. Author of "The Harvard Medical School Guide to Achieving Optimal Memory", Aaron Nelson, PhD., compares computer exercises to physical exercises. He says " it's like going to the gym for an hour and expecting a perfect physique as a result".

Challenging your mind can help keep dementia at bay, but sitting in front of your computer is not a quick fix. In 2003 a study was conducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Of the 469 adults, those who were most mentally active had a 63 percent lower risk of developing dementia than those who rarely read or played mentally challenging games.

Mind challenging games, like cross-word puzzles, increase brain cell reserves and the connections between them. They also seem to link stored memory and knowledge in order to solve new problems. So while some computer games may help your memory, don't forget that reading and other games are just, if not more, as beneficial.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

ADHD Medications Over-Prescribed

A study reported by the Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, concludes that although they can be useful, stimulants used to treat ADHD in children are probably over-prescribed.

The report says cautiously that many children taking stimulants have only mild symptoms of ADHD or don't have any at all. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 4 million children between 3 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADD. With boys being more susceptible than girls, this is roughly 6.5 percent of the population. 65 percent of these children are treated with stimulants. Government statistics also show that stimulants are being prescribed to those who have not been diagnosed with the problem.

Many factors are necessary in diagnosing ADHD including a series of interviews, and assessment of school performance, and emotional and learning difficulties. The report warns parents to be leary if a doctor makes a diagnosis and prescibes a medicine after only one visit. They recommend a second opinion if there's any questions after the initial diagnosis. Experts also believe that more than one doctor or therapist should be involved in the evaluation process.

Finally, the Consumer's Union does warn that stimulants have negative side effects such as sleeplessness, loss of appetitie, stomach pain, and headaches. The FDA is currently conducting a review of reports of side effects including psychotic episodes, suicidal thoughts, instant death, and liver failure in people taking these medicines.