Thursday, March 23, 2006

Is It Time To Fix The ADHD Diagnosis And Not The Child?

Ever since the term was first adopted by the American Psychiatric Association in 1987, ADHD has been a source of much debate. And as the multi-million dollar industry has grown, so to have the amount of literature that describes the fundamental flaws in logic and research, and points out that claims of a neurobiological origin has never been substantiated. For example, Ritalin is considered a class 2 drug, which is the same as cocaine. Yet most parents don’t have deep concerns about it because they are unaware of all the facts. Unfortunately parents are not being informed of the medical opinion surrounding ADHD and its validity as a diagnostic concept and the nature of the drugs that are being prescribed. There are basic procedures and medical tests to help establish a correct diagnosis, but very few children have been subjects of these tests and yet they are “medically diagnosed” without finding the source of their symptoms.
Although there has been what some call poor quality research on ADHD, the pharmaceutical industry is now generating huge profits. The differences of opinion in the medical field can be reflected by the wide range of prescription rates throughout the world. In the largest analysis study, published by the Oregon Drug Effectiveness Review Project, researchers found no evidence that supported the claims about the drugs’ safety or even the legitimacy of the diagnosis out of over 2,000 pieces of research. Some feel that to continue giving these drugs while parents aren’t being made aware of safety issues is a crime. Many parents don’t even realize that they’re giving mind altering drugs to children whose brains aren’t fully developed. Yet they do because their doctor gives them a prescription for a drug that has yet to be determined what the long term side effects may be. Will our children just become “junkies” after being on meds for years, will they die from heart complications due to medicines, or will they be properly diagnosed so they don’t have to experience side effects or possibly die?

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