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Is it really a Disease? 

The Truth about ADHD

We’ve all heard of ADHD right?  I believe it’s one of the most over-diagnosed “diseases” in the world.  It was invented to reclassify the many types of perfectly normal behavior as abnormal.  At the same time the drug companies are using ADHD to expand the market for their poisons.  

Recently a CNN article has brought out another downside to the stimulant drugs most commonly prescribed for children diagnosed with ADHD.  According to the article, several studies suggest that these controversial drugs can have a lasting and negative effect on the developing brain.  

Doesn’t that sound great.  Particularly for those among the steadily-growing multitude of youngsters diagnosed with ADHD (up to 5% of kids nowadays) that are perfectly normal, but who have been saddled with a drug habit because their parents are not up to the task of parenting. 

The research based at Harvard featured two groups of animal subjects, medicated at a point in their life cycles that closely approximates human adolescence.  One of these groups was given today’s most popularly prescribed ADHD drug and the other a harmless placebo.  Then, later in life, both groups were tested with a number of behavioral tasks administered under stress.  

The group that had taken the drug exhibited a noticeably higher degree of what’s known in the mental field as “learned helplessness,” which is a condition marked by symptoms of depression and a tendency to give up quickly when faced with a challenge. Similar research noted that the formerly medicated subjects responded less to rewards and reacted more to stress than the drug-free control group. 

Now you might be asking what this all means.  It means that these studies point to the likelihood that today’s most commonly prescribed psychotropic drugs for a largely made-up disease may in fact cause real and permanent changes in the brain chemistry that can affect a person for the rest of his or her life.  

The pharmaceutical giants would be quick to claim that findings from animal research may not correlate to human beings, but do we really want to take that chance, especially with our children.  
On USA Today online, there is a far different picture getting painted of ADHD but this time it among adults.  In the December 8th article we learn that, according to researchers (who are never actually named in the piece),  ADHD affects up to 5% of American grown-ups, but 75% or more of these unfortunate (see also lazy, undisciplined) souls don’t even know they have the disease.  

This article makes only brief mention of the fact that almost any adult who reads the horribly misleading list of symptoms on the drug’s Web site might conclude they were afflicted with ADHD themselves.  And even more troubling is the fact that many adults nowadays are “discovering” their affliction because of their child’s diagnosis.  While hearing all about the symptoms of childhood ADHD, they say to themselves “That sounds like me when I was a kid...” and sure enough, another drug-addicted victim of ADHD is born.  One patient walks in to the psychiatrist’s office and two come out.

also see

   Copied from:    About.Com Health/Fitness < Attention Deficit Disorder Articles 

 Trends in Prescribing 
 Psychotropic Meds to Preschoolers 
 Clonidine prescriptions up 28.2-fold over a 5 year period 
                       Research published February 22, 2000 in 
                       the Journal of the American Medical 
                       Association warns that recent reports on the 
                       use of psychotropic medications for 
                       preschool-aged children with behavioral and 
                       emotional disorders warrant further 
                       The full report appears on the JAMA 

 Who's Being Medicated with What? 
 The study was based on information from the prescription records of over 
 200,000 children aged two to four years enrolled in two Medicaid 
 programs (Midwestern state Medicaid program and mid-Atlantic state 
 Medicaid program) and an HMO located in the Northwest U.S. Charts 
 included in the article show dramatic increases in prescriptions in all age 
 categories and in all groups. 
 Medications studied were Ritalin, Other Stimulants, Antidepressants and 
 It Matters Where You Live 
 The study reveals considerable variation in treatment according to gender, 
 age, geographic region, and health care system. The increases in some 
 categories are dramatic. 
 Patients in the HMO group experienced a 310% increase in Ritalin 
 prescriptions over the period. During the same period, patients in the 
 Midwestern Medicaid group experienced a 300% increase in the number 
 of Ritlalin prescriptions written. This compares with an increase in the 
 mid-Atlantic group of 170%. These increases are comparable to the 
 results of an earlier study, published in May, 1999, in which it was 
 reported that prescriptions for Ritalin among school-age children increased 
 260% between 1990 and 1995. 
 Antidepressants were favored in the Midwestern group, with a 220% 
 increase among those patients compared with 190% increase in the 
 mid-Atlantic group and an increase of 130% in the HMO group. 
 The Midwestern group also prescribed more Clonidine than the other two 
 groups, with an incredible 28,200% increase in Clonidine prescriptions - 
 that is not a typo. There was a 28.2 fold increase in Clonidine prescriptions 
 in this group. During the same five year period, physicians in the HMO 
 group increased Clonidine prescriptions by 11,900%, while those in the 
 Midwestern group saw an increase of 6800%. While Ritalin is still the most 
 widely prescribed medication, these figures make Clonidine the medication 
 with the greatest increase during the study. Part of this increase may be 
 attributed to the fact that Clonidine and Ritalin are being prescribed 
 together with increasing frequency. 
 Specific Concerns About Clonidine 
 The report makes a specific point of showing concern regarding Clonidine: 
      "Clonidine use is particularly notable because its 
      increased prescribing is occurring without the benefit of 
      rigorous data to support it as a safe and effective 
      treatment for attentional disorders. Cardiovascular 
      adverse effects including bradycardia, atrioventricular 
      block, and syncope with exercise have been reported in 
      children treated with clonidine in combination with other 
      medications for the treatment of ADHD and its 
      comorbidities. Problems with abrupt withdrawal 
      producing noradrenergic overdrive have been reported. 
      Its use to combat the insomnia associated either with 
      ADHD itself or secondary to the stimulant treatment of 
      ADHD is new and largely uncharted and its increased 
      use for ADHD since 1991 helps explain the increased 
      clonidine poisonings in children taking either their own 
      medications or that of siblings." 
 Concern about the increased use of Clonidine has been noted before, 
 along with charges that doctors are doing things that they can't back up. 
 An article from U.S.A. Today, dated February 2, 1999, points out that 
 prescribing Clonidine for ADHD is considered to be an "off label" use of 
 the medication, meaning that it is being prescribed to treat conditions for 
 which it has not approved. 
 Clonidine is a high blood pressure medication developed for adults. 
 Safe and Effective? 
 The safety of Ritalin has been established in older children and adults. The 
 fact that Ritalin is effective in preschoolers has also been documented, as 
 have concerns for undesirable side effects in young children. Children with 
 developmental disabilities in addition to their ADHD have been specifically 
 shown to have adverse reactions. 
 Almost as alarming as the expotential increase in prescriptions is the 
 undeniable evidence of an increasing gap between research and practice - 
 the gulf between what we know and what we do. Under such 
 circumstances, it is not at all unreasonable to question if we are doing the 
 right thing when we put a 4-year-old on Clonidine, Prozac or even Ritalin. 
 Do we really know what we are doing? 

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