Misdiagnosing and Overprescribing Adhd Medications

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that millions of children across America are being diagnosed with and put on drugs for. Being the most common childhood disorder in the United States and around the world there are millions of children taking psychotropic drugs to treat ADHD. With so many conditions that imitate ADHD and so many risks and side affects; are doctors misdiagnosing and over prescribing unbecessary medication to children?According to National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH] (2006), it is estimated that 3-5% of children in the U.S. have ADHD; that is approximately 2 Million school aged children. This percentage does not include the adults that have been diagnosed. Although it has been around for such a long time; researchers still do not know exactly what causes ADHD. With so many children being diagnosed with ADHD it is a bit scary to know that not even scientists, doctors, or researchers know what the exact cause is.

There are no medical tests that prove it to be a disease; it is a neurological disorder. Dr.Fred A. Baughman, a child neurologist who has been in practice for over 35 years reports that the ADHD epidemic has grown from the thousands in 1985 to over 6 million today. Psychiatrists have collected a list of the most common loss of misbehaviors that parents and teachers complain about the most in children and without thinking twice labeled them a disease (2001). Are children not allowed to be children anymore?

Many of the so called ADHD symptoms are just children behaving like children or a child looking for attention. Dr. Baughman states “The entire country, including all 5-7 million with the ADHD diagnosis today, have been deceived and victimized; deprived of their informed consent rights and drugged–for profit” (Baughman, 2001)! The Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section of Drug Enforcement Administration stated that since 1990 the use of stimulant drugs given to children in the U. S. has not tripled it has quintupled.No other nation comes close to U. S. use of Ritalin (2006). What exactly does drugged for profit mean? Well, this is where it gets interesting. What many parents do not know is that schools receive $400 a year for every child labeled with ADHD, or that Doctors get paid by the pharmaceutical companies for every ADHD stimulant prescription that is filled. When a child is diagnosed with ADHD they are placed on a psychotropic drug also known as a stimulant.

This stimulant is used to control the symptoms of ADHD. Examples of these stimulants are Adderall, Focalin, Dexedrine, Methilyn and Ritalin amongst others. Many parents might be told by their child’s school that their child shows signs of ADHD. Schools will even refer the child to a specific doctor where the parents can go and have the child evaluated. The school will give the parents a letter and even the child’s progress notes where it may state that the child shows half if not all the symptoms described in the ADHD check list. When the child is labeled ADHD and placed on these drugs they are now considered mentally disabled.People may ask why the word labeled is being used somewhat than diagnosed.

The word labeled is used because when someone is diagnosed with a sickness, disease or a disorder such as heart disease, leukemia, cancer, brain tumor even diabetic; there are tests that are performed before that person is diagnosed. Formal test such a blood work, sternal tap, Biopsy or other testing should be done before a diagnosis is given. With ADHD there is no formal test, nothing, that can be done by any Doctor to formally diagnose ADHD.How can a doctor diagnose anyone without any official testing? Without proper testing and proper diagnosing it is just considered a label. The biggest obstacle today is there are many other problems that have the same symptoms of ADHD. Many parents settle for ADHD as a diagnosis before taking a closer look at other things. There are over 50 conditions that can mimic ADD/ADHD such as hypoglycemia, allergies, lead levels, toxin exposure, genetic defects, abusive home, drug or alcohol abuse in the home, depression, and anxiety amongst others.

Maybe the child is calling out for attention; maybe the child needs help and does not know how to express it. Why are parents, teachers and health professionals allowing our children to be drugged is beyond my understanding. Studies show that between 70 and 80% of children on ADHD stimulants show improvement in behavior, academically and socially (Rabiner, n. d. ). The problem is that without the proper research, no one knows how long the improvements last. The improvement can be long-term, or it can be short-term.

The benefits of these stimulants may be a good sign for some but the main question is if it helps 70-80% of children what happens with the other 20-30 percent? Do we just turn our backs on them and let them be? What many parents do not realize is that when their child is labeled as having ADHD they are labeled as being mentally ill. When labeled mentally ill the child is no longer looked at as a normal child. Currently there is no health or human service organization that focuses merely on ADHD.This causes a problem for everyone, because until we know what exactly causes ADHD and how well these medications work; we may be hurting our children.


  1. Baughman, F. A. (2001). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (Exposing the Fraud of ADD and ADHD). Retrieved  January 31, 2010, from http://www. adhdfraud. org Drug Enforcement Administration United States Department of Justice (Dec 10-12, 2006).
  2. The Hazards of Treating attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder” with Methylphenidate (Ritalin). Retrieved January 31, 2010 from http://www. ikos.org/deareport. htm
  3. National Institute of Mental Health (2006). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (NIH Publication, No. 3572). Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office.
  4. Retrieved January 31, 2010, from The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Web Site: http://www. nimh. nih. gov/publicat/adhd. cfm#intro
  5. (Rabiner D N. D ADHD Medications Ritalin and Strattera)Rabiner , D. (n. d. ). ADHD Medications Ritalin and Strattera. Retrieved January 31,2010, from ADHD NEWS Web Site: http://www. adhdnews. com/adhd-medication. htm

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