19% of teen boys diagnosed with ADHD

Nineteen percent of high-school-age boys and 11 percent of school-age children overall have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diagnosis rates have soared by 53 percent in the last decade, reports the New York Times.

About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which can drastically improve the lives of those with A.D.H.D. but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis.

“Those are astronomical numbers. I’m floored,” said Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. He added, “Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy.”

Fifteen percent of school-age boys and 7 percent of girls now carry the ADHD label.

ADHD medications such as Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta and Vyvanse “can vastly improve focus and drive” for students with mild or nonexistent symptoms, reports the Times. An ADHD “diagnosis has become a popular shortcut to better grades, some experts said, with many students unaware of or disregarding the medication’s health risks.”

Ann Althouse wonders about possible side effects of “viewing youthful spirit as abnormal” and “skewing academic competition with performance-enhancing drugs.”

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  1. Stacy in NJ says:

    It’s a good thing that Obamacare is in the process of being rolled-out. We need a way to pay for all those drugs. I know I’m only too pleased to pay my fair share in taxes so that little Johnny up the street can have any individuality drugged out of him for the convenience of both his parents and teachers. Good Lord, if he doesn’t take his meds he might nibble a pop-tart into the shape of a hand gun! He might enjoy playing dodge ball!

    25% of American women take some form of medication for a mental health condition. We are doomed.

  2. Roger Sweeny says:

    The longer young people are in school, the more of them are diagnosed with ADHD. Perhaps there is something about today’s schools that is a health risk, especially for boys. (I’m serious.)

  3. SuperSub says:

    Whenever ADHD discussions come up, I always remember South Park’s take on it – the kids started seeing things while on Ritalin and in the end it just took a good hard slap (or two) to straighten it out.
    While I don’t suggest the slap method…discipline and focus can be taught by willing parents. Of course, that’s the rub… the parents willing to teach focus and discipline produce the other 81% of the teenage male population.

  4. Parents are stupid enough to roll over for this crap?

  5. Crimson Wife says:

    I wonder how many parents would push for an ADHD diagnosis if the College Board resumed its old practice of noting which SAT’s were taken with accommodations. Someone with a legitimate disability would not have a problem with a notation, but the folks who are scamming the system to get an unfair advantage would.

    • Stacy in NJ says:

      From the NYT article:

      “Taxpayers assume this cost for children covered by Medicaid, who, according to the C.D.C. data, have among the highest rates of A.D.H.D. diagnoses: 14 percent for school-age children, about one-third higher than the rest of the population”

      A red-state kid on Medicaid is much more likely to receive the diagnosis.