Drugged ‘for being boys’

Most boys on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder meds are “being drugged for no good reason—simply for being boys,” charges Ryan D’Agostino in Esquire.

By the time they reach high school, nearly 20 percent of all American boys will be diagnosed with ADHD. Millions of those boys will be prescribed a powerful stimulant to “normalize” them. A great many of those boys will suffer serious side effects from those drugs. The shocking truth is that many of those diagnoses are wrong . . .

“We are pathologizing boyhood,” says Ned Hallowell, a psychiatrist who has been diagnosed with ADHD himself. The co-author of two books on ADHD,  Driven to Distraction and Delivered from Distraction, Hallowell “there’s been a general girlification of elementary school, where any kind of disruptive behavior is sinful.”

Most boys are naturally more restless than most girls, and I would say that’s good. But schools want these little goody-goodies who sit still and do what they’re told—these robots—and that’s just not who boys are.”

Boys aren’t given time to outgrow immature behavior, writes D’Agostino. A huge Canadian study found that “boys who were born in December”—typically the youngest students in their class—”were 30 percent more likely to receive a diagnosis of ADHD than boys born in January,” who were nearly a full year older. And “boys were 41 percent more likely to be given a prescription for a medication to treat ADHD if they were born in December than if they were born in January.” 

“Sluggish cognitive tempo” — day dreaming — is the latest candidate for diagnosis and medication, reports the New York Times.

“We’re seeing a fad in evolution: Just as A.D.H.D. has been the diagnosis du jour for 15 years or so, this is the beginning of another,” said Dr. Allen Frances, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Duke University. “This is a public health experiment on millions of kids.”

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  1. SuperSub says:

    And here I just read a report this morning about the development of the “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo” disorder and attempts to include it in the DSM… major symptoms include daydreaming and wandering minds.
    Of course, pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly is already maneuvering their current ADHD drug into place to treat SCT if (when?) it is formally recognized.

  2. Richard Aubrey says:

    This is where I would be really, really assertive about opting out.
    If the State had an argument with that, then they should send their old men, the childless and the single.

  3. cranberry says:

    Daydreaming is healthy.

    This attempt by the pharmaceutical industry to earn profits from healthy, normal children must stop.

  4. Schools are complicit in the problem. Too many of the edworld’s most cherished instructional practices are boy-unfriendly. There’s too much groupwork (run by the most socially adept = girls), too much focus on feelings and artsy projects, too much chick-lit and too little adventure, battles and epics, too little competition, too little direct instruction (leaving kids to guess at what the teacher wants= not reflective of boys’ viewpoint), too little recess and TOO LITTLE HOMOGENEOUS GROUPING (especially at the top end; advanced kids are ignored).