- ADHD is ‘an economic and cultural plague than a medical one’
- Diagnosis and treatment rates are soaring compared to five years ago
- Experts said five key trends have contributed to ADHD growth
- Pharmaceutical companies lobby for drug treatment for the condition
- Support groups often work with pharmaceutical companies
- Treatment of ADHD with talking therapies has eroded in favour of drugs
- U.S. guidelines with low thresholds for ADHD diagnosis has been adopted
- Web use makes self-diagnosis easy and people pester doctor for drugs
The global surge in ADHD diagnosis has more to do with marketing than medicine, according to experts.
Diagnosis rates and prescriptions of stimulant drugs are soaring compared with five years ago, but experts say ADHD is ‘more of an economic and cultural plague than a medical one’.
After examining the growth of ADHA in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Brazil, they concluded there are five trends which contribute to its growth.
The global surge in ADHD diagnosis and treatment with drugs has more to do with marketing than medicine, and in years to come we may regret treating children with drug, experts warn in a paper (file pic)
They blame the rise on lobbying from drug companies, who have spurred some countries to relax the restrictions put on stimulants like Ritalin, the most well-known drug used to treat ADHD.
Psychoanalytic treatment of the condition, usually with talking therapies, is slowly being eroded in favour of treating the problem with drugs, they said.
More psychologists and psychiatrists are now adopting the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) standards, which are broader and have a lower threshold for diagnosing ADHD, they added.
There has also been a rise in vocal advocacy and support groups for the condition, who often work closely with pharmaceutical companies to promote treatment with drugs.
Lastly, the rise in internet use makes finding information on the condition, and diagnosing oneself, easy. This prompts people to ask their doctor for drug treatment, they said.
ADHD is a group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
HOW TAKING RITALIN CAN CAUSE LONG-LASTING DANGEROUS ERECTION (EVEN IN KIDS)
Use of the extremely common ADHD medication Ritalin can cause dangerously long-lasting, unwanted erections with long-term use.
The Food and Drug Administration said it has updated its advice on Ritalin to include a warning about priapism, a condition that can permanently damage a patient’s penis.
The stimulant drug in Ritalin, methylphenidate, is also found in the brand names Daytrana and Concerta–an extended release version often prescribed to adutls–among many others.
The agency warned people to talk to their doctors before halting the drugs and said priapism has only occurred from use of methylphenidate in rare cases.
It has come under much controversy in recent years, with some health professionals voicing concerns that diagnosing such a cluster of symptoms as one overarching disease means we are medicalising normal human behaviour.
In the paper, researchers cited websites promoting ADHD drugs, offering checklists with questions like ‘Do you fidget a lot?’ , ‘Is it hard yfor you to concentrate?’, ‘Are you disorganised at work and home?’ and ‘Do you start projects and then abandon them?’
Writing in the report, Professor Peter Conrad, of Brandeis University, U.S. said: ‘These checklists turn all kinds of different behaviors into medical problems.’
‘The checklists don’t distinguish what is part of the human condition and what is a disease.’
The researchers said in the U.K., diagnosis of ADHD in school-age children grew from less than one percent in the 1990s to about five per cent today.
In Germany, prescription ADHD drugs rose from 10 million daily doses in 1998 to 53 million in 2008.
Growth in Italy and France has been slower, in part due to those countries’ more restrictive pharmaceutical drug laws. However, researchers said even those nations are now becoming more lax.
In Brazil, a rising number of ADHD advocacy groups, many with close ties to the pharmaceutical industry, are raising awareness of the disorder.
Professor Conrad voiced concerns about the rise of prescription treatment for ADHD, which he believes may be socially constructed.
‘Call it an economic and cultural plague, but not necessarily a medical one.’
Psychoanalytic treatment of the condition, usually with talking therapies, is slowly being eroded in favour of treating the problem with drugs such as the stimulant Ritalin, researchers said
‘There is no pharmacological magic bullet. No drug can account for non-medical factors that may contribute to behavior.
A fidgety student may be responding to the one-size-fits-all compulsory education system, he said, not a flaw in his brain chemistry.
ADHD continues a long history of medicalising behaviors, especially in the U.S., he added.
One example he cited was masturbation, which was considered a disease a century ago. Men and women diagnosed with masturbatory insanity were institutionalised or subjected to surgical treatment.
‘I think we may look back on this time in 50 years and ask, what did we do to these kids?’ Professor Conrad concluded.
The paper was published in the journal Social Science and Medicine.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2841060/Rise-ADHD-cases-marketing-not-medicine-Study-blames-increase-drug-companies-pushy-support-groups-people-self-diagnosing-online.html#ixzz3JXayG6NR