Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education Medicine The Almighty Buck Science

The Business of Attention Deficit Disorder 246

Posted by timothy
from the drug-'em-all-let-god-sort-'em-out dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Alan Schwarz writes in the NYT that the rise of ADHD diagnoses and prescriptions for stimulants over the years have coincided with a remarkably successful two-decade campaign by pharmaceutical companies to publicize the syndrome and promote the pills to doctors, educators and parents. 'The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it's not. It's preposterous,' says Dr. Keith Conners, a psychologist who has led the fight to legitimize attention deficit hyperactivity disorder for more than fifty years. Few dispute that classic ADHD, historically estimated to affect 5 percent of children, is a legitimate disability that impedes success at school, work and personal life. But recent data from the CDC show that the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990." (Read on for more.)
"Behind that growth has been drug company marketing that has stretched the image of classic ADHD to include relatively normal behavior like carelessness and impatience, and has often overstated the pills' benefits. Advertising on television and in popular magazines like People and Good Housekeeping has cast common childhood forgetfulness and poor grades as grounds for medication that, among other benefits, can result in 'schoolwork that matches his intelligence' and ease family tension. The FDA has cited every major ADHD drug — stimulants like Adderall, Concerta, Focalin and Vyvanse, and nonstimulants like Intuniv and Strattera — for false and misleading advertising since 2000, some multiple times. And although many doctors have portrayed the medications as benign — 'safer than aspirin,' some say — they can have significant side effects and are regulated in the same class as morphine and oxycodone because of their potential for abuse and addiction. Meanwhile profits for the ADHD drug industry have soared. Sales of stimulant medication in 2012 were nearly $9 billion, more than five times the $1.7 billion a decade before, according to the data company IMS Health. 'This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels,' concludes Conners."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Business of Attention Deficit Disorder

Comments Filter:
  • first... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:11AM (#45702683)

    Wait... what was I doing?

  • Business Plan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:13AM (#45702697)

    The pharmaceutical industry won't be happy until everyone is on a handful of medications. One that supposedly "cures what ails you" and the rest to address the many side effects of the other drugs.

    Get 'em early. Get 'em hooked. Get 'em for life.

    • Re:Business Plan (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:20AM (#45702731) Homepage

      Not "cures", but "treats". You pay for a cure once. You keep paying for treatment for the rest of your life.

      • Exactly. Pharma doesn't want to cure any damned thing. They want us to be hooked on their (supposed) treatments of symptoms.

        We all need to develop an aversion to drugs. "Just say NO" to everything - legal or otherwise.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      Seems like everyone is on some kind of happy/dopy drug these days. And, is it me, or has the workplace changed significantly as a result? Seems like way too many people are walking around today smiling and happy all the time for no fucking reason. Not that I'm a grinch or anything, but it seems like a "positive attitude" these days has lost its classical meaning of a "can-do attitude" and has taken on more the flavor of a "happy, happy all the time" attitude. I'm starting to feel like a freak for not walkin

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by g0bshiTe (596213)
        I fully agree with you, and you aren't alone. In my immediate family not one of us takes anything outside of aspirin or multivitamins, unless absolutely necessary.

        30 years ago there was no ADD, or ADHD you were considered hyper, no medication needed just lower his sugar intake and keep him away from sodas. Today, not so much. Seems like all my daughters friends are ADHD or on some type of med for something.

        I quote Lazyboy

        "how do I get that disease, it comes with a hot chick and a puppy".

        • and cut out red dye #2.

          • Uh-huh - a lot of independent research suggests that food colorings and preservatives either cause or affect ADD and similar problems.

        • Re:Business Plan (Score:5, Interesting)

          by JMJimmy (2036122) on Monday December 16, 2013 @12:58PM (#45704835)

          ADHD is very real and can be easily diagnosed with a brain scan but that's too expensive to actually do (thought patterns are radically different from the norm).

          There are two main types, ADHD-Hyperactive which is when the middle strip of the brain grows faster than the rest. This is the excitement centre of the brain. There are various theories from lead to gut bacteria as the cause but in the end, most people can/do grow out of the serious effects of it because the rest of their brain eventually catches up. The second type is ADHD-Inattentive (aka ADD). This is genetic and is a serious condition. Far far fewer are diagnosed with this version (3 in 10 diagnosed) In addition to structural differences in the brain it prevents the executive centre of the brain from properly communicating with the with the memory centre (among other things). This may not seem like such a big deal until you consider our society: The executive centre of the brain controls task/time management which includes everything from getting dressed in the morning to getting work done so you can keep the job that supports you. Active memory recall? All but gone. People with this disorder can remember things, just usually not when they want to let alone need to. All that schooling is in there, just not accessible on a test or in the workplace without reminders to jump-start the process of remembering.

          Stimulants help like you wouldn't believe. They don't cure because there is far too little known and because there's a genetic component it's very difficult to "cure". When I forget to take my pill/run out - people notice right away. They'll ask me if I'm hungover or if I need to go to the hospital. Part of that is the stim withdrawal, part is just the norm for ADHD-I. The reason the profits have soared is not just because of diagnosis rates it's because a patent was granted for Concerta, a time release version of Ritalin. At up to $4/pill it was crazy expensive but the alternative was having to take 3-4 pills a day with Ritalin... a task which isn't "easy" to accomplish for ADHD-I types.

          I'll grant you that there are millions more diagnosed than probably need to be but that just makes it harder for those who are legitimately diagnosed.

          • Re:Business Plan (Score:4, Interesting)

            by dj_super_dude (86692) on Monday December 16, 2013 @06:50PM (#45708885)

            I was diagnosed a few years back (I'm in my early 30's now, so around 29ish) with ADHD-Innatentive and to be honest I was very sceptical (not to mention my family or other people I told). I had been battling with depression since my teens, and after going through a great deal of different medications I saw another PDoc.

            He explained to me about research (sorry I don't have the citations needed) which talked about the inatentive form of ADHD being linked with some kinds of anxiety and depression. In my case past medical help had been treating only part of the whole, and suggested we try treating the ADHD as well.

            The diagnosis (well the treatment) really changed my life - it gave it back to me and you really can't put a price on that. I will have to take medication for the rest of my life unless some major breakthrough happens, which isn't beyond the realms, but should that breakthrough not happen so be it - I have finally found something which works for me, and I'm happy.

            • by JMJimmy (2036122)

              I had a very similar situation. The anxiety link is actually related to the lack of filtering going on in the brain. Ever find you overshare or have a hard time keeping secrets or just blurt something out at work without thinking about the consequences? Same happens with incoming stresses - the brain can't filter out the stresses of day to day life so the simple things most people dismiss or overcome tend to be in your face anxiety instead. Depression is very common, as is ODD (again, likely due to lack

        • by ai4px (1244212)
          The schools encourage it since they get money for children with disabilities. Some disabilities cost a lot of money to accomodate, some like ADD don't cost much at all. My favorite "low budget" accommodation is giving a child more time to take a standardized test. Yes, that test which makes the school sink or swim according to NCLB.
        • by Smauler (915644)

          30 years ago there was no ADD, or ADHD you were considered hyper, no medication needed just lower his sugar intake and keep him away from sodas.

          All scientific evidence seems to show there is no link between sugar and hyperactivity in children.... most people who are told this, however, simply refuse to believe it.

        • Correction. Hyperactivity was treated with - uhhh - dammit - can't remember the name of the drug right now. The stuff was basically a tranquilizer, it made the kids into dopey zombies, lethargic little turds. Still thinking, resorting to Google - - -

          This page says benzedrine, but that's not the trade name with which I am (was) familiar. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3000907/ [nih.gov]

          From this page, I recognize adderal and ritalin, but that's not what I'm searching for. http://www.webmd.com/add- [webmd.com]

      • by plopez (54068) on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:23AM (#45703833) Journal

        way too many people are walking around today smiling and happy all the time for no fucking reason
        Well where I live marijuana legalization explains it...

      • by pnutjam (523990)
        I have only been in the workforce for about 15 years, but I don't see your false happiness.
        I see a lot of people who complain about chronic pains or anxieties that they are forced to medicate. With some people it seems like a contest to see who is the most medicated. I also see many people having surgeries or other procedures that seem designed to give them access to pain medications.
      • by ai4px (1244212)

        Seems like everyone is on some kind of happy/dopy drug these days. And, is it me, or has the workplace changed significantly as a result? Seems like way too many people are walking around today smiling and happy all the time for no fucking reason.

        It's like we don't have any crummugeons any more! Get off my lawn!

  • TED talk (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:18AM (#45702717)

    See also https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html [ted.com] . Watching that video will be one of the best 20 minutes you've ever spent.

  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:18AM (#45702721)
    The ACA is something, and something is better than nothing, but the medical industry is saturated with greed and gouging. Take the obscene profits out of medical care and there is no incentive for mass misdiagnosis.
    • by BVis (267028)

      Agreed. Outlawing for-profit insurers/providers isn't a magic bullet but it's a good step, it would save something like 25 cents on the dollar.

      • by Connie_Lingus (317691) on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:50AM (#45702895) Homepage

        lol...how clueless.

        "non-profit" hospitals abound in the U.S, yet they still charge almost the exact same rates as your evil "for-profit" ones. They all use a pricing sheet called the "chargemaster" that they guard zealously.

        non-profits still have to pay salaries to retain talent, pay utilities etc etc.

        "No wonder MD Anderson’s operating profit in 2010 was $531 million on revenues of $2.05 billion. That’s a 26-percent profit margin, unheard of in any service industry other than hospitals. Being a “non-profit” organization, it pays no income taxes." http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/08/01/why-non-profit-hospitals-are-so-profitable/ [commentarymagazine.com]

        the "non-profit" tag is pretty much nothing but a "feel-good" marketing gimmick to assuage socialistic-types.

        • by BVis (267028)

          This is unfortunately true. What I said was a simplification, that would have included the scenarios you describe.

          I noticed how you didn't say anything about the for-profit insurers, though, who would rather not do business with someone than spend 85 cents on the dollar on actual healthcare.

        • The "nonprofit" label is abused as often as disability and workmen's compensation programs. If you didn't have the churches wrapped up in there, there might be a chance of getting the designation reviewed. As it stands now, it is a shield against taxation any qualifying entity would be fool to give up.
        • In contrast, other non-profit (public) hospitals, like Grady in Georgia, make the news [clatl.com] when they manage to break even!

        • You are missing some important details that add even further to the bigger idea of what is actually going on at these organizations.

          Non-Profits can often have a board and investors that benefit greatly from profits as well, but to a government this distinction is awarded based on either donations to charity or proof that money spent is going to charitable good. Healthcare systems exploit this by totaling up all of the unpaid medical care that they have given out to poor and uninsured people who happen to s

          • by mythosaz (572040)

            These amounts are put on the books as "charitable good" that they give to the community when the fact of the matter is they are obligated by law and ethics to not turn away people in need of immediate medical care.

            So that money they would have written off as a business loss anyway on the taxes they otherwise would still have to pay on the already handsome profits they turn year after. They meet this percentage of total revenue requirement for charitable good and they retain their privileged tax free status operating in pretty much exactly the same way as a for profit corporation.

            Except for the obvious difference in that they have no shareholders, and aren't operating for profit.

            Yes, no-pay/under-pay is the big "charity" write-off for non-profit hospitals, but the goal of the big ones are all the same - a mission of healing. They can provide care, and cycle profits back into that care without paying shareholders.

            Do their CEO's make money? Sure. ...but they aren't making any more than the Jones do at the neighboring for-profit hospital.

        • "non-profit" hospitals abound in the U.S, yet they still charge almost the exact same rates as your evil "for-profit" ones.

          Non-profit doesn't mean the organization does not intend to make a profit. It means the organization does not pay the profit out to shareholders but instead are obligated to plow them back into furthering the goals of the organization.

          That’s a 26-percent profit margin, unheard of in any service industry other than hospitals.

          The typical operating profit margin for hospitals [yardeni.com] is quite a bit lower that that - more like 3%. If those numbers you cited are accurate they are an exceptional performance compared to most. You see 25%+ profit margins in biotech and pharmaceuticals but margins for health c

        • lol...how clueless.

          "non-profit" hospitals abound in the U.S, yet they still charge almost the exact same rates as your evil "for-profit" ones. They all use a pricing sheet called the "chargemaster" that they guard zealously.

          For the most part the third-party payers have a list of Usual and Customary Charges and it's the average what caregiver's charge for the regon and class of providers, Medicaid pays about 60%, most other commercial insurances pay 80%; the Hospital figures out what they want to be paid, and devides that by their re-imbursement rate and charges that amount. What they charge is higher than what they will be paid, (on purpose) and they writeoff the difference if the accept your insurance. This gives the caregive

    • >>> The ACA is something, and something is better than nothing,
      Rabies is something, and something is better than nothing,

      >>> but the medical industry is saturated with greed and gouging. Take the obscene profits out of medical care and there is no incentive for mass misdiagnosis.

      ...but the [fill-in-the-blank but-especially-poltics] is saturated with greed and gouging. Take the obscene profits out of politics and there is no incentive for mass corruption.

      Fixed that for you. You think Big

      • Sure enough. Baby steps though... perhaps we could get the masses equal access to decent medical care before this protracted exercise you suggest.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Curunir_wolf (588405)

          perhaps we could get the masses equal access to decent medical care

          There is no such thing outside of totalitarian regimes like North Korea. Even in communist China different people get vastly different quality of health care. And the attempts to control medical care by the federal government is doing nothing but leading to efforts like Medical VIP clubs [mdvip.com] where all the good doctors are taking care of well-to-do patients that can afford to pay a little extra. It hasn't helped to equalize health care at all, in fact it will only increase the disparity.

          What's needed is less

          • by pnutjam (523990)
            Have you tried shopping around for non-trauma care? I have, it's neigh impossible. You can easily spend an hour finding the best price for a medication. You can spend days pricing out a procedure. It's true that part of this is due to lack of incentives. Some places will flat out refuse to quote you a price, and you can bet the ones who do quote you do not consider it binding. They can sprinkle some different meds and have a couple extra doctors glance at your chart to double your bill.

            Insurance is a great
          • What's needed is less government intervention and more people shopping for normal health care to help drive down the costs.

            That is nothing more than bald ideological nonsense in soundbite form with no actual details. The government HAS to be involved in medical care because the normal market forces do not work especially well. People are buying a product they don't understand well, from vendors who are very sophisticated, where it is typically paid for by someone else (insurance usually), and for which the customer (us) is in a very poor negotiating position (pay up or suffer/die). EVERYONE consumes health care and the only

    • The ACA is something, and something is better than nothing

      Ah, the Policitian's Fallacy in full flower. "Something must be done. This is something. Therefore we must do it."

    • by Wycliffe (116160)

      The ACA is something, and something is better than nothing, but the medical industry is saturated with greed and gouging. Take the obscene profits out of medical care and there is no incentive for mass misdiagnosis.

      The only thing that obscene profits do is allow for bigger risk taking and drive the prices up. If there is any profit at all then there will always
      be an incentive for mass misdiagnosis. What we really need to do is shift the incentives. For instance researching new antibiotics is currently
      unprofitable because people only take antibiotics for a week or two likewise with diseases that mostly affect the 3rd world. So right now the
      most profitable research is research into 1st world diseases that require on

      • Sorry, no. While no apologist for the slimy money fest that is Big Pharma, sometimes the reason we don't have new things is because research is hard. Pharma has spent billions of dollars researching new antibiotics / antivirals / antifungals. It's just that they haven't found much. And yes, they love diseases like ADHD because it can be very lucrative (chronic, common) - but they have other irons in the fire.

        If you would read TFA, you would see that ADHD drugs were really discovered serendipitously - th

    • The ACA is something, and something is better than nothing

      Did anybody else hear this in the voice of Veronica from Better Off Ted?

      Veridian Dynamics: We're something, which is better.

    • The ACA is something, and something is better than nothing,

      That is the logic behind the ACA, but unfortunately the end-result could be that more people end up uninsured and the ones who are insured have more expensive insurance.

      "something is better than nothing" is a lousy reason to support something; do the hard work and find something that actually is better.

  • What is it then? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617)

    Is it big pharma pushing doctors to prescribe more? Is it doctors too lazy/busy to do a proper diagnosis? Is it mothers, fathers and teachers who seek to explain bad behavior and poor discipline (which is largely their fault) on medical conditions? Is it our foods which have changed over to GMO based content over the same period of time?

    I don't know, but I certainly want to know.

    In the mean time, I tend to stick to basic foods to avoid as much problem as I can. Most dinners consist of salad and some kin

    • 1-3: Yes to varying extents. 4: No idea.

      Not that I'm claiming genuine knowledge, it's more the general perception I have determined over time.

    • by will_die (586523)
      Well kind of.
      This was originally brought up as a problem 20 years ago, give or a take a few years; ADD, a substype of ADHD, was commonly used.
      At that time it was teachers and schools pushing it and it is still is, if the kid was causing distruptions it was a standard solution to get the kid on a pill.
      Companies are just responding to the need. Companies are coming up with better drugs with less side affects or are cheaper or better in other ways. Since they now have this better drug they are putting o
    • by jellomizer (103300) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:07AM (#45703011)

      Is it big pharma pushing doctors to prescribe more? Most likely, there are so many regulations and public pressure to lower the costs of their drugs, so they will make up the difference with increase volume. I mean we have TV adds full of commercials pushing superscription medicine, even if 80% of the commercial is about the side effects, to cure a minor condition.

      Is it doctors too lazy/busy to do a proper diagnosis? Lazy, no. Over worked yes. In an attempt to try to get health care cheaper doctors usually take the brunt of the cost cuttings, insurance companies pressuring them to lower their rates, so they make it up by double/triple booking patients. Because they cannot afford to see 12 patients a day at 45 minutes apiece.

      Is it mothers, fathers and teachers who seek to explain bad behavior and poor discipline (which is largely their fault) on medical conditions? Not necessarily their fault, society has changed the role of the traditional family. With both parents working full time, or a single parent family the norm, it makes it quite difficult to raise their children. Teachers have their hands tied behind their back on what they can do to discipline children. Then you combine media fear about strangers wandering suburban streets waiting to abduct your child, so they try to keep them safe by locking them indoors where they can only play indoor, without burning off the energy that kids have. Then if you kid is allowed outside and gets hurt or worse caused an other kid to get hurt, you are under pressure to explain yourself.

      We have gotten to litigious in many areas, while the intent is honorable, it creates side effects much like the drugs do, that is sometimes worse then the cure they are trying to fix.

      You can jump up and down and complain how greedy these people are, but that is the problem if you take people/corporations in the Macro sense, their main trends will be following going towards greed. However each individual has virtues too, however they are quite varied, and tends to get washed out when you calculate the overall trend.

       

  • by Unloaded (716598) on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:30AM (#45702775)
    ...aside from the big push by the drug companies is that they allow family doctors to diagnose ADHD and prescribe the meds at all. The docs, parents, and teachers get handed a checklist and if the kid (or adult) meets a certain number of criteria on the checklist then they're told meds are the answer. Some doctors who work for the big PPOs and HMOs are expected to see 6 or more patients an hour so they are taught to rely on the checklists to give them answers. Sometimes it comes down to the fact that a few parents and teachers have lost the ability to set and hold limits with their kids. Sometimes a kid is just being a brat. I'm simplifying so I'm hoping someone can expand on my idea more, but ADHD is serious and needs to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist. Attention problems and hyperactivity can be symptoms of things other than ADHD too.
    • by ohieaux (2860669) on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:44AM (#45702859)
      Meds are not always the answer and a child psychiatrist is the best person to know. We had our son tested twice (3 years between). The first was borderline. We saw no improvement and after more discussions with the school (attention and not behavior issues) we had him tested again. These were real tests that took hours, over several days. He scored high and received the diagnosis. But, they didn't want to try meds at first.

      We met with the school (teachers and school psychologist). A plan was devised and it seems to be working. He gets a break to walk around, occasionally, and some extra time on some tests. I'm much happier that the school was able to make a couple of accommodations, and the teachers are happier to have one less zombie in the classroom.
      • by pnutjam (523990)
        That sounds like a lot of work...

        -said most parents who then proceeded to medicate their kids.

        But don't worry, their kids were really serious problem. They need this medication to make their lives better.

        Meanwhile their kids goes to after school care, gets picked up and shuttled to some activity with a snack. Sometimes a second after school activity. Then a late dinner at 8:30 or 9pm. Has to do homework. Might got to bed sometime between 10:00 and 11:30. Gets up a 5:30 to get dropped off on the way to w
        • by mdielmann (514750)

          Clearly you didn't read what the previous submitter was saying. Sure, depending on where you are on the scale you might be able to get away without medication. But some of the issues you're describing are results of ADD, not causes. It's like blaming the limp for your broken leg.

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        We met with the school (teachers and school psychologist). A plan was devised and it seems to be working.

        I will point out that poorer families and minority families generally have less education and are less able to advocate for their children.
        This results in cookie cutter solutions for their kids (like stimulant medication) when other less drastic solutions should be tried first.

        /I'm not making any assumptions about your race or socioeconomic status.

    • by 0racle (667029)

      they allow family doctors to diagnose ADHD and prescribe the meds at all

      You wouldn't think about going to a psychiatrist to get a flu shot or cholesterol medication yet we are perfectly happy to go to any other doctor for psychiatric medication.

      They're not qualified but they won't stop given their own egos and people won't see a psychiatrist when they should between the stigma associated with it and issues with insurance.

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:34AM (#45702797)

    I did a quick search to see how many children there are in the United State. The first number I found was 74 million [childstats.gov] (total of all children under 18, as of 2013).

    5% of 74 million is 3.7 million. Since I doubt they are giving Ritalin to toddlers (yet), this estimated number of children with ADHD is amazing close to the number who are on a prescription.

    In other words, those are probably not two independently-derived numbers. They're one. There is no independent estimate of what percentage of kids have ADHD: there's only a count of how many are on the meds. This is a classic trick from _How to Lie with Statistics_: when you don't have the number you want (how many kids actually have ADHD), use the number you have (how many are on the meds) and pretend there is no distinction.

    This has the side effect of "showing" (with numbers!) that the diagnostic methods for ADHD are nearly perfect. By circular logic, QED.

  • an under-informed patient"

    (or something to that effect)

    Apologies to Dr Knock.

  • American Culture? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by goruka (1721094) on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:53AM (#45702901)
    I'm not american, lived and visited several parts of the world. Love to talk and fit in with the locals and socialize.
    Of course it's all anecdotal, but I'm pretty sure that something odd is going on in American culture. The times i've been there I couldn't help but finding amazing how such large parts of the population take behavioral related medication. I mean, even most TV commercials I saw were for anti depressants, or even complenents to them.

    But it's not the medication itself what caught my attention but how people itself claims to be unwell, not feeling like what people should feel or not behaving as people should behave. It's as if there was some sort of strong "need to be normal" or "need to be well" (whathever tha means), and that not being like that is not fitting in society.

    It's not that where I am from (South America) people won't get depressed or have panic attacks, but you see such symptoms by far much, much less often. It's not misdiagnose either or that people chooses to put up with it instead of taking medication , I mean, it's very clear when someone is going through depression. In contrast, people here are more "unpolite", intimate,cares less about rules and socialize a lot more. I'm sure there has to be a relationship somehow, but I am no expert on the matter. As I said, it's just what I see, but I can't connect the dots.

    So, I think that even if pharmaceutical companies capitalize on this stuff, I'm not that sure they created the situation, I believe it's more akin to a side-effect.
    • Re:American Culture? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Nyder (754090) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:14AM (#45703093) Journal

      I'm not american, lived and visited several parts of the world. Love to talk and fit in with the locals and socialize.

      Of course it's all anecdotal, but I'm pretty sure that something odd is going on in American culture. The times i've been there I couldn't help but finding amazing how such large parts of the population take behavioral related medication. I mean, even most TV commercials I saw were for anti depressants, or even complenents to them.

      But it's not the medication itself what caught my attention but how people itself claims to be unwell, not feeling like what people should feel or not behaving as people should behave. It's as if there was some sort of strong "need to be normal" or "need to be well" (whathever tha means), and that not being like that is not fitting in society.

      It's not that where I am from (South America) people won't get depressed or have panic attacks, but you see such symptoms by far much, much less often. It's not misdiagnose either or that people chooses to put up with it instead of taking medication , I mean, it's very clear when someone is going through depression. In contrast, people here are more "unpolite", intimate,cares less about rules and socialize a lot more. I'm sure there has to be a relationship somehow, but I am no expert on the matter. As I said, it's just what I see, but I can't connect the dots.

      So, I think that even if pharmaceutical companies capitalize on this stuff, I'm not that sure they created the situation, I believe it's more akin to a side-effect.

      Being a depressed person and having to take medication, I find that my life is way better taking the anti-depression meds then not. Of course, it took 10 or so years to find the meds that work best for me and i've spent most my life not on them, but in the last 5 or so years I've been the most mentally level I have ever been in my life.

      Sure, drug companies make money by selling drugs and they want to sell as much drugs as they can, if needed or not. But that doesn't change the fact that most of the drugs they sell do have problems they address & help.

      I also have ADHD, which didn't get diagnosed until later in my life (also), and no one seemed to care growing up. But I'm not really down with taking speed for it, and really giving speed to kids is really stupid. I mean, they made laws against selling drugs around schools, yet they prescribed them a class a speed that is way better then any meth they could get.

      Stuff like this is why there is no such things as a "free market" and why there needs to regulations. Mainly drug reps paying doctors to prescribe their drugs.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      I'm not american, lived and visited several parts of the world. Love to talk and fit in with the locals and socialize.

      Of course it's all anecdotal, but I'm pretty sure that something odd is going on in American culture. The times i've been there I couldn't help but finding amazing how such large parts of the population take behavioral related medication. I mean, even most TV commercials I saw were for anti depressants, or even complenents to them.

      I'm surprised you're not surprised by seeing these commercials on TV.

      I've never seen a commercial for anything stronger than basic over-the-counter medication. In most countries that's simply illegal.

      I'd be really surprised if there would be commercials touting meds you can only get on a doctor's prescription. Advertising shouldn't even be an issue for those; the doctor is supposed to know about them and know what they do, so they can prescribe it to their patients when the need is there. But with those com

    • Re:American Culture? (Score:5, Informative)

      by swb (14022) on Monday December 16, 2013 @01:33PM (#45705235)

      I think there's a bunch of interrelated issues in American culture, many tied to economics.

      Parents want to their kids to be successful, and the general theory on this is that you have to do well in school early so that you can get into the right college so you can get the right degree so you can get a good job.

      I think this leads to relentless pressure on kids, especially boys, to be "perfect" in school. Deviation from this leads parents to wonder what's wrong, when, in fact, what's wrong may be "he's an 8 year old boy." Parents believe and our culture does everything to reinforce the idea that if you screw up early you won't make it into the right schools, activities, college, etc. There's no room for error, no room to be an 8 year old boy for whom its perfectly normal to have a ton of physical energy and not a lot of focus on sit-still studies.

      The educational system, especially in urban areas. There's this relentless focus on "the achievement gap" -- mostly blacks, but often including hispanics, not achieving the same test scores, grades, etc. as other students, mostly whites (although you could include Asians, they often outscore whites).

      Fighting the "achievement gap" has led to two things. One, more testing and more focus on elementary education test scores, which has led to more intensive focus on reading and writing, which is challenging for all boys of elementary school age. We've taken something hard for young boys and kind of made it harder for them.

      The second thing is that schools have tried to become social welfare delivery mechanisms. It's beyond obvious that the MAIN reason low-income blacks do poorly in schools is the absolute train wreck of urban black culture -- broken families, incarcerated parents, dangerous, crime-ridden neighborhoods. School districts can't solve this but they have devoted a lot of resources to it -- social workers, free meals, all kinds of social benefits to overcome the insurmountable problems when mom is on welfare or underemployed, dad is in jail or unknown, the neighborhood is a war zone, etc.

      This well-intentioned but myopic attempt to solve the insoluble has led to schools losing their focus on kids generally, especially boys, as well as causing them to burn a lot of resources that could be better spent on programs that boys find engaging even though they might not contribute to the political issue of low test scores for black kids.

      The last thing I'd add in is our culture's relentless, zero-slack atmosphere where everybody has to be plugged in all the time and there's no time for anything but work and more work. I hate it and I think it has a lot to do with why so many people, especially young people, are fucking snapping and going batshit with guns.

      Combine it all together and you have parents terrified that their kid, performing poorly in 2nd or 3rd grade, needs to straighten out NOW or he won't go to college and will wind up poor and destitute.

      It's a crazy conclusion but I tell you as a parent of an 8 year old who was in that same situation it absolutely flashes through your mind. My son was basically refusing to do assignments in class and when he did do them doing a very slapdash job, yet was scoring so high on standardized test we got a letter from the district that said he was in their "gifted" category! Of course we did everything we could (pediatric ADHD screening is an absolute joke, they don't even white-out that the screening questionnaire is made by the drug company) and went all out for a neuropsychiatric evaluation that basically said "Your son is really high IQ, school bores him and the tasks he does poorly on are really pretty poorly matched to 8 year old boys. He doesn't need ADHD meds." I'm glad we spent the money to basically learn the obvious because from a pediatrician perspective we could have easily been talked into meds, although even on the drug company ADHD screener we were iffy in terms of ADHD.

  • by fldsofglry (2754803) on Monday December 16, 2013 @09:53AM (#45702903)

    I can't help agree with a poster above, who recommended the Ken Robinson video.

    I also wanted to add that I think the way that our modern education system works has a lot to do with parents seeking a diagnosis for little Bobby "who just can't sit still".

    I used to work in the environmental education field for quite a few years. I can say that I loved to have kids with "ADHD" in my group, because they were the ones turning over rocks and logs and activity searching for things. What is seen as a detriment in one setting, seemed to be an advantage in another setting.

    An interesting thing to note is often how I would find out about their conditions. Since I did do some work at overnight facilities, I would sometimes would be told ahead of time medications and conditions a child had. But most of the time, I found out about it by a teacher saying something like: You know, so-and-so has a ADD/ADHD and he is just doing SO well out here.

    • by jlowery (47102)

      This. Is this a 'disorder' of the individual or of the society? I think it's the later. Schools seem to be the indoctrination center for factory/office work, where sitting in one place for long periods and focusing on one task is economically beneficial (more so to the corporation than the person). But we're not all built like that. Some of us are explorers, some synthesizers of ideas, some creative and constructive. Yet we're all expected to behave like office drones when in school. And many of us g

  • by ClassicASP (1791116) on Monday December 16, 2013 @10:05AM (#45702987)
    I have ADD myself, and I take meds to treat it. I can honestly say that I make smarter decisions when on my medications. I focus better, get things done, my social life improves, and I'm just generally better at living. And when I reflect back on days when I was not on my meds, I often just shake my head at myself in embarassment for all the dumb things I did that day. So glad to have a treatment. I think before ADD was clinically diagnosed, people were just called "less intelligent". And who wants to be dumb? Certainly not me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DogDude (805747)
      I can honestly say that I make smarter decisions when on my medications. I focus better, get things done, my social life improves, and I'm just generally better at living.

      Yes, speed has that effect on almost everybody.
      • by swillden (191260)

        I can honestly say that I make smarter decisions when on my medications. I focus better, get things done, my social life improves, and I'm just generally better at living.

        Yes, speed has that effect on almost everybody.

        To a degree, this is absolutely true. If you take a bunch people who don't have AD(H)D and give them the medications, you generally will see a modest improvement in cognitive tests that benefit from improved focus. This is why there is a black market in ADD meds in universities, because they really do help people do better on tests.

        But that in no way detracts from the fact that for people with the disorder, it's like flipping a switch. For them, it's not an incremental improvement, but a huge change in b

  • ADD? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xenobyte (446878)

    Adult Discipline Deficiency... a better de-acronymization. Way too many diagnosed with ADD don't need medication, they just need boundaries and discipline.

    • A big part of the problem is how some teachers jump to conclusions. I have had teachers try to diagnose and put pressure on me to have my sons medicated at various times for ADD/ADHD but they are not doctors.

      Most recently it was a history teacher who claims to ""have experience working with kids that have ADD"". After his history teacher interrupted me multiple times, refused to listen, and acted like a condescending jerk {no mystery what's going on here}, I was glad to find the rest of my son's teachers th

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:00AM (#45703591)

    I've got ADD. I was diagnosed with it in 5th grade. My parents refused medications and instead demanded the school address it via teaching techniques. Right or wrong that decision lead to me being who I am. They used to tell me in my special ed class that I was the only one in there that actually had ADD, the rest were just lazy. lol. It does bother me how many people I meet that claim to have ADD and clearly do not. Just about everyone self diagnoses themselves with it at a whim. It's not a joke, it's a real and debilitating disease.

    My teachers taught me how to focus despite my disability. Today's shrinks (at least the ones I see) call it "Hyper focus" which has it's pluses and negatives. I can be given a task and plow through it in an almost machine like manner. I could be at a rock concert, it doesn't matter. If the planes going down and you need someone to work on fixing the autopilot before we crash without being distracted by imminent death and everyone screaming, I'm your man. I'd still be stripping wires as we plowed into the ground.

    The downside is, I'm not in many plane crashes or doing work at rock concerts so often. More routinely I'm at my desk focused on some code or SQL, and I miss a fire drill... or someone comes up to me, needs my attention and keeps bugging me until I finally turn around in a rage and say WHAT?!?!?!? then feel very embarrassed. Luckily I've explained my condition and my co-workers understand why it happens. Like any mental health condition it becomes a lot easier to deal with when you have a shrink give you tools that you can teach to those around you. Now my friends and co-workers know there is value in me being a bit off and put up with me getting cranky when torn away from my work. They also tap me on the shoulder for fire alarms now. :-)

    And, I always like to state that being open about mental health issues is good. We need to stop shunning people who have them... We ALL have them.

  • A number of years back I used to dial-surf while driving, and often I'd come across the local Christian (mainstream Protestant really) radio station. One thing I remember noticing was the tremendous number of ads and special segments involving ADD and ADHD diagnoses and treatment for kids.

    Now, in retrospect, it's possible that the station was sponsored in part by some pharma company. But my only guess at the time was that if you were a parent raising your child in as Biblical a way as possible, but your c

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      That must be different biblical communities than those that reject even regular vaccinations, in their attempts to be as religious as possible.

  • ....and she mentioned that they had an elderly woman come in for a doctor's visit.

    As usual, the woman was told to bring her current medications, so they could make sure about what she was taking, cross reactions, etc.

    She came empty handed. The doctor proceeded to gently explain to her (right away) about why it was so important to bring them while the whole time she tried to explain: she doesn't TAKE any meds.

    His reply was an astonished, "At all?"

    Eventually she got through to this (young) doctor that no, de

  • Few dispute that classic ADHD, historically estimated to affect 5 percent of children, is a legitimate disability that impedes success at school, work and personal life. But recent data from the CDC show that the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990."

    According to this [census.gov] census data there are 62.3 million School aged children in the US, Five percent of that is 3.1 Million. The numbers don't seem so far off. Even the 5% may be off as diagnostic criteria changes over time. It may be higher now.

  • I've seen many claim that these medicines are turning kids into zombies. It gets tied with the issue of misdiagnosis.

    My question is... If these medications are stimulants, doesn't "zombification" mean a correct diagnosis which needs a dosage adjustment? After all if the kid doesn't have the problem then wouldn't stimulants make then more active? Coffee calms me down but has the opposite effect on others. Shouldn't it be obvious if a kid is wrongly given stimulants?

  • Kids who now have ADHD used to be called a-bit-of-a-hand-full or vivacious or blustering or some other endearing term. Sure, there were times where you'd get annoyed by the pestering "brutes". But then they would show their unexpected lovable side and everything was fine once more. You"d deal with them and they would with you. Both became better in accepting different characters.
    Nowadays we define norms and anything outside of them will be therapeuted away. I say let kids be without protection that eventual
  • I am 34 and have been on Adderal for about six years now. Being on this medication has had such an improvement on my life that I really wish I had been on it at a much younger age - especially in high school.

    The problem that I have is that ADD/ADHD is that it is a classification of a symptom, but does not define the root cause. I also have dyslexia. After doing research into the characteristics of dyslexia, I believe that is really what my source of ADD symptoms is. What I have found is that I need to be

If God is perfect, why did He create discontinuous functions?

Working...