Diagnosed With ADHD? You May Have Been Sold a Lie
Drug companies target parents through false advertising: report
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2013 4:05 PM CST
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has itself become hyperactive, with doctors handing out too many pills, ads creating unrealistic expectations, and drug companies downplaying side effects like insomnia and mood swings, the New York Times reports. "The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it's not. It's preposterous," said Keith Conners, a doctor who once led the charge to legitimize ADHD. "This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels." Among the Times' findings:

  • Scientists estimate that real ADHD affects around 5% of children, but the CDC says that 15% of high schoolers have been diagnosed, and the number of children on ADHD drugs has risen from 600,000 in 1990 to 3.5 million today. So what's driving the diagnoses?
  • Millions are spent on ads, some targeted directly at children or parents, saying that ADHD drugs like Adderall will improve performance in school and even inspire kids to take out the garbage. The FDA has repeatedly told drug companies to withdraw such ads, and one company, Shire, agreed this year to pay $57.5 million in fines for improper advertising and sales of drugs.
  • Drug companies also target parents through sources that seem independent, like teachers and support groups. Two parents near Seattle put their child on Ritalin for 3 years because teachers—who had received materials from the drug company Ciba—pushed them into it. "I definitely felt seduced and enticed," said the father. "I’d say baited."
  • You'll hear that ADHD is a lifelong condition, but at least some doctors who say so are on Big Pharma's payroll. And studies show that about half of ADHD kids don't have the disorder as adults. Meanwhile, drug companies are successfully targeting the adult ADHD market.
Click for more, or read about a "provocative" study linking ADHD and crime.

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Showing 3 of 222 comments
Fakeer Namee
Apr 1, 2014 6:39 PM CDT
It is astonishing to me that so many sheepule are willing to buy into the bull of 'ADHD' and that it can be 'controlled' by taking drugs, sigh. Sure there are people who have difficulty focusing, I call them 'you're fired'. You come into this world undisciplined and it is up to your parents to get you started on a journey where 'self-discipline and corresponding accomplishment' come with their own built-in reward: endorphins. If you need to take drugs you are just a druggie. GROW UP ppl.
Ezekiel 25:17
Dec 21, 2013 1:04 PM CST
The more likely cause of raising a hellion is PADD. Parenting ability deficiency disorder.
Michael G. Gingerich
Dec 17, 2013 3:49 PM CST
Please do more due-diligence. Most accepted estimates of the Worldwide incidence of ADHD are closer to 10%. Adult ADHD is a very well established phenomenon. Dr. Conner's remarks are primarily aimed at prescribing physicians who do not follow [accepted] guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. Unbridled American capitalism dictates that big-business follow its profit-seeking-nose. Your story over-emphasizes "the drugs", "the epidemic", and seems to question the reality of ADHD. Not a good public service!