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Research says ADHD greatly over-diagnosed

The report shows the number of kids diagnosed and treated for ADHD has skyrocketed in just over two decades.

In 1990 there were roughly 600,000 prescriptions written for kids said to suffer from ADHD.

That number stands at more than 3.5 million today.

That ranks ADHD as the second most diagnosed long term illness among children, trailing only asthma.

"The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it's not. It's preposterous," Dr. Keith Connors told The New York Times.

Connors is a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University and was himself an early leader in making the diagnosis more mainstream.

But research shows roughly 5% of the population suffers from ADHD while the CDC points out 15% of high school age kids have been diagnosed and treated.

Money seems to be one of the main culprits.

Drug companies have targeted parents with ads that promise better grades and less acting out if kids are treated.

Some have gone to celebrity endorsements and even teachers to give their product more impact.

At least two parents in Seattle confirm they were convinced by educators put their kids on Ritalin for 3 years.

It turns out those teachers had been sent materials from Ciba, the drug company that makes the medication.

"I definitely felt seduced and enticed," one father began. "I’d say baited."

Many doctors argue that patients with true ADHD are greatly helped by the drugs but others believe they are often given too quickly.

Shire Pharmaceuticals makes one of the best selling ADHD drugs on the market, Adderall.

The man who runs that division, Tom Casola, says his company is thinking only of the public’s health.

We are a commercial organization trying to bring health care treatments to patients,” Mr. Casola promised. “I think, on balance, we are helping people.”

Read the entire article here.

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