Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The rate is 20% among boys aged 14-17.
These rates reflect a marked rise over the last decade and could fuel growing concern among many doctors that the A.D.H.D. diagnosis and its medication are overused in American children.
The figures showed that an estimated 6.4 million children ages 4 through 17 had received an A.D.H.D. diagnosis at some point in their lives, a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 41 percent rise in the past decade. About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which can drastically improve the lives of those with A.D.H.D. but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis.Maybe ADHD is described that way, but no one has even been able to link it to abnormal chemical levels in the brain.
“Those are astronomical numbers. I’m floored,” said Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. He added, “Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy.”
And even more teenagers are likely to be prescribed medication in the near future because the American Psychiatric Association plans to change the definition of A.D.H.D. to allow more people to receive the diagnosis and treatment. A.D.H.D. is described by most experts as resulting from abnormal chemical levels in the brain that impair a person’s impulse control and attention skills.
A.D.H.D. has historically been estimated to affect 3 to 7 percent of children. The disorder has no definitive test and is determined only by speaking extensively with patients, parents and teachers, and ruling out other possible causes — a subjective process that is often skipped under time constraints and pressure from parents. It is considered a chronic condition that is often carried into adulthood.Of course the experts will claim that they somehow have the ability to give the right drugs to the right people, but the evidence is that they cannot.
The C.D.C. director, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, likened the rising rates of stimulant prescriptions among children to the overuse of pain medications and antibiotics in adults.
“We need to ensure balance,” Dr. Frieden said. “The right medications for A.D.H.D., given to the right people, can make a huge difference. Unfortunately, misuse appears to be growing at an alarming rate.”
AP reports on efforts to drug more kids:
In an effort to find a treatment for autism, scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, are leading a $9 million experiment that aims to evaluate the effectiveness of drugs within weeks rather than years. ...So they don't know the cause of autism, but they are going to fast-track experimental and unproven drugs to kids with poor eye contact and repetitive movements, even tho they know that the drugs are not treating the core problem.
Federal statistics show one child out of 88 in the U.S. is believed to have autism or a related disorder. The number of cases has jumped in recent years mainly because of wider screening and better diagnosis. Children with autism may make poor eye contact or exhibit repetitive movements such as rocking or hand-flapping.
The causes of autism are unknown, but scientists lately have focused on genetics, which is thought to account for roughly 20 percent of cases. People with autism are often prescribed drugs to manage hyperactivity and aggressiveness, but the medications do not target the core problems, doctors said.
Parents with diagnosed kids are eager for whatever they can get, and demand insurance coverage:
In the past few years, more than half the states have passed legislation mandating some level of autism coverage, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But some families of autistic children say they've received little or no benefits. ...I wish that there were some effective treatment for the kids who need it, but there is not. Spending a lot of insurance money on toilet training really isn't helping much. Some problems cannot be solved with money.
Professionals identify one in 88 children as having Autism Spectrum Disorders, which can cause social and behavioral challenges. It's often treated through applied behavior analysis, known as ABA, an intensive one-on-one therapy that focuses on specific goals, such as toilet training.
Update: The Santa Cruz Sentinel has another story:
While the number of families affected is small, their plight underscores the huge changes on the horizon for health care consumers as they navigate ongoing state and federal health care reforms.Those services cost a lot of money, and do not help much.
Parents say they were promised the move would not disrupt services for autistic children.
But many now say they feel betrayed after weeks of conflicting or unclear answers about whether their children can continue a popular and effective therapy, applied behavioral analysis, that can cost $20,000 to $50,000 a year.
Catalena's therapy has been discontinued and restarted twice -- and is now scheduled to end again Tuesday.
Update: Here are more signs of persecuting autistic kids:
Other autism news says the problem is in the placenta:
From TimeTurk (English edition) 4/22/13:
“Autistic children do not know believing in God because they do not have a section of faith in their brains,” Kaya said, according to daily Milliyet.
Kaya said the underdevelopment of faith sections in the brain caused autistic children to not believe in God.
“That is why they don’t know how to pray, how to believe in God. It is needed to create awareness in these children through methods of therapy.”
Kaya added that autistic children should undergo treatment to “create areas of faith in their brain.”
"We can look at the placenta at birth and determine the chance of being at risk for autism with extremely high reliability," said Dr. Harvey Kliman, a research scientist at Yale University.And in the gut:
More than 90 per cent of children with autism spectrum disorders suffer from chronic, severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Of those, about 75 per cent suffer from diarrhea, according to current literature.This is crazy.