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How do you know stims are overprescribed?

Posted by alohashirt on July 13, 2006, at 22:27:38

In reply to stimulants sometimes needed ed_uk, posted by pseudoname on July 9, 2006, at 13:00:27

My understanding is that about 3% of school age children are believed to have ADHD and about 60% of these are diagnosed and being treated. This doesn't mean that there isn't misdiagnosis of other conditions or simple high energy.

What data would any of us need to form an informed view as to whether children are largely over or undertreated for ADHD?

To the question of American child-rearing. I do believe that the "hurried child syndrome" described in the 1970s is alive and well. When I took my 3 year old to his fourth IQ test for admission to a prestigious nursery school I reflected on the stupidity of this process and how lucky I was to have a relaxed upbringing. This overpressure does not appear to have any positive effect on future academic achievement.


> > Hi PN
>
> Hi to you!
>
> > At high school we had 60 minutes lunch but no other breaks.
>
> Do you call it "high school" in the UK? Roughly the age range of 14-18?
>
> > I do think some children may derive a lot of benefit from stimulants, at least in the short term. I certainly wouldn't criticise anyone for deciding to give their child a stimulant.
>
> I agree; I wouldn't criticize anyone simply because a stimulant was involved. A child in my circle had a birth mother whose drug abuse probably affected him in utero. His adoptive parents put him on stimulants, on which he performs adequately in school. OFF the stimulants, he suffers painfully in ordinary situations from indecision and inattention and so on. He is by far the smallest child in his class; I believe slow growth is a known effect of stimulants in children. Sadly, it's probably the best trade-off they can make for him right now.
>
> On the other hand, stimulants are clearly overprescribed for kids in the U.S. I think their lives are overstructured these days and Ritalin is used to squeeze them into boxes, but I don't want to sound like a grouchy old man.


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