Self Diagnoses Skyrocketing With Patients Seeking Stimulant Drugs
Do you take Adderall or Ritalin to deal with your inability to concentrate? Do you often proclaim that you, or your child perhaps, can’t sit still? You can’t concentrate or focus on tasks? Have you been diagnosed with ADHD? Well a new book written by neurologist Richard Saul is something you might want to pay your scant attention to.
The new book is titled “ADHD Does Not Exist: The Truth About Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder” and it’s likely to cause some people to actually pay attention. After his long career of treating patients, many self diagnosed, with short attention spans, Saul believes that ADHD is actually a collection of symptoms, not a disease. He doesn’t believe that it should be listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.
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Saul says that patients show up at the doctor’s office with their own ADHD diagnoses because everyone is talking about it and because they want drugs like Adderall and Ritalin. But he believes that’s dangerous because these drugs are stimulants for which people can develop a tolerance and eventually addiction.
ADHD first came about in 1980 and diagnoses have skyrocketed since then from 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11% in 2011. Basically one in nine children and two thirds of them are boys.
“ADHD makes a great excuse,” Saul says. “The diagnosis can be an easy-to-reach-for crutch. Moreover, there’s an attractive element to an ADHD diagnosis, especially in adults — it can be exciting to think of oneself as involved in many things at once, rather than stuck in a boring rut.”
Saul told the tale to the New York Post of a girl who was being treated fro ADHD because she was being disruptive in class due to not being able to see the blackboard. Apparently all she needed was glasses, not drugs.
“I know of far too many colleagues,” Saul says, “who are willing to write a prescription for a stimulant with only a cursory examination of the patient, such as the ‘two-minute checklist,’ for ADHD.”