New data from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) reveals that 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 (A.D.H.D.). These numbers appear to support the growing concern of many in the medial field that the A.D.H.D. diagnosis and medication is overused in children.
A.D.H.D. is a result of abnormal chemical levels in the brain that impair a person’s impulse control and attention skills. About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which have been shown to lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis.
The new data also reveals that an estimated 6.4 million children, between the ages 4 through 17, have been diagnosed with A.D.H.D., an increase of 16 percent since 2007 and 41 percent over the past ten years.
Medical experts predict the numbers will increase even more dramatically as the American Psychiatric Association plans to change the definition of A.D.H.D. to allow more people to receive the diagnosis and treatment.
The Virginia Injury Lawyer Perspective:
Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine, told the N.Y. Times he was stunned by the data. “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,” he said. There is no definitive test to test for the disorder. Current procedure for diagnosis involves speaking with parents, teachers and patients about possible symptoms, while ruling out other medical explanations.
Once diagnosed with the disorder and put on medication, it’s critical that a patient is properly monitored by their physician, especially given the side-effects that may occur in these powerful medications. Families who have experienced tragic consequences brought on by these drugs should contact a Virginia injury lawyer to discuss what legal options they may have.
Adderall, one of several medications given to children diagnosed with A.D.H.D.
If you or a family member was seriously injured by a defective or dangerous drug, you can begin to learn about your legal rights and options by reading this article.