Treating ADHD

August 3, 2012 • Volume 22, Issue 28
Are attention disorders overdiagnosed?
By Marcia Clemmitt


Blake Taylor (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Blake Taylor, a student at the University of California, Berkeley, began taking medication for ADHD at age 5. ADHD is widely seen today as a lifelong condition affecting both genders equally. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Once viewed chiefly as affecting grade school-age children — chiefly hyperactive boys — attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which makes it difficult to focus attention and control impulses, today is widely seen as a lifelong condition affecting both genders equally. As more and more children, adolescents and adults are diagnosed with ADHD, prescriptions for stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall to fight the disorder are soaring. Yet many experts say that while stimulants temporarily ease symptoms, they do nothing to improve academic or work performance or social skills, and some worry the condition is being overdiagnosed. At the same time, non-drug treatments remain under-used. The increased availability of stimulants, which are addictive, is fueling prescription-drug abuse among students and others who do not have ADHD but use the drugs as study aids or to get high.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Mar. 13, 2015  Prisoners and Mental Illness
Dec. 05, 2014  Treating Schizophrenia
Sep. 12, 2014  Teen Suicide
May 10, 2013  Mental Health Policy
Aug. 03, 2012  Treating ADHD
Jun. 01, 2012  Traumatic Brain Injury
Jun. 26, 2009  Treating Depression
Feb. 13, 2004  Youth Suicide
Feb. 06, 2004  Mental Illness Medication Debate
Mar. 29, 2002  Mental Health Insurance
Feb. 08, 2002  Treating Anxiety
Jul. 16, 1999  Childhood Depression
Jun. 18, 1999  Boys' Emotional Needs
Sep. 12, 1997  Mental Health Policy
Aug. 19, 1994  Prozac
Aug. 06, 1993  Mental Illness
Oct. 09, 1992  Depression
Jun. 14, 1991  Teenage Suicide
Jul. 08, 1988  Biology Invades Psychology
Feb. 13, 1987  The Mentally Ill
Aug. 20, 1982  Mental Health Care Reappraisal
Jun. 12, 1981  Youth Suicide
Sep. 21, 1979  Mental Health Care
Sep. 15, 1978  Brain Research
Jul. 05, 1974  Psychomedicine
Aug. 08, 1973  Emotionally Disturbed Children
Dec. 27, 1972  Mental Depression
Mar. 24, 1972  Schizophrenia: Medical Enigma
Apr. 21, 1971  Approaches to Death
Mar. 03, 1971  Encounter Groups
Nov. 25, 1970  Psychological Counseling of Students
Feb. 19, 1969  Future of Psychiatry
Feb. 02, 1966  New Approaches to Mental Illness
Jan. 22, 1964  Insanity as a Defense
Sep. 25, 1963  Anatomy of Suicide
Nov. 20, 1957  Drugs and Mental Health
Apr. 23, 1954  Mental Health Programs
Jul. 09, 1948  Mental Health
Genetic Disorders and Medical Genetics