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ADHD Explosion- Book review in LATimes

Caught this article on the Latimes website today and I think what the authors has to say is quite important. As someone with ADHD, who medicates i really appreciate it when journalists talk to experts and really respect their knowledge and try to show the complexities in a topic like this one. Because of time i'm just going to share a few key quotes.

And if you come on here and say ADHD doesn't exist or is only a recent thing, i will use the delete button on you!!! >:(


The key quotes:

The authors of the new book—psychology professor Stephen P. Hinshaw and health economist Richard M. Scheffler, both of UC Berkeley, are hardly ADHD deniers: They acknowledge ADHD to be a disorder that can hobble the lives of those who have it, and they cite abundant evidence that the prescription stimulant medication used to tame ADHD's symptoms can bring about remarkable improvement in those with the disorder. Their research is underwritten by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a respected public health philanthropy.

Professional groups—the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychiatric Assn.—have all published very clear guidelines as to what a thorough assessment for ADHD requires. But there's no enforcement of those guidelines. And there's usually no insurance reimbursement to physicians for making such a thorough assessment.

This enormous "push for performance" unleashed a whole new focus on testing, and on generating positive test results. The movement tied school and school district budgets, teachers' salaries, and principals' promotions to these test scores.

Once the field started looking more broadly — and with changes in health insurance and special-education laws in the 1990s — we began to see that all of these conditions are equal-opportunity conditions. In ADHD, there is a large genetic undercurrent. But there are also some risk factors that are concentrated more in low-income families than in higher-income ones: Kids born preterm or at low birth weight are at higher risk of ADHD, as are those whose mothers smoke or drink alcohol during pregnancy.


There's no doubt that stimulants help everyone stay alert. But in light of this research, there's much more doubt now that they really improve your cognitive performance and thinking if you don't have ADHD, or your symptoms don't position you pretty close to an ADHD diagnosis.

And meanwhile, one crucial side effect isn't often mentioned: If you've got ADHD and your treatment is well monitored, the odds that you'll get addicted to stimulant medications is extremely low by all published accounts. But if you're a normal college student and you start taking this medication, there's up to a 15% likelihood that you'll get addicted to the pills you're taking, and it encourages other pill-popping as well. Plus, it's illegal.


SO those of you who are abusing the meds i need to function, please staaaahp! Thanks :)

Illustration for article titled ADHD Explosion- Book review in LATimes

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