Twenty Percent of Boys Have ADHD?!?!

According to new data released from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), nearly one in five boys is diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  This is over a 50% rise in the last decade!

Why is there such an increase in diagnosis and why is the trend likely to continue?

To answer this question, let us look at how ADHD is diagnosed.  There is NO test.  Even though the disorder is currently described by most health professionals as resulting in abnormal chemical levels in the brain, there is apparently no medical test to check these chemical levels.  So how is ADHD diagnosed?  Health professionals interview the child, the parents, and sometimes the teacher.  I am a high school teacher and I have filled out numerous checklists on a student’s behavior for doctors, but I have never actually spoken with a doctor.  I assume this is done more for younger age children?  If you know, reply in the comments section.

Only 11% of all kids are diagnosed with ADHD.

I know some of you probably think that 11% is a good thing, and that maybe the condition is being recognized and treated.  I am going to disagree with some of you.

Two-thirds of those diagnosed with ADHD are prescribed with a stimulant, such as Adderall.  In 2010, Dr. Ronald Ricker and Dr. Venus Nicolino, identified Adderall as the most abused prescription drug in America. The common side effects of Adderall according to are:

• Lack of appetite
• Headache
• Inability to fall asleep and stay asleep
• Dry Mouth
• Abdominal Pain and Discomfort
• Weight Loss
• Restlessness

And the serious, even deadly side effects are:

• Dangerous increase in blood pressure
• Tachycardia or a high pulse rate
• Irregular heart rate
• Difficulty breathing
• Chest pain
• Allergic reaction that includes swelling and redness in the eyes or throat
• Migraine headaches
• Syncope or losing consciousness
• Blurry or double vision
• Seizure activity and excessive and uncontrollable shaking
• Extreme nervousness and paranoid delusions
• Mood swings that include hostility and severe aggression
• Depression

I have heard it referred to as legal crank.  Yeah, give my kid that pill.

So doctors are actually prescribing Adderal based on what diagnosis?  My guess is complaining parents.

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines ADHD as: a behavioral condition that makes focusing on everyday requests and routines challenging. People with ADHD typically have trouble getting organized, staying focused, making realistic plans and thinking before acting. They may be fidgety, noisy and unable to adapt to changing situations.


Are there kids out there who don’t fit this definition?  Trouble staying focused? Trouble getting organized? – are we sure only 20% of boys have this? I’ve been in the classroom for over 11 years, and these characteristics abound in more than 20% of my high schoolers.

So your kid is loud, his room is messy, he daydreams in class, and he acts before thinking – should we really put that kid on DRUGS?!

What are your thoughts?  Do you believe 20% of boys really have the disorder as stated by the CDC?  Are too many parents, professionals, and administrators characterizing typical teenage characteristics as a medical disorder? What are your thoughts? We want to hear from you.


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