Did you know that there was a major shortage of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) meds back in late-2011 and early-2012? This seems odd, doesn’t it? How could drug manufacturers run out of Ritalin and Adderall?
Fact: It was (and still is) all about supply-and-demand.
#1 Diagnosis Skyrocketing
The primary reason Americans can’t snatch up ADHD meds quickly enough is because of the rapid boost in diagnosis and prescription rates. Between 2011-2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that over 11 percent of all U.S. children ages 4-17 were diagnosed with ADHD, and 69% of them were taking drugs to manage their symptoms. If this seems like a lot of kids to be on meds, it is. In fact, it’s outright outrageous! We’re rapidly approaching a landmark where 1 out of every 10 kids you see on the street will be on some sort of ADHD medication!
The question begging to be asked at this point is:
Is it possible for all of these kids to really have ADHD?
Probably not. Of the 6.4 million kids diagnosed with ADHD, medical doctors and psychiatrists are hard-pressed to prove that most (if any) of these children have physical or neurological differences that would cause them to experience ADHD symptoms more than an average kid without the diagnosis. In the words of a recent New York Times editorial, “It’s also doubtful that biological or environmental changes are making physiological differences more prevalent. Instead, the rapid increase in people with ADHD probably has more to do with sociological factors — changes in the way we school our children, in the way we interact with doctors and in what we expect from our kids.”
This is interesting, because the way that ADHD has been viewed since Sir Alexander Crichton first described it as a “mental derangement disorder” in 1798 has been anything but consistent.
A Little Bit of History…
The history of ADHD officially began with Sir George Frederic Still’s Goulstonian Lectures in 1902 where he discussed “particular psychical conditions…which are concerned with an abnormal defect of moral control in children.”
Thankfully, medical professionals do not consider ADHD a “moral defect” or deviant behavior anymore, but many now hold on to the view that it is based on “minimal brain dysfunction” as a result of various types of damage done to the brain.
This is important because, since “brain damage” is generally regarded as incurable, the primary medical and psychiatric approach to helping children who struggle with hyperactivity and attention issues is NOT to manage the root cause, but to medicate them. In other words, instead of helping these kids experience true healing by guiding them through a 30 day food makeover (for example), they label them as ADHD and put them on drugs for the rest of their lives.
As the ADHD epidemic continues to rise, it is more than obvious at this point that this is NOT the right approach.
#2: Adderall – The New Recreational Drug
The #2 reason ADHD drugs were (and still are) in such demand is because they’ve become one of the most common drugs teens and college-age young adults use for recreational and educational purposes. Yes, educational purposes! A recent Canadian survey reports that, “One in 30 university students are estimated to be using dangerous drugs prescribed for attention-deficit disorder, saying it helps them focus and study harder, especially during exam season.”
See what I mean?
Truth is, research has shown that the symptoms associated with ADHD can generally be managed by what we do and what we eat. If you know a family with kids (or adults) struggling with ADHD I encourage you to invite them to have a chat with us about what they’re doing, what they’re eating and how we can help. You’ll be glad you did.