Number of U.S. Kids on ADHD Meds Keeps Rising

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-08-2004
Number of U.S. Kids on ADHD Meds Keeps Rising
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Wed, 09-28-2011 - 4:09pm

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The use of stimulant medications such as Ritalin or Adderall in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is continuing to climb, although at a slower pace than in decades past, a new study finds.

The study's authors tracked U.S. prescription data from 1996 to 2008. They found the use of ADHD drugs was the highest among kids aged 6 to 12, rising slightly from 4.2 percent in 1996 to 5.1 percent 12 years later.

The most pronounced rise was in older children aged 13 to 18, however. In that group, use of ADHD drugs more than doubled -- from 2.3 percent in 1996 to 4.9 percent in 2008. Researchers said that reflects a greater understanding that kids often don't grow out of ADHD and that symptoms can persist through adolescence and even adulthood.

Overall, about 2.8 million children received a prescription for an ADHD medication in 2008, according to the study.



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Avatar for janx7
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-26-2001
not surprised, Rebekah. Too often the prescription pad comes out after a 5 minute discussion rather than a full observation and evaluation. It's a quick fix, but doesn't get to the root and often creates more problems than it solves, sadly. There are other ways and methods that should be tried first -- meds should be the last line of defense, jmho as a mom who's btdt

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003

I think schools shoulder some blame. Pressures are so much more today then 15-20 years ago. We had our open house last week and teacher out right said there is ZERO wiggle room in the schedule. She is given it by her higher ups ALL the 3rd grades follow the same and as it is she barely fits its all in. There lunch was cut by 10 min this year because teachers didn't wnat to come in earlier to make up for not going enough hours. 2 years ago recess was cut in half because old superintendant felt that was to blame for low test scores. We have state wide tests they start in 3rd grade but standing in kindy teachers now handicap kids thats what got Liam services. His writting wasn't up to par he wasn't picking up fast enough if it doesn't change he can't finish an MCAS test. So we started OT which was to not only improve his writing but deterime if it didn't get better that he could get accomidations for the MCAS which for school means less chance he fails.

I have mixed feelings on all this because I do think if it wasn't for all these new standards he have slipped through the cracks or they school would try to step in too late when he already giot fustrated and turned his back on learning. Now deep inside I always felt he was ADHD. I know they say not until school age and so on but even an developmental eval at 3 picked up these things so I don't think in his case its a snap judgment but I do know every kid is different and especially boys vs girls and boys are more active and the new schedule at Liam's schools leaves little time for them to use that energy whcih I see backfiring into kids getting antsy in class and pressured teachers screaming AHDH

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Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999

GOOD.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-08-2004
I personally know a mom who has a situation like that. One visit w/ the pedi and her son was on meds, she is happy with it and wanted that. I personally do not understand that. If I ever mention anything about Nathaniel at school the first thing she asks me is 'does he take any meds?' NO and he's not going to. He has dyslexia, that's it. Just b/c he has challenging times doesn't mean I need to medicate him.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-08-2004
Even if a child has ADHD meds aren't the only answer and if they truly do need the meds that is not all they need IMO. By cutting recess (bad idea!) and cutting lunch (bad idea again) they are taking away that 'down time' for kids during the day. I think children need to be children, they need a chance to play, get out their energy and be creative with their peers. Organized play and activties is fine but they need their own time too. It is so sad that this is the trend these days...more work less play.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-08-2004
So do you believe medication is the only way to help these children?
I can't help but wonder if ADHD and ODD are over diagnosed disorders. Meaning more kids get diagnosed with it than actually having it.

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Avatar for janx7
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-26-2001
I understand - frustrations due to a learning challenge don't mean that you need to medicate. It just means you need to find a way to meet the challenge in another way.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-08-2004
I remember when he was diagnoed w/ Dyslexia I did alot of reading and talking to people. Most of what I read said that many times children w/ Dyslexia are misdiagnosed with ADHD when they are really dyslexic. Even the women who administered the testing to Nathaniel told me that.

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Avatar for janx7
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-26-2001
Yes, that's true. The behaviors (frustrations) are misleading. When kids don't know what's going on -- because they don't know why they're frustrated - things just aren't working right - they don't get it and no one is helping them in a way they need to be helped.

Very few people are actually ADHD/ADD there is generally something else going on. However, few people seek to find the root issues. They prefer to get the quick fix and be done. BTDT

We're actually seeing some fallout from even our long-term search for answers now for our kids whom we did choose to medicate for a short period of time. They are now finding that they can't get health insurance without having to pay really high premiums because they were on Ritalin and Concerta. It's coming back to bite them big time. I feel so bad because we made that decision. Even though it was only short term and one of them hasn't used the meds for over 7 years. He has no plans to ever go back on them. The child I imagined that would need the meds the longest, was the first to get off and hasn't looked back and has been the most successful. He's in college and doing so well and is married too.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-08-2004
It is horrible that those meds 'labled' them medically like that, so far into the future too.
It is wonderful how well he has done without it though :)

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