When ADHD first appeared in the DSM in 1987, 3 percent of U.S. children were thought to have the disorder. By 2000, the number increased to 7 percent. In 2014 that number jumped to an alarming 11 percent of children and 15 percent of high school students. Two-thirds of these children are on medication. In contrast, in countries like France, Finland, the UK and Japan, the number is a half of one percent, and far fewer children taking medication.
In the new book: A Disease Called Childhood: Why ADHD Became an American Epidemic, Dr. Marilyn Wedge brings together the latest developments in neuroscience and clinical research, a history of big pharma and psychiatry, and cultural studies of educational systems around the world.
Among the first generation of boys prescribed medication for hyperactivity in the 1980s, Timothy Denevi took Ritalin at the age of six, and during the first week, it triggered a psychotic reaction. Doctors recommended behavior therapy, then antidepressants.
Nothing worked. As Timothy’s parents and doctors sought to treat his behavior, he was subjected to a liquid diet, a sleep-deprived EEG, and bizarre behavioral assessments before finding help in therapy combined with medication. In Hyper, Timothy describes how he makes his way through school.
In a study published earlier this week, researchers found that pregnant women who take acetaminophen -- a widely used drug found in such over-the-counter painkillers as Tylenol and Excedrin -- are at increased risk of having children with hyperkinetic disorders like ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released startling new data on the incidence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in American kids. According to the CDC, over 6 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. Despite coming on the heels of April Fool’s Day, those numbers are no joke.