Bothersome Trend

I remember a day when unruly kids got their little butts whipped.  You folks remember that?  I remember a day when you screwed up in school, the teacher gave you swats.  The best part is some of them took great joy in it. Kidding, but you know some did.  

Nowadays, teachers can’t spank kids, hell, parents can’t spank their own kids, it seems.  So the government, local on up to the federal, seems to think they have the right to tell us how to raise our kids.  Now look where it got us.

In the 1990s, the medical and pharmaceutical industries got on this kick about ADD and ADHD.  It seemed like just about every kid around had it.  It was an epidemic!  I was trying really hard not to catch it myself!  I mean it was only discovered in 1972 and the numbers have been going up since.  It’s spreading like wildfire.  Good thing it went away as a person grew into adulthood.

I remember talking to my doctor about a year ago or so and he was telling me that adults generally don’t have ADHD.  I was so thankful.  Now I know I’m safe from catching this dreadful disease.

Now, I see in the news that it’s spread to adults!  Holy smokes!  ADHD has mutated and is infecting adults!  Now no one is safe from the ravages of ADHD and ADD!

Now, how many of you did I just make angry?  I know, I know, your kid/husband/wife/whoever has ADD or ADHD.  Everyone has it these days.  It’s a trend and it allows you to blame your screw ups on a mental disorder.

Now, while I’m not saying there are no such things as ADD or ADHD, I am saying that one of 2 things is happening here.  Either it’s being overly diagnosed or something is going on in our world today that is causing it and it’s all legitimate.  Neither option is good.

And yes, I know ADD and ADHD are not contagious.

Fox News reported today that prescriptions for ADHD in adults has risen.

The number of U.S. adults and young adults receiving prescriptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has nearly doubled over the past four years, The New York Times reported.

In new data released today, drug manager Express Scripts reported a 53 percent increase in ADHD prescriptions for adults and a 47 percent increase in ADHD prescriptions for young adults between 2008 and 2012. Overall, 2.6 million adults and 640,000 young adults received ADHD prescriptions in 2012.

So, what’s the cause?  Is it that big pharma is just looking for more money?  What about something, or things, within our lifestyle as a nation?  Could it be the GMOs, the electronic lives we lead, smart phones, Xbox, or the speed in which we receive news?  I have no idea, but I really don’t like it at all.

The CDC calls ADHD  one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood.

The CDC give some stats on ADHD:

  • Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011.
  • The percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011.
  • Rates of ADHD diagnosis increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006 [Read article] and an average of approximately 5% per year from 2003 to 2011.
  • Boys (13.2%) were more likely than girls (5.6%) to have ever been diagnosed with ADHD.
  • The average age of ADHD diagnosis was 7 years of age, but children reported by their parents as having more severe ADHD were diagnosed earlier.
  • Prevalence of ADHD diagnosis varied substantially by state, from a low of 5.6% in Nevada to a high of 18.7% in Kentucky.

They go on to state:

Parents were also asked about whether their child was taking medication for ADHD. The results show that:

  • The prevalence of children 4-17 years of age taking ADHD medication increased from 4.8%  in 2007 to 6.1% in 2011
  • More US children were receiving ADHD treatment in 2011 compared to 2007; however, as many as 17.5% of children with current ADHD were not receiving either medication for ADHD or mental health counseling in 2011.
  • In 2011, geographic variability in the percent of children taking medication for ADHD ranged from a low of 2% in Nevada to a high of 10.4% in Louisiana.

And wait!  There’s more from the CDC:

Peer Relationships

  • Parents of children with a history of ADHD report almost 3 times as many peer problems as those without a history of ADHD (21.1% vs. 7.3%).
  • Parents report that children with a history of ADHD are almost 10 times as likely to have difficulties that interfere with friendships (20.6% vs. 2.0%).

Injury

  • A higher percentage of parents of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder reported non-fatal injuries (4.5% vs. 2.5% for healthy children). [Read articleExternal Web Site Icon]
  • Children with ADHD, compared to children without ADHD, were more likely to have major injuries (59% vs. 49%), hospital inpatient (26% vs. 18%), hospital outpatient (41% vs. 33%), or emergency department admission (81% vs. 74%). [Read articleExternal Web Site Icon]
  • Data from international samples suggest that young people with high levels of attentional difficulties are at greater risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash, drinking and driving, and traffic violations. [Read articleExternal Web Site Icon]

Economic Cost

  • Using a prevalence rate of 5%, the annual societal ‘‘cost of illness’’ for ADHD is estimated to be between $36 and $52 billion, in 2005 dollars. It is estimated to be between $12,005 and $17,458 annually per individual. [Read articleExternal Web Site Icon]
  • There were an estimated 7 million ambulatory care visits for ADHD in 2006. [Read article Adobe PDF file]
  • The total excess cost of ADHD in the US in 2000 was $31.6 billion. Of this total, $1.6 billion was for the treatment of patients, $12.1 billion was for all other health care costs of persons with ADHD, $14.2 billion was for all other health care costs of family members with ADHD, and $3.7 billion was for the work loss cost of adults with ADHD and adult family members of persons with ADHD. [Read articleExternal Web Site Icon]
  • ADHD creates a significant financial burden regarding the cost of medical care and work loss for patients and family members. The annual average direct cost for each per ADHD patient was $1,574, compared to $541 among matched controls. The annual average payment (direct plus indirect cost) per family member was $2,728 for non-ADHD family members of ADHD patients versus $1,440 for family members of matched controls. [Read articleExternal Web Site Icon]
  • Across 10 countries, it was projected that ADHD was associated with 143.8 million lost days of productivity each year. Most of this loss can be attributed to ADHD and not co-occurring conditions. [Read articleExternal Web Site Icon]
  • Workers with ADHD were more likely to have at least one sick day in the past month compared to workers without ADHD. [Read articleExternal Web Site Icon]

These stats bring up another question.  Is the CDC somehow involved or merely reporting on what they’re seeing? Either way, something has to be done.

I’m a little more inclined to believe that the blame should be spread among several areas.  I believe the cause comes from our reliance on smart phones and the internet, the desire to make everything in life faster and easier, the fact that we are constantly on the go, and then the big pharma folks are playing their part by manufacturing the drugs.  I think they’re looking at the profits over the health of their customers… kinda like the tobacco companies.

Take your little pill, folks, they need to keep you under control.

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