The rates for diagnosing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) today are alarming — in fact, never before have we witnessed so many kids quickly receive a mental disorder as we are seeing with boys in America right now (and some girls, but ADHD is mostly found in boys, curiously enough). Many mental health clinicians are very concerned about this development, as the disorder is already questionable (the criteria to diagnose ADHD reads more like a list of characteristics found in normal, curious kids), and the means in which increasingly more doctors are treating it is even worse. Specifically, countless pediatricians and primary care physicians with little to no training in psychology are quickly — and without diagnosing — acquiescing to parents who request “help” for their anxious child by providing powerful drugs to help temper their spontaneous outbursts.
What’s the big deal you might ask? Aside from an unwarranted title your child will likely wear for many years to come (if not indefinitely), he will also be prescribed a Schedule II psychostimulant so powerful it is in the same drug category as cocaine, methadone, and oxycodone. Coincidentally, these are the very same drugs that are highly sought after on the street market, blurring the lines between recreational street drugs and supposed safe prescription pills. Below is the definition and list of Schedule II drugs:
Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, less abuse potential than Schedule I drugs, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are:
cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin
How can we be doing this to kids in America you might be wondering? Well it’s probably more of a perfect storm when you think about it — increasingly more busy parents frustrated that their kids don’t always pay great attention coupled by the increasing number of pharmaceutical companies advertising and promoting free samples through primary doctors and pediatricians. In fact, most of the commercials I have seen are very direct — “ask your doctor for a free sample of _____ drug used to help kids with ADHD.”
Be a critical consumer and ask yourself the following questions if you have a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD:
- Are the risks of Schedule II drugs worth off-setting some behaviors that are bothersome to me?
- If my child has been diagnosed ADHD, have I seen the criteria used for the diagnosis? Was there even a diagnosis that took place??
- Finally, if my child has been diagnosed ADHD, have I exhausted all other resources and efforts, including spending more time with my child, offering empathy, providing positive reinforcement and consequences for his actions, and working with behavioral specialists and counselors so that my child can learn better coping skills?
Chances are if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, he’s really nothing more than an active kid — not a young person with a mental illness. Don’t be duped by misleading pharmaceutical ads and questionable diagnostic criteria — instead, do your homework and make a sound, critical decision when it comes to the welfare of your child.