More Parents Than Ever Have No Shame In Medicating The Crap Out Of Their ADHD Kids

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ADHDMedicating children continues to be anxious territory for parents, as treating a toddler with bipolar disorder certainly isn’t what your average family is expecting at the pediatrician’s office. Yet with more mild conditions in comparison, such as ADHD, more parents than ever apparently aren’t hesitating in filling those Ritalin prescriptions. So much so that the number of prescriptions for children has jumped in eight years — way up.

Reuters reports that between 2002 and 2010, Ritalin use in children grew 46%. We’re talking a growth of 800,000 prescriptions a year. That may add fuel to the narrative that ADHD is over-diagnosed, but other doctors are quick to point out that what we’re really encountering is a lack of embarrassment:

“What the article is suggesting is that the number of children that we are treating for attention deficit disorder has gone up,” said Dr. Scott Benson, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and a spokesperson for the American Psychiatric Association.

“For the most part I think the overall increase reflects a reduction in the stigma,” he told Reuters Health. “It used to be, ‘You’re a bad parent if you can’t get your child to behave, and you’re a doubly bad parent if you put them on medicine.'”

The high numbers however do have have other medical professionals concerned with how children with behavioral problems are being cared for, i.e. solely with medication. Dr. Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician, maintains that the United States is at the forefront of doping kids up — and that’s a concerning reality:

“You have to look at how our society handles school children’s problems. It’s clear that we rely much, much more on a pharmacological answer than other societies do,” Diller said. “The medicine is overprescribed primarily, but under-prescribed for certain inner-city groups of children.”

In the mean time, if you’re ever short on your own Ritalin supply, trying hitting up the 8-year-old down the block. If he doesn’t have any, he most likely has a friend who does.

(photo: Tony Northrup/ Shutterstock)