Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Labeling & Drugging Normal Children

Every parent knows that boys can be rambunctious, more so than girls. In recent years, however, overactive children have been increasingly diagnosed with an illness called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD for short, and then given drugs to control their behavior. Eleven percent of children in the United States between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, and then are often prescribed mind-altering drugs. But it certainly is not clear that all those children really have some psychological disorder.

Researchers have discovered that only 3% of children of those same ages in Britain are diagnosed with ADHD. That's a significant difference in ADHD rates between the U.S. and Britain. We wonder what causes this significant difference between American and British kids. Some researchers believe the difference is more likely the result of wrong diagnoses of ADHD.

A recent publication in the Journal of Health Economics revealed another troubling pattern in ADHD diagnoses. A study compared the youngest kindergartners to other kindergartners who were only 11 months older. The younger children were 40% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than the kindergartners who were just slightly older. And what is worse, the younger children were twice as likely to be put on drugs.

If ADHD diagnoses were accurate, we would expect equal proportions of the two groups of kindergartners (who really were only a few months different in age) to be diagnosed with ADHD. The difference in rates of ADHD suggests that doctors are labeling children as having ADHD simply because, being younger, they displayed more immature behaviors. Instead of labeling many normal children as having disorders, and putting them on medications, we should acknowledge what mothers have always known: children are often overactive, especially boys, and will eventually learn how to behave.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You mention Britain having lower levels of ADHD. Look at the correlation between ADHD and artificial colors. The British have recognized that there is a very strong correlation between the two. But the FDA in the US won't acknowledge it...it might hurt some business' bottom lines...who cares about the children's lives that are being ruined? Stop feeding your hyperactive children artificial colors and you might see the same amazing transformation that I did. It changed my son's life at 3 years old...without any medication.

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