Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Just Say No to Drugging Kids

According to a recent article in The New York Times, 11% of school age children, and nearly one in five boys of high school age, have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder:
These rates reflect a marked rise over the last decade and could fuel growing concern among many doctors that the A.D.H.D. diagnosis and its medication are overused in American children.

The figures showed that an estimated 6.4 million children ages 4 through 17 had received an A.D.H.D. diagnosis at some point in their lives, a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 41 percent rise in the past decade. About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which can drastically improve the lives of those with A.D.H.D. but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis.

"Those are astronomical numbers. I'm floored," said Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. He added, "Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy."
Don't worry. The American Psychiatric Association is planning on changing the definition of A.D.H.D. so that even more kids will be diagnosed in order to receive proper "treatment." Call it an economic stimulus for the pharmaceutical industry.

As a father of three, I am thankful that we are able to homeschool our kids. I'm sure many of you parents will know exactly what I'm talking about when I say that there is a strong likelihood that each one of my children would fall under some government school definition of A.D.D. or A.D.H.D. But have you ever met one kid who didn't have trouble sitting still or focusing, especially when they had little or no interest in the subject being taught?

Gary North has a simpler, drug-free solution:
If your kid is squirming in public school, a solution is to pull him out of public school. Kids who are not in public schools usually stop squirming.

There are two main solutions: homeschooling or doing chores around the house. Teenage kids facing this choice usually stop squirming.

Homeschooling works. But when it's either prescribing drugs or chores, I recommend chores. It's cheaper. Also, parents avoid extra chores.
So simple, and yet so difficult for today's two-income families to manage.

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