Rising ADHD prescriptions draw scrutiny

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Although Europeans are resisting attention-deficit-disorder diagnoses, a researcher wrote in BMJ that the rising number of ADHD patients needs to be carefully considered. The researcher tells Bloomberg that the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders loosened the criteria for the diagnosis, and that this change correlates to an uptick in prescriptions worldwide. According to Bloomberg, prescriptions for ADHD rose 73% in Australia from 2000 to 2001, while they quadrupled among UK adults between 2003 and 2008, while prescriptions among their kids doubled during that same period.

Concern about over-diagnosis has been rising. A doctor in an October Wall Street Journal Q&A noted that a 2010 study found that younger kindergarteners were 40% more likely than their older peers to be taking anti-restlessness medications.

USAToday published an opinion piece by Maclean Gander in 2012 that noted that the condition was diagnosed in around 5% of the population for a century, but became what the professor described as a “cultural phenomenon” in a 20-year time frame. Maclean attributed part of its popularity to teacher demands for docile students and for students seeking an academic performance edge.

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