In editorials and in waiting rooms, concerns of too-liberal diagnoses and over-medication dominate our discussions of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. The New York Times recently reported, with great alarm, the findings of a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study: 11 percent of school-age children have received an ADHD diagnosis, a 16 percent increase since 2007. And rising diagnoses mean rising treatments—drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are more accessible than ever, whether prescribed by a physician or purchased in a library. The consequences of misuse and abuse of these drugs are dangerous, sometimes fatal.
Yet also harmful are the consequences of ADHD untreated, an all-too-common story for women like me, who not only develop symptoms later in life, but also have symptoms—disorganization and forgetfulness, for instance—that look different than those typically expressed in males. While the New York Times’ Op-Ed columnist Roger Cohen may claim that Adderall and other “smart” drugs “have become to college what steroids are to baseball,” these drugs have given me, a relatively unambitious young adult who does not need to cram for tests or club until 6 a.m., a more normal, settled life.
|Scooped by Lou Salza|
Important article! The science of ADHD in the USA, often based on rich white, boys, is completely missing our sisters, and daughters. Instead of properly identifying ADHD, girls are often misdiagnosed with depression or anxiety. In my experience girls in school who struggle with executive skills, time management actually care that they can't keep up with expectations and get sad and anxious!
"—it is estimated that there are around 4 million who are not diagnosed, or half to three-quarters of all women with ADHD—and the misunderstandings that have ensued about the disorder as it manifests in females, to the early clinical studies of ADHD in the 1970s. “These studies were based on really hyperactive young white boys who were taken to clinics,” Littman says. “The diagnostic criteria were developed based on those studies. As a result, those criteria over-represent the symptoms you see in young boys, making it difficult for girls to be diagnosed unless they behave like hyperactive boys.”