Faced with hard questions, notes psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, people will frequently seek to answer easier ones instead. The controversies over attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and stimulants are a good example. What does the massive increase in ADHD diagnoses and stimulant use over the past twenty years say, if anything, about profound changes in childhood, mental health diagnoses and treatment, education policies, economic conditions, government regulations, health insurance, pharmaceutical companies, family composition, health professionals, and other environmental aspects? What factors have driven this increase, and how do they interact? Such questions are very complicated, so we usually get a watered-down version of them in the popular press: Why is ADHD overdiagnosed and stimulants overused? Who is to blame for this abuse? What do these phenomena say about America and its future? The “answers” that follow are, as one would expect, as simplistic and unsatisfactory as the questions that trigger...
The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money, and Today's Push for Performance
Rick Mayes is associate professor of political science and codirector of health care studies at the University of Richmond; he is also associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Nursing. He is coauthor, with Catherine Bagwell and Jennifer Erkulwater, of Medicating Children: ADHD and Pediatric Mental Health (2009).
Rick Mayes; The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money, and Today's Push for Performance. J Health Polit Policy Law 1 June 2015; 40 (3): 619–625. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03616878-2888627
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