Maggie Koerth-Baker wrote an article in the New York Times Magazine section this week entitled, The Not So Hidden Cause Behind the A.D.H.D. Epidemic.
Recently people who were prescribed low dose, generic medications, used to treat A.D.H.D., found that the drugs they used to were hard to find. Because the number of diagnoses of A.D.D./A.D.H.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) has increased in both children and adults, the demand was greater than the supply. Ms. Koerth-Baker writes:
“Between the fall of 2011 and the spring of 2012, people across the United States suddenly found themselves unable to get their hands on A.D.H.D. medication. Low-dose generics were particularly in short supply.” Koerth-Baker goes on to write, “The number of diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has ballooned over the past few decades. Before the early 1990s, fewer than 5 percent of school-age kids were thought to have A.D.H.D. Earlier this year, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 had at some point received the diagnosis — and that doesn’t even include first-time diagnoses in adults.”
The article mentions that rates of A.D.D./A.D.H.D. vary not only by state but by country as well. A study that compares the number of children with the diagnosis in this country as compared to those in Britain, shows that “In 2003, when nearly 8 percent of American kids had been given a diagnosis of A.D.H.D., only about 2 percent of children in Britain had. According to the British National Health Service, the estimate of kids affected by A.D.H.D. there is now as high as 5 percent.”
Peter Conrad who is a leading researcher in the spread of A.D.H.D. diagnosis rates, believes that the difference lies in the definition. In this country, we use the D.S.M. (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). In Europe, the I.C.D. (International Classification of Diseases) is used and their guidelines are “much stricter” for diagnoses.
Another reason for the increased diagnosis in children from this country is due to the fact that “American childhood drastically changed. Even at the grade-school level, kids now have more homework, less recess and a lot less unstructured free time to relax and play.” When kids are unable to move their bodies or use their brains to play and not work, they are unable to relax and thrive. One way to help kids do this, is to allow more time for unstructured amusements, including making art- painting, drawing, imagining, etc…
Another way to calm over stimulated minds and bodies so that they can grow and flourish is by having neurofeedback training. The system I use, NeurOptimal®, trains the brain to be more flexible and to perform optimally. To learn more about NeurOptimal®, click on the link. To discuss how neurofeedback can help you or your child feel calmer, more focused and relaxed, contact me, here.