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ADHD diagnoses on the rise among adults, children

Story by Adam Ebel

Mental disorders are often contested, especially those without completely known neurophysiology.

A kleptomaniac may indeed compulsively steal things, but how does this differ from a greedy thief?

The common answer is that the kleptomaniac does not have the same choice nor motives.

But things get muddier with subtler and broader disorders.

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder has gained some infamy over the years,  in fields ranging from education, psychology and business.

Its impact on the fundamental productivity and lifestyle of the people who have it is hard to measure or even understand.

Both ADHD/I (predominantly inattentive) and ADHD/C (predominately, compulsive) impact the brains ability to concentrate on tasks. They have a tendency to promote procrastination, daydreaming and often a general difficulty in organizing and planning.

The population of children diagnosed with ADHD over the years has steadily increased.

Now the percentage of adults diagnosed with the disorder has been catching up to the large juvenile demographic.

Many, however, are skeptical of the apparent prevalence of ADHD.

Some have come to view ADHD as a frequent scapegoat for laziness and irresponsible behavior in young delinquents. Critics, like Daniel Guenet, are skeptical.

“I think it’s somewhat overdiagnosed” Guenet said. “Its kind of a result of modern technology today, there just so much to be distracted by.”

This wouldn’t be a concern if it weren’t for the known side effects of many ADHD medications.

Most ADHD medications are stimulants and can have side effects like insomnia, general irritability and development of tics.

Some of the researchers suspected that women, whose use rose by 85 percent according to the study, are using the medications for the loss of appetite to aid in weight loss.

“I could definitely see that.After my brother went onto the medication he lost tons of weight,” said first-year international relations major  Courtney Gordon.

Express Scripts reinforced the need for control over medications, and the harm that can come to the abusers of the drug.

If these medications are not ultimately necessary, critics argue, then harm can come to a person by misdiagnosing, him or her with ADHD.

However, advocates for the rising trend in ADHD diagnosis claim this is an effect of increasing awareness of the disorder.

Adults using the medication rose by 53.4 percent from 2008 to 2012.

Express Scripts, a pharmaceutical company carrying out the research, attributes the rise to the growing evidence that ADHD carries over from childhood into adulthood.

This is especially evident among women with ADHD, the proportion of which nearly doubles to match the demographics of their male counterparts.

The study also identified several other critical statistics for ADHD and its treatment.

People using and misusing ADHD has been on the rise, and spending on ADHD medication is projected to increase by 25 percent in 2015.

This increase is greater than any other drug category.

“I think everyone has a little bit of ADHD,” said Jackie Heymann, a first-year political science major, “But not everyone should take medication for it.”

ADHD is much more commonly diagnosed in the U.S. than other countries.

The United Kingdom, for instance, has only diagnosed .7 percent of its children with ADHD.

In contrast, 11 percent of the American population from 4-17 is reported to have ADHD.

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