Rx for S.S.D. (Sick Society Disorder)

(This article first appeared in the Huffington Post on 4/16/13)

Shock and incredulity greeted a front-page New York Times article last week that nearly 1 in 5 American high school boys had attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The Times analysis of the most recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) survey of 76,000 households had the overall rate of ADHD for children ages 5 to 17 at 11 percent. Approximately 6.4 million children have received the diagnosis. Two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis were receiving prescription stimulant drugs like Adderall, Ritalin or Concerta. Annual sales last year of these drugs reached $9 billion. 

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Is An ADHD/Adderall Ice Age Ending?

(first appeared in the Huffington Post 2/5/13)

"Crrraackkkkk!" was the sound I heard of the arctic ice breaking in my head as I finished reading the Sunday New York Times front-page article "Drowned in a Stream Of Prescriptions." I'm speaking metaphorically of course. But the 5,000-word Times piece on the life and death by suicide of a young man, Richard Fee, addicted to Adderall (a form of prescription amphetamine), could represent a true thawing of what some feel has been a 20-year ADHD/Adderall Ice Age.

I am behavioral/developmental pediatrician who's been prescribing prescription stimulants like Ritalin, Adderall or Concerta to children, teens and adults for 35 years. I've never been against using medications in children. But I prescribe the meds only after giving effective non-drug interventions, like home/school behavioral modification and special education, a chance to work first. 

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Give Me My Adderall!

(First appeared in the Huffington Post on October 10, 2012)

"Give me my Adderall!" Matthew, a 15-year-old patient of mine, recently demanded of his parents. When they refused, Matthew slashed his left wrist with a box cutter. His parents called the police and he was taken to the county hospital emergency room for evaluation and possible admission to the psychiatric ward. His parents had withheld the medication for Matt's purported attention deficit disorder (ADD) because they hadn't liked the side effects of irritability and anger they had associated with their son's use of the medication.

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