Did aggressive marketing and not medicine increase the diagnosis of ADHD?

I have discussed this in the past and I think it’s important to remind people that sometimes things are not that visible when it comes to being diagnosed with ADHD.  The idea that the marketing of ADHD has led to an increase in diagnosis for children should not be a big surprise.  A recent paper published in the journal of Social Science and Medicine discusses the explosive growth of the ADHD diagnosis in many countries.  The article cites many factors such as a strong drug lobby to allow for more direct marketing to consumers, ADHD advocacy groups working in conjunction with pharmaceutical companies to promote a pharmaceutical solution and many people having information online and doing a self-diagnosis.

I tend to get a little concerned about how we as a society are always interested in getting children to conform to rules in school.  If a child has even slight issues with focus and concentration or is having a terrible time concentrating on school we automatically assume, the child may have ADHD.  Does anyone consider altering lifestyle factors such as nutrition and exercise before prescribing Ritalin?  Yes, we are all interested in helping the child right away.  Ritalin is definitely that quick fix, but do we ever stop to consider the long term ramifications of prescribing the drug for extended periods of time?

Now I am not saying that marketing is the ultimate evil and to blame for all of this.  What I am saying is that parents need to look at all the information and see what the best solutions are for their child.  All factors need to be considered before considering taking a significant step such as putting a child on Ritalin.

If you need help with understanding with what are the best options for dealing with your child situation please do not hesitate to contact my office for an appointment.

Dr. Shah, MD