Surge in women taking drugs for ADHD

Surge in women taking drugs for ADHD
What’s behind this?

From Newsday: http://www.newsday.com/news/health/surge-in-women-taking-drugs-for-adhd-1.7372481

“The number of Americans taking attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medicines rose 36% in 2012 from 2008, led by a surge among women, according to drug-benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co.

Use of the medications grew 85 percent in 2012 from 2008 for women ages 26 to 34, and women 19 and over now outnumber men in use of the medicines, according to the report released yesterday. Boys 12 to 18 years old are the most heavily prescribed, with about 9.3 percent on ADHD drugs in 2012.

Almost 4.8 million privately insured people were on ADHD medicines in 2012, the report said. Those with the disorder have problems paying attention, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.”

How does one explain the incredible increase in ADHD medication use especially among women ages 26 to 34? Is it due to increased stress? The demands of home and work? Better marketing among these women? Can a pill fix these problems?

Your opinions are welcome.

Toddlers Being Prescribed ADHD Meds

Toddlers Being Prescribed ADHD Meds

Read more: http://www.inquisitr.com/1259397/cdc-finds-shocking-number-of-toddlers-medicated-for-adhd-medicaid-recipients-especially-vulnerable/

The Centers for Disease Control reports that Medicaid claims in Georgia reveal 1 in 225 toddlers are medicated for ADHD – that’s 760 cases in the state alone. The CDC estimates that more than 10,000 toddlers may be taking ADHD medications.

Dr. Lawrence H. Diller, a behavioral pediatrician in Walnut Creek, Calif. and author of The Last Normal Child said, “People prescribing to 2-year-olds are just winging it. It is outside the standard of care, and they should be subject to malpractice if something goes wrong with a kid.”

Dr. Ed Hallowell, a noted child psychiatrist and ADHD expert appeared on Fox and Friends. He said it’s “crazy” that toddlers are being given drugs like Adderall and Ritalin.

“People are looking for a quick solution to the age-old problem of rambunctious little toddlers,” he said. “The solution is not to give them medication. The solution is to play with them, to be with them, to take care of them. Not to give them a pill in the hopes
that’ll quiet them down.”

Prescriptions for toddlers are being granted despite the fact that ADHD medication has not been studied for this group. Indeed the American Academy of Pediatrics does not even broach the subject of ADHD medication in toddlers (children under 4 years old).

Two year olds are notably rambunctious. Most experts agree that it’s far too early to diagnose ADHD at age 2. Your opinions are welcome.

NASA Features Play Attention

NASA Features Play Attention
NASA Spinoff magazine reveals Play Attention’s space connection

Play Attention was inspired by research done at NASA. Dr. Alan Pope’s experiments on astronaut attention provided the basis for Play Attention which enhanced NASA’s technology.

Play Attention’s founder, Peter Freer, made the technology easy to use for any family or professional. Play Attention is now the global leader in assistive technology for ADHD.

Read for full article here on page 86: http://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2013/pdf/Spinoff2013.pdf

A Little Play Attention Goes A Long Way

A Little Play Attention Goes A Long Way
Additude Magazine
A Little Neurofeedback Goes a Long Way
www.additudemag.com
One more study shows that controlling brain waves…

ADHD Drugs Affect Growth Rates

ADHD Drugs Affect Growth Rates
Obesity? Weight loss? Both?

Read more: http://www.imt.ie/clinical/2014/04/adhd-treatment-drugs-affect-bmi-growth-rates.html

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds that ADHD children treated with stimulant medication initially have slower body mass index (BMI) growth than their untreated peers. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The researchers found that the slow growth of BMI was followed by a rapid rebound of BMI that was greater than that of children with no history of ADHD or stimulant medication use and that could continue to obesity.

The researchers found that the earlier the medication was given coupled with the longer the medication was taken resulted in slower BMI growth in earlier childhood but then the more rapid the BMI rebound in late adolescence, typically after medication was discontinued. Researchers concluded that stimulant use, and not a diagnosis of ADHD, was associated with higher BMI and obesity.

“Our findings should motivate greater attention to the possibility that longer-term stimulant use plays a role in the development of obesity in children,” said study lead, Prof . Brian Schwartz of Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology and Medicine at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Given the dramatic rise in ADHD diagnosis and stimulant treatment in recent decades, this is an interesting avenue of research regarding the childhood obesity epidemic, because the rises in each of these roughly parallel one another.”

Earlier research has noted decreased appetite and weight loss as being associated with stimulant medication use. This is the first comprehensive study to find low BMI rebounding to obesity even after discontinuation of the drug.

Many stimulants used to control ADHD symptoms were once used or initially invented as weight loss drugs.

ADHD and Sex

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask
ADHD can significantly disrupt a relationship. The Huffington Post has a great interview with Ari Tuckman PsyD MBA that discusses ADHD and sex drive, sex problems, marriage and sex, novelty, STDs, and more.

ADHD and Sex: An Interview with Ari Tuckman PsyD MBA
www.huffingtonpost.com
As in any other relationship, it’s important to be able to talk openly and honestly about sexual desires and concerns. However, in order to be able to have good conversations in bed, you have to be having good conversations outside of bed, too — and…

Testing, Schools, and the Future of Education

Testing, Schools, and the Future of Education
by Sir Ken Robinson
Whether you agree with him or not, Ken Robinson will shed some light on the current status of education. A great video.

Changing education paradigms
www.ted.com
In this talk from RSA Animate, Sir Ken Robinson lays out the link between 3 troubling trends: rising drop-out rates, schools’ dwindling stake in the arts, and ADHD. An important, timely talk for parents and teachers.

School Testing and the Rising Rate of ADHD

A new book finds a startling connection

Read the Interview: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/could-school-testing-be-driving-adhd-n55661

Is the increased demand for performance behind the increased diagnoses of ADHD? Two University of California professors have released a book this month titled, “The ADHD Explosion.” They call it a “reality check” for parents, providers, educators and politicians.

The Berkeley professors, Dr. Stephen Hinshaw and Dr. Richard Scheffler, are noted researchers on ADHD. Their research tells them that federal policy issues may be behind the recent explosion in cases of ADHD.

“When you look at that [national testing policy], you get the
closest thing there is to a smoking gun,” says Dr.Scheffler.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, found that rates of ADHD in California have jumped by 24% since 2001. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports increases from 7.8 percent in 2003 to
9.5 percent in 2007 and to 11 percent in 2011— a rate of 5 percent a year.

It looks for all the world like a growing epidemic. But ADHD wasn’t even something people noticed until recently,” says Hinshaw.

“It started about the same time in history that we made kids go to school,” Hinshaw told NBC News in an interview.

Then come the 1990s, and a crisis of falling test scores. “What happened is that a number of states began to pass accountability laws,” Hinshaw said.

Hinshaw and Scheffler examined the correlation between diagnoses of ADHD and maps of states that had passed accountability laws.

According to NBC News, by the turn of the century, 30 states had passed accountability laws. They tended to be Republican-leaning states in the South, such as North Carolina. In 2007, 15.6 percent of all children in North Carolina had been diagnosed with ADHD at some point, including nearly one in three teenage boys.

Two things happening together don’t prove a correlation. Is it coincidence? Hinshaw and Scheffler were persuaded to look further.

AN NBC News article reports that the professors then examined date related to the No Child Left Behind federal policy enacted in 2002. It was one of the first official acts of President George W. Bush after he took office.NCLB required standardized testing to show if schools were, in fact, educating students. A truly salient aspect of NCLB was that it held teachers and principals directly responsible for the results and removed federal and state bureaucrats who mandate curriculum and educational policy.

According to the NBC News article:

“Now what happens is a natural experiment,” says Hinshaw. The other states raced to write accountability laws, requiring schools to show they are actually educating children.

“When you incentivize test scores above all else, there is probably pressure to get kids diagnosed with ADHD.”

Hinshaw and Scheffler compared ADHD rates in the 30 states that had been requiring testing with the 20 states that had to play catchup.

Rates of ADHD diagnoses soared.

“Children ages 8 to 13, living in low-income homes and in states without previous consequential accountability laws, went from a 10 percent to a 15.3 percent rate of ADHD diagnoses once No Child Left Behind started,” they wrote. That’s a 53 percent increase over four years.

California’s current rate, post-testing? It’s 7.3 percent. North
Carolina’s rate actually fell slightly, to 14.4 percent in 2011.

“When you incentivize test scores above all else, there is probably pressure to get kids diagnosed with ADHD,” Hinshaw said. “We know from our own research that medication not only makes you less fidgety but also can bump up your test scores.”

That would be the benign interpretation, that testing has
encouraged parents to get their kids in to see specialists for
much-needed medical care. But there’s also a more sinister
possibility and one that Hinshaw and Scheffler say is at work in
some states.

“If you can identify the children with ADHD, you can take them out of the pool that measures how schools are doing,” says Scheffler.

He says some districts — he won’t say where — do seem to have been doing so. State school officials and the federal Department of Education did not respond when contacted by NBC News.

No Child Left Behind ties federal funding to test scores, Scheffler points out.“You can see the incentive for schools to get kids diagnosed with ADHD,” he says.

Either way, Scheffler and Hinshaw say the increase in ADHD cases is real, and it’s not just affecting kids. Recent studies show adult diagnoses are on the rise, too.

“Although often ridiculed, ADHD represents a genuine medical
condition that robs people of major life chances,” they write in the book.

“You can see the incentive for schools to get kids diagnosed with ADHD.”

Scheffler doesn’t see the increase in adult ADHD diagnoses as
surprising. “This has nothing to do with the schools. This has to do with global competition and performance,” he says. People are under pressure to perform better at work.

And news about adult ADHD in turn sends more people to their doctors, and diagnoses spike even more, Hinshaw adds. “Here are we are in 2014 with evidence that medications can benefit. Adult ADHD clinics spring up,” he says.

“That’s not necessarily a bad thing,” says Hinshaw.

What is bad is if ADHD is not being diagnosed with the proper care, Hinshaw says. A 10-minute pediatrician visit is not adequate for an ADHD diagnosis and certainly not as the basis for writing a prescription for a powerful stimulant, such as Ritalin or Adderall, to treat it.

“Many pediatricians are not trained in the emotional disorders of childhood, or not reimbursed for the time it takes,” Hinshaw said.

“It is easy to pull out prescription pad at the end of a visit.”

He calls the book a “reality check” and says parents, providers, educators and politicians should take note, and make sure the right kids are being diagnosed, and helped, properly.

 

ADHD Linked to Teen Obesity

Could ADHD make your teen fat?

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/10/adhd-increase-risk-of-obesity_n_4921150.html

In new research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 7,000 children in Finland were studied to determine whether ADHD symptoms at age eight were linked to greater chances of being obese by age 16.

The results showed that children who had ADHD symptoms at a young age were nearly twice as likely to be obese as teens. This was true even after taking into account childhood weight.

“In general, people think of children with hyperactivity as moving around a lot and therefore should be slim,” senior author Alina Rodriguez said. However, “Children with ADHD are not more likely to participate in physical activity, as we show in our report.”

Previous studies have demonstrated a link between obesity and ADHD, yet the exact cause remains undetermined.

Children today often spend a lot of time indoors and in front of a screen whether it’s TV phone, or computer. Research has shown that the greater the time spent in front a screen, the greater likelihood the child will be obese and have decreased academic performance.

Secondly, ADHD children often lack social skills and by middle school, this becomes readily apparent. They tend to isolate themselves from other children who may ridicule them. Impulse control and lack of social skills may keep them away from team sports. So it’s important to help them select an activity that they can excel in. Individual sports like martial arts, swimming, or tennis can be great avenues to physical fitness and better self-esteem.

Common Pain Reliever Linked to ADHD

Study shows acetaminophen is associated with higher risk

Read More: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/02/24/acetaminophen-use-during-pregnancy-tied-to-adhd-behavioral-problems-in-children/

The February 24 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics reports that paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, may be linked to the increased reported cases of ADHD if it was taken during pregnancy. Acetaminophen is very commonly used by (it’s the active ingredient in Tylenol) and considered safe for pregnant women.

The study’s authors cite that more studies of acetaminophen are needed to confirm the findings, but their study showed that women who took acetaminophen while pregnant had a 37% higher risk of having a child who would be later given a medical diagnosis of ADHD compared to women who didn’t take it. Additionally, women who took acetaminophen also had a 29% higher chance of having children who were prescribed ADHD medications later in life. Those children would have a 13% higher chance of exhibiting ADHD-like behaviors by age seven.

These findings should be considered preliminary. In a editorial accompanying the research, JAMA Pediatrics stated, “Findings from this study should be interpreted cautiously and should not change practice. However, they underline the importance of not taking a drug’s safety during pregnancy for granted.”