February 3, 2013

TREATING ADHD BY ADDICTING KIDS TO AMPHETAMINES?

Medications like Adderall can markedly improve the lives of children and others with the disorder. But the tunnel-like focus the medicines provide has led growing numbers of teenagers and young adults to fake symptoms to obtain steady prescriptions for highly addictive medications that carry serious psychological dangers. These efforts are facilitated by a segment of doctors who skip established diagnostic procedures, renew prescriptions reflexively and spend too little time with patients to accurately monitor side effects.

Richard Fee’s experience included it all. Conversations with friends and family members and a review of detailed medical records depict an intelligent and articulate young man lying to doctor after doctor, physicians issuing hasty diagnoses, and psychiatrists continuing to prescribe medication — even increasing dosages — despite evidence of his growing addiction and psychiatric breakdown.

All too often, boys are medicated for acting like . . . boys.

On the other hand: “Blowing through a month’s worth of Adderall in a few weeks” is hyperbole. “A few weeks” not much less than “a month.” Math is not the Times’ strong suit.