COMMENTARY

ADD and Stimulant Use: An Epidemic of Modernity

Michael E. Ruff, MD, FAAP

Disclosures

February 06, 2007

The Role of Parents and Schools

In 1970, it was estimated that 150,000 American children were taking stimulants.[46] Over 3 million US children currently take stimulant medication.[41] Americans use 90% of the stimulants used worldwide. Stimulant use varies 5-fold among states and 20-fold in different communities within states. These facts lend support to the cultural hypothesis.[47] In the Great Smoky Mountain study, stimulant treatment was being used in ways substantially inconsistent with current diagnostic guidelines.[3,23] This implies that, to some extent, the ADHD diagnosis is being used as a maculate canopy to justify the use of stimulants for a wide range of performance and behavioral problems in children. The following case summary serves to illustrate this point.

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