ADHD’s Rapid Rise: 5 Theories [And One Answer]

by CCHR—THE WEEK posted a pretty good article called “ADHD’s Rapid Rise: 5 Theories” — pretty good because though several of their theories may play some part in why so many kids are diagnosed ADHD, they never quite nail the answer. So we did. Adding to their 5 points of various theories, we (CCHR) present you with point number 6: The actual answer.

THE WEEK posted a pretty good article called “ADHD’s Rapid Rise: 5 Theories”—   pretty good because though several of their theories may play some part  in why so many kids are diagnosed ADHD,  they never quite nail the answer.  So we did.
Adding to their 5 points of various theories,  we present you with point number 6: The actual answer:

Psychiatrists got together and decided to pathologize normal childhood behavior into a mental disorder and call it ADHD.  They created a checklist of behaviors, took a vote on it, and voilà! A whole new client base was born – kids. With the help of billions in Pharma funds spent on shrinks to promote ADHD in journals, on TV and in press, glossy ads in magazines, slick lobbyists to “educate” members of Congress about it,  and the creation of Pharma front groups such as Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (CHADD) to infiltrate schools endorsing the so-called disease —an epidemic of “mentally ill” children was born.    And that’s the real reason for the “rapid rise” in kids diagnosed ADHD and put on drugs.  Drugs the U.S.  Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) categorizes in the same class of highly addictive substances as cocaine and morphine—drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta — documented by the US FDA to cause hallucinations, mania, heart attack, stroke, sudden death to name but a few.    And it all starts with one simple thing: The Diagnosis. (We challenge anyone to find a kid that would not fit some, if not all of psychiatry’s criteria for a “mentally ill” child they call ADHD.
Psychiatry’s exact list of “ADHD” criteria (and it does not require all of them to result in an ADHD label):

  • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play.
  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  • Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
  • Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
  • Avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework).
  • Loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
  • Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
  • Forgetful in daily activities.
  • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
  • Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected.
  • Runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness).
  • Has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly.
  • Appears “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor.”
  • Talks excessively.

And there you have it.  The Answer:  Psychiatry plus Big Pharma plus Billions in Marketing = Epidemic of “ADHD” Kids.


One in 10 U.S. kids has been diagnosed with ADHD, a significant increase. Are “hypochondriac” parents jumping to conclusions — or are other factors at play?

Best Opinion: NPR, Strollerderby, ParentDish…

Almost 10 percent of U.S. kids have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a survey of parents conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a shocking 22 percent jump over 2003 figures — representing an additional 1 million children — and the increase was seen in all races, income levels, and areas of the U.S., with the exception of the West. What’s behind the rise? Here are 5 theories:

1. Doctors are doing a better job of diagnosing ADHD
Improvements in screening programs and greater awareness of the disorder among parents and doctors have helped identify more cases, says CDC epidemiologist Susanna Visser,  , the report’s lead author. “We have become much more sensitive to behavioral differences,” agrees Dr. Jeffrey Brosco,  an ADHD expert at the University of Miami. But that doesn’t mean doctors can say “whether kids in the 1970s are really different from kids in the ’90s or the 2000s.”

2. Demographics
The increases were more significant in certain demographic groups, note Scott Hensley at NPR. “The biggest jumps were seen in children between 15 and 17 and among Hispanic or multiracial children.” The jump in Hispanic ADHD cases likely reflects “greater cultural acceptance of the disorder.” Mysteriously, increases were particularly significant in 12 states, says Ray Hainer at CNN. North Carolina, for example saw a 63 percent spike in cases, with 15.6 percent of its kids diagnosed with ADHD.

3. Big Pharma is pushing the cure
Of the 5.4 million kids diagnosed with ADHD, the CDC reports, 2.7 million are taking medication for the condition. You have to question “the role of pharmacological companies in all of this,” says University of Kentucky psychiatrist John D. Ranseen. “It is very much in their interest to increase the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.” That alone should “give the mental health field pause.”

4. Blame our lousy diet
Nobody really knows what causes ADHD, says David Knowles in AOL News, but “one recent study suggested a correlation with a diet high in processed and fried foods.” Intriguingly, new research also ties ADHD to obesity in adulthood, says Healther Turgeon in Strollerderby. There’s no proof — yet — that one causes the other, but “the two are correlated.”

5. The real spike is in “paranoid” parents
“Are kids really that messed up?” asks Tom Henderson in ParentDish. “Or are parents becoming a bunch of second-party psychological hypochondriacs?” Remember, these million extra ADHD cases are “parent-reported diagnoses,” and today’s parents have been known to be “all too eager to control normal childhood restlessness and general weirdness by bombing kids with Ritalin.” Because, after all, “children often have the attention spans of, uh, children.”