DSM 5 Will Further Inflate The ADD Bubble
We are already in the midst of a false epidemic of ADD. Rates in kids that were 3-5% when DSM IV was published in 1994 have now jumped to 10%. In part this came from changes in DSM IV, but most of the inflation was caused by a marketing blitz to practitioners that accompanied new on-patent drugs amplified by new regulations that also allowed direct to consumer advertising to parents and teachers. In a sensible world, DSM 5 would now offer much tighter criteria for ADD and much clearer advice on the steps needed in its differential diagnosis. This would push back ,however feebly, against the skilled and well financed drug company sell. DSM 5 should work hard to improve its text, not play carelessly with the ADD criteria in a way that may unleash a whole set of dreadful unintended consequences- unneeded medication, stigma, lowered expectations, misallocation of resources, and contribution to the illegal secondary market peddling stimulants for recreation or performance enhancement.
The DSM 5 child and adolescent work group has perversely gone just the other way. It proposes to make an already far too easy diagnosis much looser.