In the 1990s, doctors started commonly prescribing ADHD medicine.
Decades later, a study finds a surge in calls to poison control centers for youth improperly exposed to ADHD medication, whether it's theirs or others prescription.
Kelsey Seybold's Dr. Amy Lothian said it’s how meds are controlled. She tells parents of young children:
“You need to control this medicine. Your child does not self-administer it. You need to put it some place safe where your kids can’t get a hold of it. You treat it like it’s a narcotic,” said Lothian.
And, for college students, if they're asking for refills too soon or overfilling, she's on the phone to find out why. She has no problem denying refill requests if she feels there is any abuse happening.
As of 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds more than six-million children (ages two through 17) had at some point been diagnosed with ADHD. About 6 in 10 currently with ADHD took medication. Between 2003 and 2011, (ages four through 17) diagnosed at some point with ADHD rose from 4.4 million to 6.4 million.
Lothian says it's very important that the diagnosis is correct.
“It’s very important that the doctor does the correct evaluation so there’s standardized testing that needs to be done when you’re trying to figure out if a child has attention deficit. Just talking to the parent and talking to the child is not enough,” said Lothian.
She said there are children who are getting misdiagnosed at parent's urging. There’s also some over-diagnoses. Lothian said parents need to be proactive and advocate for your child.
Once a child is evaluated, it might be found that there is more than one issue going on at the same time (co-morbidities)--like depression, anxiety, or another mental issue.
Also, nowadays, children's behavior, as well as what parents AND educators have to say all comes into place when you go to the pediatrician. If any of those three don't match, the child needs to be seen by a psychiatrist, or at least a psychologist.