Mudcat Café message #1609982 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #86484   Message #1609982
Posted By: Mark Cohen
21-Nov-05 - 02:42 AM
Thread Name: ADHD- Ritalin
Subject: RE: ADHD- Ritalin
Not really, bobad. I learned about it as a medical student in 1975, and have been diagnosing and treating children with it since 1980. I would say it started to become more commonly diagnosed in the 70's, which is one reason we Boomers don't remember many kids with the diagnosis. When they were in our classes, we just called them troublemakers, or annoying...or, unfortunately, "dumb." The prevalence of ADHD does not seem to be increasing rapidly, as does that of autism, for example. What has happened since the mid-1990's, which no doubt makes it seem more prevalent, is the Internet.

As a point of terminology, the phrase in Peace's post above, "ADHD and Attention Deficit Disorder," is incorrect. "ADD" is no longer part of the official lexicon, though it's still widely used. Current approved terminology is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), of which there are three types: Predominantly Inattentive, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined. In reality, the second type, hyperactivity and impulsivity without inattentiveness, is quite rare. The hyperactive symptoms often resolve by adolescence, but the inattentiveness and difficulty with organization seem to be lifelong.

By the way, I once heard a lecturer give an interesting explanation for why ADHD seems to be so much more prevalent in the US than in the UK. We know that there is a strong genetic component to ADHD. We also know that one of the characteristics of ADHD is a sense of restlessness and insatiability, the feeling that what's "over there" has got to be better than what's right here. So, back in the 18th and 19th centuries, when there were ships sitting at the dock waiting to go to America, who was more likely to get on board--the person who was content with his lot, or the person who was sure that there had to be something better "over there"? Those traits, then, which were often associated with ADHD, tended to be more highly represented in the American population than in Europe. Seems reasonable to me.