Alan Schwarz has an amazing, but not very surprising, article in this past weekends NYTimes. The quote that seems to be getting the most play is about phrama-sponsored online quizzes to help adults self diagnose their own ADHD. But I think this is far more insidious:
Shire — the longtime market leader, with several A.D.H.D. medications including Adderall — recently subsidized 50,000 copies of a comic book that tries to demystify the disorder and uses superheroes to tell children, “Medicines may make it easier to pay attention and control your behavior!”
Most kids diagnoses with ADHD don't really have ADHD. ADHD is a difficult to diagnose psychological condition GPs and pediatricians are not always well suited make. The sorts of marketing that Shire and other drug makers only muddies the waters.
Parents don't want to hear they need to take their kid to a shrink for extensive psychological tests. They want their kid to stop screaming at the teacher over failed spelling tests. Parents also don't want to hear that their kid is acting out is caused by "environmental factors."
Drugs are a better solution — at least for Shire quarterly earnings.