“Medicines to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are in such short supply that hundreds of patients complain daily to the Food and Drug Administration that they are unable to find a pharmacy with enough pills to fill their prescriptions.
The shortages are a result of a troubled partnership between drug manufacturers and the Drug Enforcement Administration, with companies trying to maximize their profits and drug enforcement agents trying to minimize abuse by people, many of them college students, who use the medications to get high or to stay up all night.” (via NYTimes.com).
As a psychophwho did early research and treatment of the putative condition of “adult ADHD”, I have come to believe that around 90% of diagnoses with this disorder are specious. A careful clinical decision about whether stimulants should be prescribed has to go much further than simply deciding if the pt will benefit from (or enjoy) being on these medications, for that would be true of most people. Such care is rarely applied in the evaluation of those who end up receiving a stimulant prescription. While the NYTimes article touches upon the tragedy of auto accidents and job loss that arises from attention-disordered patients not getting their medications, I see patients all the time who are victims of misdiagnosis and misprescribing. This is no moralistic diatribe against “abuse”, which is often in the eyes of the beholder, but based rather on the real adverse and dire consequences, including strokes, seizures, addiction, depressive ‘crashes’ from abrupt cessation, and suicide. Not to mention the contribution to the shortsighed and pervasive promulgation of the paradigm that better living through chemistry is the only way to attain better living. We have crippled a generation of patients with such a message of pharmacological materialism.