Are physicians too quick to medicate for ADHD?

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Between the year 1990 and 1998 the number of children and adults diagnosed with ADHD rose dramatically. In 1990 those diagnosed were estimated to be around 900,000; this number is now approaching 5 million. Many psychologists feel that these numbers are reflective of tendencies of physicians to be too quick to medicate. According to Esther Fine, PhD, a psychoanalyst in private practice in Los Angeles, the etiology of the disease is not understood well enough; while it may be that there are a variety of instances where neurological causes are central to cases of ADHD, children may be just as, or more, responsive to psychotherapy. According to Fine, “Unfortunately, it is now a prevalent notion that it is no longer necessary or relevant to understand the unconscious meaning of psychological symptom… It’s becoming a popular idea to consider psychoanalysis, and even psychotherapy, ‘dinosaurs’ in the treatment of mental disorders.” Mark D. Smaller, PhD, a psychoanalyst in private practice in Chicago, commenting, relayed that he felt much of the problem was due to the desire of parents and teachers to have a quick fix for unwanted child and adolescent behaviors. Click here to read an article from Medpage Today that discusses this study more.

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