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TOPIC: Diagnosis: Human

Diagnosis: Human 04 Apr 2013 20:34 #82

Diagnosis: Human
Posted April 2, 2013 by Ted Gup


The news that 11 percent of school-age children now receive a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — some 6.4 million — gave me a chill. My son David was one of those who received that diagnosis.

In his case, he was in the first grade. Indeed, there were psychiatrists who prescribed medication for him even before they met him. One psychiatrist said he would not even see him until he was medicated. For a year I refused to fill the prescription at the pharmacy. Finally, I relented. And so David went on Ritalin, then Adderall, and other drugs that were said to be helpful in combating the condition.

In another age, David might have been called “rambunctious.” His battery was a little too large for his body. And so he would leap over the couch, spring to reach the ceiling and show an exuberance for life that came in brilliant microbursts.

As a 21-year-old college senior, he was found on the floor of his room, dead from a fatal mix of alcohol and drugs. The date was Oct. 18, 2011.

No one made him take the heroin and alcohol, and yet I cannot help but hold myself and others to account. I had unknowingly colluded with a system that devalues talking therapy and rushes to medicate, inadvertently sending a message that self-medication, too, is perfectly acceptable.

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Continue reading: www.nytimes.com/2013/04/03/opinion/diagnosis-human.html
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