ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Psychiatric Association today announced that it has changed the medical definition of ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) to allow participating psychiatrists to prescribe medications such as Ritalin and Adderall for a wider range of symptoms, ranging from severe over-activity to mildly-annoying behavior to a student’s upcoming exam.
“We felt that the perceived benefits of enhanced mental-capacity brought about by the use of ADHD medication could no longer be limited to those who truly had severe disorders threatening their ability to enjoy a normal life,” said APA President-Elect Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D. “Plus, we were sick of all the parents camping out on our lawns begging us to label their kid ADHD so he could get into a good school.”
The widespread use of un-prescribed ADHD medication to improve mental ability right before an important test, exam, or extra-hard sudoku has become widespread in schools and universities across America. This practice, known as “Armstronging,” has become so popular and produced such impressive results that parents have learned to look the other way when their son or daughter makes an illegal purchase out of the back of an unmarked van. In some cases, they have even procured the illicit medication for their children themselves.
“I know that drugs are bad. I grew up in the 80s. I’ve got Just Say No tattooed on the inside of my brain. But the damn things work,” said a Fort Lauderdale, Florida mother of a high school junior who refused to identify herself due to the deep and abiding shame she feels regarding her lax attitude. “Last week Jared built a rocket in the garage and put it into orbit. Hello? Can you say Yale?
Stories such as this have given new hope to parents of children who, until now, had no chance of attending a top Ivy League school. Hoping to score an ADHD diagnosis for their sub-par children, they had been reduced to faking symptoms and lying to their child’s doctor. The APA’s new definition has reintroduced honesty to the equation.
“I remember one father who came to me with tall tales of his daughter gutting small animals and sleeping with random delivery men in an attempt to get me to diagnose her as ADHD,” recalled Boston-based child psychiatrist Elizabeth Childs, M.D. “But now he can just come in and say she’s studying for the SATs. He can keep his dignity.”
Over the last 10 years, diagnosis of ADHD has increased 50 percent, and roughly 6.5 million children have been diagnosed with the disorder at some point in their lives. This makes ADHD one of the fastest growing mental disorders in the country, and pharmaceutical companies developing drugs like Adderall, Concerta, and other stimulants are reaping the benefits. Since 2007, sales of medications to treat ADHD have more than doubled to a $9 billion profit in 2012.
“The ultimate goal is to have every child in America diagnosed with the disorder, “ says Angus Russell, CEO of Shire, the manufacturer of Vyvanse. “Children are America’s future, and getting them all on our drugs will ensure that America will succeed. And that’s all I want.”
“I feel confident that this new definition of ADHD is the right thing to do,” echoed Dr. Lieberman. “Not only will it help the large number of people who really are suffering from this condition, but it will boost the self-esteem for millions of otherwise-healthy children who can suddenly conjugate a verb or whatever. Plus, as an added benefit, more and more of us who have to deal with children day after day are finally going to get some peace and quiet.”