Pharma Discovers “Geriatric ADHD”

Pharma has already discovered the huge profits in labeling school children, toddlers and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Now, according to some reports, it has discovered “geriatric ADHD.”

“For years, ADHD has been considered a disorder of kids and younger adults. Now, doctors are realizing older people have it too—and it’s sometimes mistaken for dementia recently reported the Wall Street Journal.

Patients may be incorrectly diagnosed with having the cognitive impairments that precede dementia when they actually have ADHD say medical professionals interviewed in the article. Psychiatrist David Goodman at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has already treated over 800 seniors for ADHD, says the Journal.

The expanding diagnosis of ADHD has made stimulants like Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall one of Pharma’s biggest franchises. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 6 million U.S. children now carry the diagnosis of ADHD. Worse, more than 10,000 2- and 3-year-olds in the U.S. are on the drugs reported the New York Times thanks to Pharma’s hoodwinking of doctors, teachers and parents.

How can a toddler have “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder”?  What two-year-old is not hyperactive?

Are You Sure You Don’t Have Adult ADHD?

After the child ADHD franchise peaked, Pharma rolled out “adult ADHD.” According to a Pharma site selling ADHD drugs, adults with “adult ADHD”

Often makes careless mistakes and lacks attention to details

Often has difficulty paying attention to tasks

Often seems to not listen when spoken to directly

Often fails to follow through on instructions, chores, or duties in the workplace

Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities

Often avoids… or is reluctant to participate in tasks requiring sustained mental effort

Often loses things like tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, and mobile phones

Often easily distracted by other things

Often forgetful in daily activities, such as running errands, returning calls, paying bills, and keeping appointments

Who does that not describe, especially when we haven’t had enough sleep or are working a boring job? Who doesn’t have a brother-in-law who could be the poster boy for “adult ADHD”?

People younger than Gen Xers may not remember that drugs like Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall were once street drugs that went by names like “Black Beauties,” “White Cross” and “LA Turnrarounds” and of course “meth.”

Adults treating their “ADHD” today with prescribed rather than street drugs are just doing what truck drivers, factory workers, athletes, students, people working two jobs, anyone not getting enough sleep and party animals have done for over 50 years: use speed to make boring and repetitive tasks bearable and even interesting. The only thing different is that Pharma is now the pusher.

The sham of “adult ADHD” was even revealed a few years ago in the medical literature.  In 2017 the New York Times reported “A new study suggests that adult-onset A.D.H.D. is rare — if it exists at all.” The study that the Times cited “all but ruled out adult-onset A.D.H.D. as a stand-alone diagnosis,” and asserted that “Most apparent cases of adult-onset attention deficits are likely the result of substance abuse or mood problems.”

If everyone whose “attention” improves on speed has “adult ADHD,” it could just as easily be claimed that everyone has an “anxiety disorder” since an alcoholic beverage relaxes everyone!

It is amazing that government regulatory bodies have allowed a medical sham in which Pharma enriches itself selling street drugs for a disease it essentially invented.

Watch Out For Pharma Marketing

“Speed” hardly needs selling. An April 26, 2010 segment of “60 Minutes” reported on a survey of nearly 2,000 students at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, that found 34 percent of undergraduates had taken ADHD drugs without a prescription, with the number climbing the longer students were in school. Fifty to 60 percent of juniors and seniors were taking them, Alan DeSantis, a communications professor at the University of Kentucky who was shocked at the drugs’ popularity on campus, told Katie Couric.

But ADHD marketing is also very aggressive.

To sell the “disease” of adult ADHD, drug maker Shire launched a Nationwide Adult ADHD Mobile Awareness Tour replete with “self-screening stations.” Concerta makers ran ads four times per hour on a 26 x 20 foot CBS jumbotron in New York City that said “Can’t focus? Can’t sit still? Could you or your child have ADHD?” They also sent text ads–short enough to not cause attention deficit problems.

The discovery of “geriatric ADHD” could be another goldmine for Pharma. Can we soon expect jumbotron asking if our father or mother can’t focus or sit still?

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).