Pulitzer Prize-Nominated Journalist Alan Schwarz Exposes the Truth Behind the National ADHD Epidemic
ADHD is an important topic for me—for many of us. I’m not shy about sharing my personal story of addiction and recovery. When investigative reporter Alan Schwarz, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, called to ask about my experience with ADHD medication, I told him everything: I told him how when I was 14 years old, I faked my way through a psychiatrist’s evaluation so I could get an Adderall prescription to help me improve my slipping grades. Furthermore, I also told him about what came after that. In addition, I shared the combination of alcohol, Adderall, and Valium I used to modulate my mood and academic performance in college. We also discussed my drunk driving arrest, my multiple trips to rehab, and it all started with that first taste of what Adderall could do for me. I was part of the ADHD epidemic.
ADHD Nation: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic, Schwarz’s equally fascinating and disturbing new book sheds much-needed light on the atrocities perpetrated by the ADHD epidemic and industrial complex. I’ve experienced and observed its wide-ranging impact first-hand over the past 20 years—in my personal life and, for the last decade, in my professional life. As the founder and CEO of Newport Academy, treating adolescents in recovery from mental health, eating disorders, trauma, and substance abuse, we’ve seen the negative stigmas posed against these disorders and addictions and have seen the toll it takes on them during the most precious years of their lives. Hence, we work with many kids who have abused ADHD medications. One of those clients even shared her story. This is brave. Consequently, I applaud her for having the courage to do so.
A Manufactured Epidemic
In a recent article in Scientific American, Schwarz details why he chose to write the book. In addition, he explains how his questions about this manufactured epidemic were not being answered:
“When I looked deeper, it was obvious that our nationwide system of ADHD treatment was completely scattershot—basically, many doctors were merely prescribing with little thought into whether a kid really had ADHD or not, and then the pills would be bought and sold among students who had no idea what they were messing with. I asked the ADHD and child-psychiatry establishment about this, and they denied it was happening. They denied that there were many false diagnoses…. They basically denied that anything about their world was malfunctioning at all. In the end, they doth protest too much.”
Given such denial, we need to take action. We need more eyes to open. Furthermore, I passionately hope that ADHD Nation will finally wake us up as a society to what’s happening around us. It is no less than horrifying. Why are so many bright, beautiful children being sucked into the ADHD epidemic by being put on highly potent prescription narcotics at such young ages? It’s particularly shameful given the fact that non-pharmaceutical, holistic approaches, such as diet and exercise have been proven to be just as, if not more, effective for the collection of symptoms we refer to as ADHD. This incredibly important book drives home the facts about the crimes against our children. From toddlers to teens, these crimes are being perpetrated right under our noses. Consequently, it is especially relevant for today. In conclusion, I urge all of you to read this book.
Here is an article I wrote on the topic of ADHD for Psychology Today.