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The Sunday Times carries a long front-page article about a young man, Richard Fee, who committed suicide.
The article claims: "Medications like Adderall can markedly improve the lives of children and others with the disorder. But the tunnel-like focus the medicines provide has led growing numbers of teenagers and young adults to fake symptoms to obtain steady prescriptions for highly addictive medications that carry serious psychological dangers."
But the article contains no evidence or proof of this claim that "growing numbers of teenagers and young adults" have faked symptoms. It's a claim that would be hard to prove, because you'd have to rely on someone self-reporting that they lied, and anyone who admits that they lied is someone whose testimony might well be considered not 100% reliable.
The article goes on to blame Fee's doctor and the drug manufacturer for his suicide. Fee himself, and his parents, don't get blamed or scrutinized much at all.
It all seems an oversimplification, or a search for a convenient scapegoat.
Surely there's room for critical reporting on psychiatry and psychoactive drugs. And there are some caveats down toward the very end of the article about how mental health "experts" "cautioned that Richard Fee's experience is instructive less in its ending than its evolution."
Still, the overall gist of the article ends up as "don't let your kid's doctor prescribe him drugs for A.D.H.D., he'll end up committing suicide."
That's unsupported by the data overall. The article reports that "prescriptions to young adults for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder more than doubled in four years," from 2007 to 2011. What the article does not point out is that the suicide rate over the same period didn't increase by anything approaching that level (it went from 11.5 per 100,000 in 2007 to 12.4 in 2010, the most recent year available, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention). An earlier Times article attributed that rise in the suicide rate not to increased treatment for A.D.H.D. but rather to the economic downturn.
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