Annals of Clinical Psychiatry

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 55–62 | Cite as

Are Stimulants Overprescribed for Youths with ADHD?

  • Daniel J. Safer


Critics of stimulant treatment for youths with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have increased their rhetoric of late, contending that the leading medication for it, Ritalin®, is vastly overprescribed. Additionally, they claim that Ritalin (methylphenidate) is inherently dangerous and that the entire system of the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD is seriously flawed. The critics view the underlying reason for the “epidemic” as societal, due to our modern pace of living, our competitive society, and our consumer emphasis. Rejoinders to and clarifications of the more tangible points of the critics are presented, followed by a discussion of some more practical and legitimate concerns for researchers in this area. These concerns include changes within the ADHD category, the clinical need for multiple sources of diagnostic data, infrequent teacher–physician communication, problematic ADHD/conduct disorder comorbidity in adolescence, and the limited amount of community-based research.

attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder methylphenidate stimulants controversy 


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Copyright information

© American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel J. Safer
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Psychiatry and PediatricsJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimore

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