An ever-growing number of Danish children are deemed to be suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and along with the increased number of diagnoses there has been a huge rise in both prescriptions and medication dosages.
In 2006-2007 Denmark saw a 40 percent rise in ADHD treatment for children, with a total of over 10,000 cases. The last survey of the Association of Danish Pharmacies, conducted in 2004, put the figure at just over 3,000 and the number is expected to keep rising according to news source, The Copenhagen Post.
Psychiatrist Dr Per Hove Thomsen of the Risskov Hospital claimed that the numbers will continue to grow and that he believes a figure of over 25,000 will soon be reached. “It’s only the most serious cases that come through the system to us, and the result is that the kids are often are diagnosed with ADHD much too late – after they’ve already been thrown out of several schools,” Thomsen told reporters.
However, ADHD is a label often applied by overly-concerned parents and schools that are frequently quick to medicate a normal, if slightly overactive child. The chief of the Danish Pedagogical Psychologists Association, Bjarne Nielsen, warned: “Many parents want us to make an ADHD diagnosis for their child. But that diagnosis is made based upon behavioural patterns and there can be uncertainty about whether those are actually symptoms of ADHD.” Nielsen added that in most cases a refusal merely resulted in parents seeking to obtain the medication from their own private doctor.
Nielsen suggested that the increased demands placed on today’s children, notably in the areas of homework and social conformity has meant that those who show signs of being different are often singled out as displaying some form of disorder where medication is a simple solution. ADHD medicine sales in Denmark last year amounted to around DKK 75 million.