Medicines to treat Attention Deficit Disorders are in short supply in the U.S. Hundreds of patients are complaining daily to the FDA that they can’t find pharmacy’s that carry enough pills to fill their prescriptions (NYT, Jan.1, 2012). The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has joined the clamor saying shortages will be “devastating” for children.

The truth is, there is no shortage of pills; there are plenty of the high-priced brands available, it’s only the generics that are in short supply. Pharmaceutical manufacturers like Novartis, make both a branded and a generic version of Ritalin, Shire does the same for Adderall XR; both companies have assured suppliers that their stock of branded drugs is adequate.

This is not about availability of ADHD drugs; the critical underlying issue that needs to be addressed is that doctors are prescribing too many drugs for children. In 2010, doctors wrote 51.5 million prescriptions for ADHD drugs, with a total sales value of $7.42 billion. This represents an increase of 89% from the $4.8 billion sold in 2006. Doctors are diagnosing ADHD with such frequency that 1 out of every 7 kids in America is currently classified as developmentally disabled.

This increase in diagnosis is of course accompanied by the rise of drugs to treat the symptoms. Psychiatrists and psychiatric research is dependent on the pharmaceutical industry; their enormous profitability allows them to buy a lot of direct to consumer marketing. Their message is that if you are feeling anything other than wonderful in every moment, you could be suffering from a disease. If you’re feeling sad, shy, unfocused and over-active, tired, or angry you better call your doctor, because you could be suffering from depression, social anxiety disorder, ADHD, narcolepsy, or an emotional expressive disorder. The list of symptoms is endless, and we are creating more and more diagnoses for which there are always new drugs, and it has become customary for adults and children to take more than one.(see Schlagbytes, 7/10/05; 5/7/08; 2/21/10; 12/3/10)

We can solve this market driven crisis not by manufacturing more drugs, but by prohibiting direct to consumer marketing by pharmaceutical manufacturers.

I talk about this subject in detail, in my new book mini E-book, Stop Your Sh*t Shoveling. (… among many other self-defeating behaviors… I think you’ll like it, and if it speaks to you, or if you know others who needs to make changes in their lives you’ll want to tell them about it.