Statement of the Honorable Dan Burton
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder-Are We Over-Medicating Our Children?

September 26,2002

Good morning. Our children are our future. I doubt that there is a single member of Congress that does not feel strongly that we need to do our dead-level best to protect and improve the health and well-being of our nation's children.

Today we are going to talk about a group of symptoms known as attention disorders. In the last two decades, we have heard more and more about attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).

How are Attention Disorders Diagnosed?
Imagine being a parent of a young child and receiving a note from your school instructing you to take your child to their pediatrician for evaluation. In this note from the school is a checklist for you to take to the doctor. The school officials have diagnosed your child as possibly having ADHD. They make this diagnosis because your child makes careless mistakes on homework, does not follow through on instructions, fails to finish schoolwork, has difficulty organizing tasks, looses things, and is forgetful in daily activities.

When you take your child to your doctor, instead of blood tests and a thorough medical evaluation, you have a conversation about the school's checklist and leave a few minutes later with a prescription for your young child for a psychotropic drug.

Did the doctor test your child for a thyroid disorder? Did your doctor test for heavy metal toxicities? Did your doctor talk to you about your child's allergies? Did your doctor even mention nutrition or possible food sensitivities? Did your doctor ask you if your child's IQ had been tested and if he was gifted? Probably not.

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