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Pediatricians in Quebec raise alarm due to over-treating children

Hyperactivity tablets Adderall. The use of ADHD drugs is much more common in Kuebec than elsewhere in Canada, statistics show.

JB Reed / T Bloomberg Nevs

A group of 48 pediatricians and researchers condemn the sharp increase in the number of children in Quebec with the diagnosis of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the use of medication for treatment.

The group invites all involved – including parents, teachers, psychologists and doctors – to reconsider their decision-making when it comes to whether the child should be treated for the treatment of behavioral problems.

In an open letter, health experts express regret over the fact that society has become too comfortable when it comes to the use of drugs in response to behavioral problems.

Referring to the National Institute for Healthcare and Social Services statistics, they also claim that the use of ADHD drugs is much more common in Kuebec than elsewhere in Canada.

From 10 to 12 years, 13.97% of young people use psychostimulant drugs in Kuebeck. This rate is increasing to 14.5% among young people aged 13 to 17. In the rest of the country, rates for the same age groups are only 5.08% and 4.3%.

Pediatrician Gui Falardeau says this trend is worrying because it shows that parents are increasingly trying to cure children with medications instead of looking for other causes related to mental health, emotions and the social environment of the child.

When a child has a behavioral problem, we prefer to call him ADHD and give them medication. "

"When a child has a behavioral problem, we would rather call it ADHD and give them drugs instead of examining why they act the way they are," Falardo said.

"The danger is that in some cases we are actually treating ADHD, but in others we simply conceal the problem of mental health."

Falardeau warns that masking anxiety or other disorders by taking drugs ends with the postponement of the moment when the problem inevitably explodes. Mental illnesses are more difficult to treat as they have to progress more, he stressed.

"What we want is that children are properly assessed," he said. "We need to help those who have emotional or social issues, and do not change the behavior of a child with medication."

Parents who spoke to La Presse Canadienne all argued that the problem was mostly a matter of "schooling".

Parents of a boy who could not sit still when they started school said they were promptly alerted to the problem and told them to consider medication.

"They did not push us, but we felt like we had to do something," said the father.


A few consultations later, they were told that their son had ADHD. After that, a prescription for medicines followed.

However, the drug, said the father, worked only during the school day. At night and on weekends, his son does not take medication and he is good. "He's moving, he's engaged in sports."

The father said he was wondering if the real question is whether children are spending enough energy in school.

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