ADHD Nation: The Story of the Most Misdiagnosed Condition in American Medicine
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ADHD and related medical conditions certainly exist; Europe went through this same dilemma between the 1970s and 1980s with children although not so much deliberate excessive diagnosis of adults to facilitate loose prescription by doctors and other professionals.
It was at one point perfectly possible for a young person to go to their GP and say “I have exams or night shift work to do and am excessively tired” and walk out with a script for dexys. GPs (who can self-treat although it is traditionally discouraged) were not averse to using amfetamine themselves to get through long NHS shifts or studying for further exams to qualify as specialists. It was once widely prescribed to those who wished to lose weight. All this stopped around the early 1970s as public healthcare services across Europe (which were still fairly new concepts) increasingly had to deal with the fallout from psychological addiction, psychosis and all the other unpleasantness that excessive long term stim use might lead to. At that point the loose prescription stopped; to the point that street amfetamine in the UK and Europe is extremely rarely diverted from pharm sources (and is apparently now quite hard to get in good quality as it gets contaminated with cathinones and/or the now illegal NPS stims).
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