Surprise! 1 in 4 Diagnosed Adults Fake ADHD


Throughout college, everyone these days knows a handful of young adults who have told their doctors they feel a bit impatient or restless (the “impatience” in this scenario being a laziness and the “restlessness” being code for, “Hey, let me push this during finals week so I can make an easy dollar”). The doctor more often than not diagnoses the patient with ADHD and complies to their “needs,” handing over a cherished year’s worth of Ritalin or Concerta, Adderall if they’re lucky. And while the large majority of us have at least once swallowed the magical pill that makes even the most boring of tasks seem epic, nobody should really be surprised to hear that 1 out of every 4 adults diagnosed with ADHD was probably faking it.

According to a recent article published in the Clinical Neuropsychologist, 22 percent of the 268 patients who took part in the study either embellished or faked their ADHD related symptoms.

Paul Marshall, lead author of the study, found that those who exaggerated their claims most likely had some degree of ADHD, yet found it suitable to make their own symptoms look worse in front of the examining doctor for various reasons. Most, however, were probably doing it in hopes of accessing concentration-boosting prescription pills.

ADHD is a tricky thing to diagnose. But the issue here is clear: claiming to have ADHD is far too easy nowadays, and the disability has somehow morphed into a trend that nearly anyone can be part of, or in this case, fake. Marshall himself suggested this, stating, “A lot of people think they have it because they are struggling, but it’s not because of ADHD… Often times, it’s simply depression, anxiety or lack of sleep.”

In MSNBC’s take on the subject, they asked, “Why would someone want ADHD medications so badly?” Well, here are a few possibilities: Because it makes you invincible. Because it makes brick walls interesting. Because it makes food and sleep unnecessary. And because even besides the fact that it very well might just be a placebo after all, it’s still easier to get than heroin off the internet.


This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 29, 2011

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