If anyone reads this thread and doesn't take anything away from what I am about to say, please talk with your healthcare professional managing your medications before stopping or discontinuing meds. Any medicine such as the stimulants used to treat ADHD and even SSRI meds such as Paxil and Zoloft have very serious consequences from discontinuing them abruptly. This can range from "withdrawals", to hallucinations, to heart and lung issues and even potentially result in suicidal thoughts or actions or spontaneous death.
I am a licensed nurse with a 4 year degree, so I figure I can share some information from the other side of the fence.
There are legitimate causes for conditions used as diagnosesthat are being attacked by this thread. Granted, there is such a thing as over-eagerness to medicate for certain issues, but hear me out first. Not all diagnoses are accurate, but not all are fake problems either. I've seen for myself when working in my psych rotations how big of an impact PTSD, Bipolar disorder, and to a lesser degree ADHD can make on a person's life-- those that have a serious and uncontrolled case quite literally can no longer carry on a normal functional livelihood outside of medication therapy. Sometimes, medication is a simple requirement to assist with recovery and management.
To rephrase this: if you have high blood pressure, you are probbly going to be prescribed a medication for it such as labetalol or lisinopril AS WELL AS lifestyle modification. Mental conditions are just as legitimate as cardiac, pulmonary or any other variety of condition and they're treated in the same way-- lifestyle modification and pharmacotherapy.
Without going into much detail about each condition mentioned:
ADHD is caused by a dopamine imbalance in the brain, essentially, there is a chemical missing in the brain which normally would keep nerve impulses traveling straight where they need to go. Without this chemical (called a neuroreceptor), thoughts can "short-circuit" and activate other parts of the brain. So, where a thought might have been on writing down notes in a class, instead a message travels to fiddle with pages of a book. For some individuals, stimulant medications or others such as Vyvanse are used to help make the impulses go faster and arrive where they are supposed to go instead of veering to the wrong place. There is also a known correlation of a smaller left prefrontal lobe, which is inherent in impulse-control. This has been documented by several researchers such as Bush G, Valera EM, Seidman LJ and others.
Bipolar disorder is from a chronic imbalance between dopamine and serotonin. This requires a difficul management because patients can swap from a depression phase to a more outgoing/aggressive/ pushy mindset called manic phase.as such, they require different drugs to manage-- antidepressants for Dep. Phase, lithium or other mood stabilizers for manic stage. Lithium is a dangerous drug and must be monitored carefully to prevent interactions. So if you are diagnosed with this condition or know someone who is, encourage them to follow their plan closely. Medicated BPD can be very effective for compliant patients but the effects could be quite severe if untreated (risky activities, suicide, reckless behavior, aggressiveness, etc).
PTSD-- post-traumatic stress disorder is a fairly new diagnosis in the psych field. As such, there is not a lot of conreete evidence and it's a strong area of debate whether the effects are genetic, environmental or both. what is known, however, is there are new neurotransmitters being discovered that pare present in PTSD patients but much lower levels or nonexistent in those without the condition. They're distinguishable form standard depression though something new called a dexamethasone suppression test, which works with roughly 93% accuracy. They also tend to secrete less cortisol in the urine (it's being retained more) and more cathecholamines are being excreted (basically by-products of added stress)compared to nondiagnosed pateints.
While diseases may be overmedicated, they are LEGITIMATE conditions that deserve recognition just as equal as other conditions such as heart attacks and colon cancer.
Diagnosing young children and adults is different because chemically and socially, adults and children respond to stress differently. While an adult might not take up bed-wetting after losing his job, moving from a family home as a child may very well make the child relapse into bedwetting. This applies to other areas and conditions, so sometimes early diagnosis of conditions with any accuracy is difficult. Hormonal shifts only complicate this in teens, but that's not to say that their problems are not legitimate.