Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder isn't a diagnosis designed to help identify and treat children -- it's a condition tailor-made to sell meds.
And it's sold A LOT of meds.
A new analysis finds that the number of kids on meds like Ritalin and Adderall has jumped an average of 3.4 percent a year every year since 1996 -- culminating in 2.8 million children on these drugs by 2008.
As bad as that is, that's only part of the story -- because while the number of younger kids taking these meds increased slowly but steadily, the number of older kids on them positively skyrocketed: From 2.3 percent of kids between 13 and 18 in 1996, to 4.9 percent of them by 2008.
If you're a drug company that makes millions selling these dangerous and addictive stimulant drugs to children, that's a Very Big Deal -- because you can bet most of those kids didn't suddenly stop taking the meds on their 18th birthdays.
Nope… they're keeping at it, joining the growing ranks of the medicated young adults -- some of whom have been taking the drugs for so long now that they don't even know what "normal" feels like anymore.
Other age groups also saw boosts, with the 6-to-12 crowd rising from 4.3 percent in 1996 to 5.1 percent on 2008. The only group that didn't see an increase was preschoolers -- and you can bet that's already been noted and is being worked on as you read this.
But if your child or grandchild is starting to turn into a pain and you've been told he has ADHD, don't turn to the meds that have been linked to violence, bizarre behavior and even suicide.
Turn to better habits instead.
Studies have consistently shown that even the wildest ADHD mini monsters can turn around when processed foods, starches, and food colorings are taken out of their diet.
One study earlier this year found dramatic improvements in 78 percent of children given an all-natural diet with no processed foods. And even an FDA panel has admitted that food dyes can send an ADHD kid spiraling out of control.
Finally, never underestimate the power of a little fresh air.
Another new study finds that kids with ADHD who are exposed to regular "green time" -- time to play in an open area outside, not just a playground -- have much milder symptoms than kids who are cooped up inside.
Put it all together, and you get a pretty simple formula: normal food + normal activity = a normal kid.
Just make sure your kids get their sleep, too. Keep reading to find out why.