ADHD spending up by two-thirds

What with childhood obesity, knife crime and internet bullying, it's tough being a kid in Britain these days.

Child with ADHD
  1. ADHD
  2. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  3. Education
  4. Prescription drugs
  5. Ritalin
  6. Children
  7. Mental health
  8. Counselling
  9. Family doctor
  10. Teaching

And the news that spending on ADHD drugs has "soared by two-thirds" would suggest that the next generation are already reliant on prescription drugs.

Over the past four years, the cost of prescriptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have risen by 65 per cent to a massive £31m of taxpayers' money, according to data released under the Freedom of Information Act.

It seems rather than suggest counselling, therapy and some good old-fashioned discipline, today's GPs are quick to reach for the prescription pad to offer drugs like Ritalin as an ADHD "quick fix".

It has even been suggested that teachers are pressurising pupils and parents into seeking medication rather than dealing with challenging behaviour.

But the number of kids diagnosed with the disorder has been rising steadily since the mid-90s. Government advisors say that as many as one-in-11 British children may be suffering from the condition.

Tim Brown, assistant head teacher of Queens Park Community School in London, insists that when challenging pupils come off the medication, they become "more aggressive and disruptive".

He told The Telegraph: "Ideally, schools would prefer to offer intensive one-to-one support, but if the resources are limited, which they usually are, then we're pushed into a choice between medication or exclusion.

"Hearing a student say that a drug 'takes away his soul' doesn't sit comfortably with us as a school, but permanent exclusion doesn't either."

The question is, are there really more kids with ADHD today or are these behavioural problems and learning difficulties down to poor upbringing, poor discipline and a lack of educational facilities?