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Chances are you know someone who suffers from mental illness. That someone may even be you. Yet, knowing about mental illness is not the same as understanding mental illness. An increasing awareness about mental health issues fuels a need for healthy dialogue and proper education. Mental illness impacts many – from government officials to day laborers – and the community continues to grow. Earlier this month, President Obama and Vice President Biden hosted a National Conference on Mental Health. The event, held at the White House, focused on increasing communication, understanding and awareness about mental health issues.

“We commend the Administration's efforts through this national dialogue to focus attention and resources on important mental health issues and the need to eliminate stigma and improve access to quality care for all individuals who need mental health services,” said Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D., President of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Mental Health Treatment Drug Concerns

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The New York Times recently reported on new data from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) which reveals that nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (A.D.H.D.).

A.D.H.D. is a result of abnormal chemical levels in the brain that impair a person's impulse control and attention skills. About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which have been shown to lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis.

The CDC also reports that an estimated 6.4 million children, between the ages 4 through 17, have been diagnosed with A.D.H.D., an increase of 16 percent since 2007 and 41 percent over the past ten years.

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