I worked in a retail pharmacy for 5 years and in that time I saw an insane number of children on meds such as Ritalin, Prozac, Lithium, Adderall,
Paxil, etc. In one case a doctor had actually prescribed Ritalin for a 3 year old boy! I asked the mom about it and she said she wasn't sure if he
really needed it, but since the doctor prescribed it, it must be OK.
Most, not all, of the kids that were on anti-depressants and ADHD meds were from families that were seriously dysfunctional, and it was obvious that
the kids' main problems were psychological issues. They needed some serious counseling and support, not drugs.
I realize that there are some kids who really do have ADHD or are chemically off-balance and need medication to regulate them. My cousin is one of
them, he has the tendency to be violent and uncontrollable, and cannot focus in school. He is also a pathological liar and has been since he was a
small child. But even in his case, these problems stem from a much deeper issue, dealing with his father leaving him when he was a toddler. I think
that intensive therapy would be more helpful, even to him, in the long run.
Doping up children to control them, may help when they are young, but when they grow up, they will have no idea how to control themselves or deal with
difficult situations. The medical field is having to come up with new drugs to switch them to when they're adults, because they can't take them off
of medication without severe side-effects and withdrawals.
This is a portion of what is said on a psychological disorder site:
Thought to be ten times more common in boys than girls, approximately 3 to 10 percent of all children in America may be affected by ADHD. It is
estimated that as many as three to six million children may suffer from depression at some point and may be at increased risk for suicide.
Doesn't that seem like a lot of kids? If nothing else, this should be a strong indicator of how badly we've screwed things up! Children as young as
4 are having psychological issues that require medication?! Something has got to change!
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ADHD?
A child with ADHD behaves in the following ways:
Fidgets, squirms or seems restless--(I've always been squirmy)
Has difficulty remaining seated--(Legs have always fallen asleep if I sit still too long)
Is easily distracted--(yep, I was/am a constant daydreamer)
Blurts out answers in class--(fought strong urges to do this constantly)
Has difficulty following instructions--(only if I lose my train of thought)
Shifts from one uncompleted task to another--(a bad habit to this day)
Has difficulty playing quietly--(what kids are quiet?If they're quiet they're up to something)
Does not seem to listen--(I drift off to la-la land if someone talks to long.)
Talks excessively--(types excessively)
Interrupts or intrudes upon others, preventing cooperative play--(used to get a little ahead of myself when a thought struck me and someone else was
Guess that proves it. I should have been on Ritalin this whole time. It's a wonder I graduated high school, and haven't been arrested!
WHAT CAUSES ADHD IN CHILDREN?
ADHD appears to have a strong biological basis, which sometimes may be inherited.
The majority of researchers view family and other environmental factors as influencing the onset of this illness. Family discord, sibling
harassment, physical, sexual or emotional abuse can contribute to the development of ADHD or intensify its symptoms. Ongoing stress resulting from a
parent or family member's psychiatric or addictive illness may also make a child more vulnerable to the disorder.
Many other physical, neurological or psychiatric conditions are associated with behaviors that resemble the symptoms of ADHD. In some cases an
underlying condition can be causing or contributing to a child's attention difficulties.
ADHD has been linked to allergic reaction to foods, food additives, environmental toxins or inhaled substances...
And at the top of the list for treatment? You guessed it:
Treatment with stimulant medication is common. The drug methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin) is prescribed most frequently,
followed by pemoline (Cylert) and dextroamphetamine sulfate (Dexedrine). Researchers have recently found that some antidepressant medications are
also effective in treating ADHD. Between 70 and 80 percent of children with ADHD respond to medication.
Medication can improve the child's
impulse control and ability to concentrate and significantly reduce distractibility.
But if "the majority of researchers view family and other environmental factors as influencing the onset of this illness." Is it really the best
approach to treat 70-80% of these kids with antidepressants and amphetamines?
I'm of the opinion that maybe what these kids need is some discipline, time, and TLC from their parents, far more than they need to be drugged.
Hasn't anybody seen the Siimpson's episode where Bart starts taking Focusin? It's not too far off base.