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ADHD: Ritalin a Wonder Drug?

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ADHD Assessment for Your Child?

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Cause of ADHD: Is it biological?

Cause of ADHD: Is it environmental?

ADHD Drugs

ADHD Drugs Page #2

ADHD Drugs and Side Effects

ADHD Drugs: Predictions of Effectiveness

Antidepressants for ADHD?

Antihypertensives for ADHD

ADHD Symptoms: Using Behavioral Management  

10 Things You Can do to Help Your Child With ADHD.  

 Help for Adult ADD/ADHD- The Fundamentals You Need to Know  

  Help for Adult ADHD Page #2

ADHD Assessment for Your Child?    

ADHD Assessment Page 2 

Diet for ADHD: Five Simple Strategies

 

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ADHD: Is Ritalin Really the Wonder Drug?

ADHD and Ritalin:

Millions of adults and children with ADHD have been treated with methylphenidate, a stimulant drug, for several decades now. Although various manufacturers produce methylphenidate, the drug continues to be known by its famous trade name of Ritalin. Ritalinís quieting effect on children and adults with ADHD, and its ability to help them focus and solve complex tasks, has been noted for several decades with its use increasing enormously. According to some estimates, there has been a 300% increase in use by children and adults with ADHD since 1990 alone. As many as 10% to 12% of American boys may take Ritalin for ADHD, with the number of girls using the medication also growing. Around 8.5 tons of Ritalin are produced each year, with about 90% being used

AHHD- Ritalin Safety:

More recently, many clinicians and parents are beginning to question the need for and safety of this drug. During the late 1980s, several lawsuits were filed against physicians, schools and even the American Psychiatric Association, claiming the misuse of Ritalin. While many of the lawsuits have been dismissed, the publicís perception of the use of Ritalin for ADHD will never be the same. At the same time, Ritalin has also become a popular recreational drug among teenagers, with many individuals becoming dependent upon it. This has also raised the level of public concern.

Overdiagnosis of ADHD

In 1996, the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board concluded that ADHD may in fact be overdiagnosed in the United States, and that many children who have been receiving these medications may be innacurately diagnosed. ADHD can be reliably diagnosed only after a battery of observations, interviews, psychological tests and physical exams. Studies have found however, that only one-third to one-half of children who receive this diagnosis from pediatricians, undergo psychological or educational testing to support the conclusion.

 

ADHD Treatments:

Children and adults with ADHD have continued to find Ritalin to be an effective medication, in assisting with difficulties associated with their symptoms. Parent training and behavioral programs have also been found to be effective in many cases. However, behavioral programs have been found to be more likely to be effective in combination with Ritalin. When children with ADHD are taken off the drug, (frequently because of the drugís negative publicity) many have done very poorly.

Side-Effects:

Contemporary studies have found that Ritalin is safe for most people with ADHD. The undesirable side effects usually include insomnia, stomachaches, headaches, or loss of appetite. In a small number cases, however, it may cause facial tics. Psychotic symptoms have also been found to appear in a very small number of cases. Ritalin has been found to occasionally effect the growth of some children, requiring "drug holidays" during the summer to prevent this effect. More studies will be necessary to continue to evaluate Ritalinís long-term side effect profile.

Recommendations and Conclusions:

The question remains as to what to do with a drug that is helpful to so many, but almost certainly is over- used or even abused in many cases. The solution recommended by a growing number of clinicians is better control of its use. Researchers must continue to study the drug, and pediatricians and others who work with children must be better trained in the assessment of ADHD. Also, they must be required to conduct better testing before diagnosing ADHD, and finally, must become more aware of helpful treatments other then Ritalin. Only under these circumstances, will Ritalin fulfill its potential as a truly useful treatment for a serious problem in modern-day society.

Information adapted from Ronald J. Comerís Abnormal Psychology

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