Vicky L. Pitts
English Composition III
November 4, 2012
The Best Way to Treat ADHD is Drug-free
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common diagnosis for school-aged children in today’s society. There are many drugs that are commonly used to treat ADHD, but there are also other options that have the potential to treat the disorder without the propensity of causing harm. There are many drugs used to treat ADHD, such as Cylert, Concerta, and Ritalin that have classifications as powerful as cocaine and morphine. In some cases these drugs can be harmful to children (Wolliver, 2009, p. 46). For this very reason, I believe that these types of drugs should only be prescribed to children as a last resort.
Ritalin was first introduced as a treatment for ADHD in 1960, but the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published a paper in 1995, stating that, “Methylphenidate is a Schedule II central nervous system stimulant and shows many of the pharmacological effects of amphetamines, metamphetamine, and cocaine” (Baughman & Hovey, 2006, p. 2). It is obvious that these drugs are dangerous and it is really scary business when they are introduced to children.
Advocates for treating ADHD medically are missing the point. Children across the universe are being diagnosed and treated for ADHD and there is literally no laboratory test to prove that even one child has the disorder. They all assume that because a child’s behavior patterns are more easily controlled that the child needs to be medicated. I believe the following statement made by Dr. Debra Zarin made while representing the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, testified July 16, 1996 before a Congressional subcommittee, “It is a common misconception that if a stimulant calms a child, that he or she must have ADHD” (Baughman & Hovey, 2006, p. 6). There are many parents, doctors, and other members of today’s society that should take stock in what she had to say.
There’s also a doctor by the name of Stanley Greenspan that made a similar statement after years of research. In a recently published book, he states, “There is a subgroup of children that benefit from medication, but there is more that can be done before medication is even considered (Greenspan & Greenspan, 2009, p. 12). I have to say that I agree with the above statements. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the medications being prescribed for ADHD are mind-altering drugs. The side-effects make them dangerous for anyone and when they are administered to innocent, trusting, children – it just doesn’t pass the common sense test.
There seems to be a connection with prescription medicine and the diagnosis of ADHD. Today’s society seems to have bought into the precedent that, “There’s a pill out there for any illness.” It is really scary to believe the general public actually believes this way. It’s been refreshing to learn that there are doctors and other professionals that are doing their part to dispel this belief and offer other forms of treatment. For instance, “Dr. Feingold found that ADHD children that ingest synthetic food colorings and flavorings are prone to bouts of hyperactivity (Osman, 1997). I would much rather try to modify my child’s diet before administering a drug to help manage his or her behavioral disorder.
Robbie Wolliver, an award winning journalist and editor made an interesting statement when he said, “Help doesn’t always come in a little bottle with a twist-off cap” (Wolliver, 2009, p. 47). There are many holistic treatments for this disorder, but the general public, the media, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies all seem to lean toward treating the symptoms of ADHD instead of addressing the child’s behavioral problem(s). Wolliver goes on to say that drugs that are prescribed for ADHD have an effect on a child’s mood, appetite,…