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Add/Adhd: A Decision That Can Change A Life

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ADD/ADHD: A Decision That Can Change a Life

Written by: cognetto

Although American culture has changed over the years, parents today still want what is best for their children. Why then, are parents allowing their children to be put on medications that may have an adverse effect on their children? Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) have increasingly been diagnosed among young children today. Parents should become more informed about the over diagnosing, side effects, results of the medication and all other pertinent information before they allow their children to become treated. In this research paper we are first going to look at why ADD and ADHD diagnosing has become so widespread. Then we will look into the side effects of Ritalin; the number one drug prescribed for ADD and ADHD. Finally, we will consider the results of the treatment.

ADD and ADHD have had a dramatic rate of increase since it was first “discovered” 25 years ago. “This “epidemic” has grown from 500 thousand in 1985 to between five and seven million today.” (Baughman) ADD and ADHD have become popular for many reasons. In today’s American culture and fast paced society it is likely that both parents will work. This breaks down the traditional family where only one parent would work and the other would stay home and take care of the children. This leads to a tremendous breakdown in parental supervision and involvement in their children’s academics. This lack of involvement by parents puts the burden onto the school system for a child’s lack of achievement. When a child academically performs poorly or has a problem at school, parents want corrective action to be taken no matter what the cost, as long as, it is a fast remedy with little involvement by the parent. In some cases, when a child is labeled with ADD or ADHD because he/she is doing poorly in school, the corrective action that needs to be taken is for the parent to simply spend more time with their children and tutor them in academic areas they’ re lacking in.” Children feel the loss, (quality time spent with parents) and they take action for attention. They misbehave, they cry, they become defiant, aggressive. The parents seek answers and relief to the family turmoil. The school, which is also experiencing the child’s defiance and aggression, seeks relief. Enter the school psychologist who provides the convenient answer. The child has ADD.” (DeWeese)

Schools are looking for answers as to why students are doing poorly. These schools are also looking for a “quick fix” to the problem. Due to new federal programs and funding, (in 1991 federal education I grant were changed to provide schools with $400 per each student diagnosed with ADD) schools are now allocated with in-school clinics and psychologists to help determine if students have learning disabilities. As a result of these new federal programs, and funding, schools today are no longer held responsible for a student’s lack of performance. Now schools have a new “efficient” system to protect themselves. It works like this: if a child has trouble in math, he is deemed to have a mental disorder under code number 315.1 вЂ" “Mathematics Disorder,” if a child can’t write literature composition he/she must be suffering from code 315.2 вЂ" “Disorder in written Expression.” (DeWeese) The list goes on and on and it is quite obvious that schools are well protected.

Teachers also play a key role in the over diagnosing of ADD and ADHD. Teachers today, although they only receive education up to a master’s degree to teach in K-12th grade, have become psychiatric doctors. Teachers are given lists of symptoms and unacceptable behaviors and instructed that if a student fits into the category they are to be marked and labeled, and the paperwork should be written up to begin their drug treatment. This may seem too outlandish to believe, but, I assure you this is how we have allowed are school system to become.

Finally, I think that we need to look at the economical side of diagnosing children with ADD and ADHD. Parents who are presented the option of putting their children on Ritalin face many questions and concerns, therefore they look for answers. CHADD (Children and Adults with deficit disorder) is the organization that parents turn to. What most parents are unaware of is that the makers of Ritalin sponsor CHADD. “Since 1988, when CHADD and the Ciba-Geigy (now Navartis), the manufacturer of Ritalin, began their financial relationship, Ciba has given almost a million dollars to CHADD, helping it to expand it’s membership from 800 to 35,000 people.” (Merrow) In 1996, CHADD was given $750,000 to produce a video, Facing the Challenge of ADD, this video does not only mention the generic name of Ritalin but goes so far as to call it Ritalin, this is paid advertisement for Navartis by U.S. taxpayers.

The Swiss pharmaceutical company Navartis is also soaring on the stock market, with federal funds to support the use of it in classrooms, and the purposed use of more drugs in the classroom (Luvox and Prozac). “Domestic Ritalin sales have increased nearly five fold since 1990 and the increase is attributed to the use of Ritalin for ADD. Ninety-percent of all Ritalin prescriptions are for Children diagnosed with ADD, although prescriptions for adults are escalating as well.” (Breggin) Navartis tends to be the stock to invest in with an illustrious stock market portfolio, nearly tripling itself in 25 years, it is still steadily increasing and now has federal support and funding.

With all the advertising of Ritalin as a cure for ADD and all the knowledge of it’s existence and use, few people seem to be concerned or know anything of the side-effects that Ritalin has. Ritalin seems to the public to be a great drug to stop children from misbehaving and focus them on their academics to help them do better



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