ADHD, Ritalin, Families, and Pharmaceutical Companies
In today's fast-paced society, it seems that prescription drugs are a more reasonable and reliable solution for children and adults than diet and exercise for the "disease" known as ADHD. Rather than take the time to play with their children, or institute a proper diet, it seems that increasing numbers of parents would rather treat their children's unexplained zest for life with pills and doctors. While there are some explanations and reasons for the diagnosis of this popular disease, most children are improperly diagnosed, and are therefore taking unneeded medication. This medication is costly and it can be argued those who benefit from the sale of these drugs most are the pharmaceutical companies who develop, advertise, and sell them.
According to Goodman in The Journal of Special Education (1992) The most well known drug used to treat ADHD is Ritalin, which is a Class 2 drug, in the same category as cocaine and morphine. Some of the side effects relate to lack of or increase appetite, lack of or increased sleep, and lack of growth. Because of the fairly recent introduction of this drug to cure this disease, the social and psychological implications have not yet been seen. If this trend of cure before prevention continues, pharmaceutical companies will become ever richer at our children's expense.
Most people think that Attention Deficit Disorders are simply linked to
children and their inability to concentrate, pay attention or sit still for long periods of time, but it can affect adults as well, making it hard to function at the work or in school. People also dismiss signs and symptoms of ADHD as misbehavior or lack of discipline by the parents. However ADHD is a serious condition that can affect a child severely in school and can follow them into adult hood. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (2004) signs of ADHD become noticeable in children during their preschool and early years of school. It is estimated that 3 to 5 percent of children have ADHD, which is roughly about 2 million children in the United States. This means that 1 child out of a classroom that has 25-30 students in it will have ADHD. The NIMH (2004) has stated this in their article on ADHD that Dr. Heinrich Hoffman first described it in 1845. He was a physician who wrote books on medicine and psychiatry, he also wrote books for children. He described the disease in a book he was writing to his son, he wrote "The Story of Fidgety Phillip" which described a little boy with the exact symptoms of what would be known today as ADHD. It was not until 1902 that Sir George F. Still published a lecture to the Royal College of Physicians in London about impulsive children with behavioral problems that he stated were caused by a genetic dysfunction and not by poor education. Since then many studies have been done on the cause, symptoms, and treatment of ADHD.