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The Ethics of Giving Children ADHD Medication Essay

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a psychiatric disorder that causes children to have problems with paying attention, trouble with following instructions, have impulsive behaviors and become easily distracted. Medications, such as Adderall and Ritalin, are used to treat the symptoms of this disorder by helping the patient to focus and pay attention while also curbing their impulsive behavior and hyperactivity. Side effects of these medications are, but not limited to, anxiety, addiction and in some cases psychosis. Proponents of giving ADHD medication to children argue that ADHD is a real disorder in children and the medication does improve the symptoms of the disorder by a large margin as well as being cost effective. Also, not only are the parents happy with the outcome of their children taking the prescribed medication but so are the children themselves. Proponents also argue that by not letting parents of the children, young adults and adults choose to take these prescriptions when diagnosed with ADHD that the medical and psychiatric communities would be in violation of the principle of autonomy. Justice as well would be violated since most of the burden of dealing with all the symptoms caused by this disorder would fall on those with ADHD and partly on their families. Opponents of giving ADHD medication to children point out that it is not only going to children with ADHD but also being prescribed to those not diagnosed with the disorder as well as the pills being given or sold to other children and young adults. They also claim that the full side- effects of ADHD medication are still not known and could have harmful long-lasting effects on the children taking the medications. In this case, the principle of b...


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...ng of Attention Deficit Disorder.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 14 Dec. 2013. Web. 5 March 2014.
Sharpe, Katherine. “Medication: The Smart-pill Oversell.” Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. Nature Publishing Group. 12 Feb. 2014. Web. 7 March 2014.
“Teens Abusing and Selling Ritalin for High.” ABC News. ABC News Internet Ventures. 25 Feb. 2014. Web. 6 March 2014.
“What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, ADD)?” National Institute of Mental Health. National Institutes of Health. Web. 6 March 2014.




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