Essay on The Media and ADHD

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     A few years ago, a survey of 30,000 children in Virginia found that seventeen percent of fifth grade white boys were taking medications for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (10). Over the past year, several lawsuits have been filed against Novartis, the manufacturers of Ritalin; CHADD, a support group for individuals with ADHD; and The American Psychiatric Association, claiming that the defendants have conspired together to create and promote the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder(8). In Albany, New York, a family court recently ruled that a couple must put their seven-year-old son back on Ritalin after the public schools accused the parents of child abuse for taking him off the medication(7). As these examples illustrate, considerable controversy surrounds both the proper diagnosis and the treatment of the disorder known as ADHD, a controversy that has been highlighted in recent years by increased media coverage. Given the well-publicized nature of the debate, how do adults concerned that they or their children have ADHD make the difficult decision as to whether and how to treat it? One source of information for patients and their families is the Internet. Indeed, an Internet search for ADHD related websites produces an abundance of hits, including pages for parent support groups, alternative "natural" treatment options, and publications by the National Institute of Mental Health. However, the controversy surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD extends here as well. In this critique, I examine two Internet sites that each takes a somewhat different view towards ADHD. My evaluation is based upon the credibility of each site as well as the utility of each in helping an ind...

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5. CHADD. Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

6. Merrow, John.

7. Parents Pressured to Put Kids on Ritalin by Thomas, Karen. From USA TODAY, August 8, 2010.

8. Recent Lawsuits and Ritalin by Bailey, Eileen.

9. Testimony September 29, 2014 before the Subcommittee on Education and the Workforce U.S. House of Representatives by Breggin, Peter R., M.D.

10. Zito, J.M., Safer, D.J., dosReis, S., Gardner, J.F., Boles, M., Lynch, F. 2011. Trends in the prescribing of psychotropic medications to preschoolers. Journal of the American Medical Association 283 (8).

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