Essay about Ritalin: Not the Best Treatment for ADHD or ADD

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Ritalin and other drugs used to treat children with ADHD and ADD have been given a lot of negative and some positive press over the years, but what is alarming is the statistics which I discovered from Suellen May, the editor of Understanding Drugs: Ritalin and Related Drugs: “In 1996, an estimated 1.5 million American schoolchildren (approximately 3-5% of all U.S. schoolchildren) were taking Ritalin daily” (9). The number clearly doubled over the years, which indicates that the use of Ritalin is increasing tremendously in America. With this in mind, while some feel that Ritalin is helpful overtime, the numbers show that Ritalin is actually not the best treatment for those who suffer from ADHD or ADD.
The Discovery -- In the early 1930’s, behavioral problems in children were believed to be the result of abnormalities in the brain, the nerves and the spine. Spinal taps were performed on children to check for these abnormalities causing severe headaches from Benzedrine, a new amphetamine. Dr. Charles Bradley, a physician who founded the Bradley Hospital (the nation's first neuropsychiatric hospital for children), discovered that hyperactive children responded well to the pill and noted that the kids had an increased interest in schoolwork, better work habits, and less disruptive behavior. Although Bradley seen improvement in the children’s attributes, he cautioned the use of these drugs on children stating that “the use of these drugs can mask symptoms of other disorders” which in fact is a problem that is persisting today. Ritalin was first marketed in 1957 to treat narcolepsy, chronic fatigue, and depression. Four years later the FDA approved Ritalin for use in children with behavioral problems. The American Psychiatric Associati...

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..."Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder." University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., 31 May 2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
"Death from Ritalin Abuse & Addiction, Criminal Penalties: Foundation for a Drug Free World." Death from Ritalin Abuse & Addiction, Criminal Penalties: Foundation for a Drug Free World. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
Diller, Lawrence H. "Ritalin Ascendant: A Doctor's Dilemma." Introduction. Running on Ritalin: A Physician Reflects on Children, Society, and Performance in a Pill. New York, NY: Bantam, 1998. N. pag. Print.
May, Suellen, and David J. Triggle. Ritalin and Related Drugs. New York: Chelsea House, 2010. N. pag. Print.
"Ritalin Probe." Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
Spiegel, Alix. "Teachers' Expectations Can Influence How Students Perform." NPR. NPR, 17 Sept. 2012. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

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