Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kids and ADHD

Editor's Note: The following essay explodes the myths about ADHD kids and critically analyzes the way such children are erroneously looked upon and treated. It debunks the dangerous way these innocent children are being administered harmful medicines without thinking twice about the serious consequences and side-effects. The article underlines the urgent need for a complete overhaul in the attitude of parents towards ADHD kids so that they can have an opportunity to lead a healthy, happy and normal life.
It is high time that our attitude towards ADHD kids undergoes a complete overhaul. We must wake up to the fact that ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is not a disease, it merely refers to a particular mood or temperament that can be checked through counseling and proper care.

Some years ago, such a term was completely non-existent; an overactive kid was either called naughty or hyperactive. The very idea of medication in such a case was unthinkable, forget about psychotropic drugs. It was considered perfectly normal for certain children to be more active than others; just as it is normal for some kids to be introvert and for some others to be extrovert.

In the clear absence of a solid medical proof suggesting that there is something wrong with such kids, ADHD really sounds something more of a commercial term than anything else. It is a terminology that tends to raise a false alarm about the medical condition of hyperactive kids. It certainly and most unjustly puts hyperactive kids in a bad light. The way such innocent kids are being mindlessly administered psychotropic drugs in the name of ADHD; one seriously doubts that there exists a sinister and unholy nexus between unscrupulous doctors and powerful pharmaceutical companies with deep pockets.

The most commonly prescribed drugs for children are the psychostimulants, especially Ritalin (methylphenidate). Ritalin is commonly given to children diagnosed as ADD or hyperactive while attending public schools. And Ritalin usage is escalating. The FDA was forced to double its proposed ceiling on the production of Ritalin, according to William Schmidt's "Sales of Drug Are Soaring for Treatment of Hyperactivity" (New York Times, May 5, 1957).

Moreover, the clear distinction between a mental ailment and a psychological problem should never be lost sight of. While a mental disease may require mandatory medication, a psychological ailment can be cured through proper care, concern and counseling. The occasional behavioral disorder on part of an ADHD child can also be attributed to lack of parental attention, uncongenial atmosphere at home or parents’ strained relationship.

According to Anderson et al, “Clinical experience and research suggest that there is an increasing tendency for child and family mental health professionals to fragment and compartmentalise the problems of the children ….. This tendency towards fragmentation leads professionals and services to address the child's problem in an instrumental manner, outside of the child or adolescent's developmental, interpersonal, family and social experience. In this context ADHD might become a disposal diagnosis.”

Most parents usually don’t object to such a hasty and fragmented diagnosis because this saves them from “any broader enquiry into family life and interpersonal relationships” and from owning up some blame in the matter. The fact that ADHD children require much greater attention, understanding and love brings into focus the role of present day parents. Modern parents tend to be much more casual towards their kids than the traditional parents in the past. They are much less inclined to spend quality time with their children, a must for the holistic development of kids. In such a scenario, where personal reasons/comfort of parents unfortunately take precedence over the caring of the kids with ADHD, the parents many a times unwisely resort to a medication that involves tranquilizers, neuroleptics and antidepressants, as an easy way out.

Parents must understand the colossal harmful side-effects of such kind of imprudent medication. These medicines are not only habit forming but can also lead to several serious health complications including short memory, insomnia and decreased appetite. It is incumbent upon the parents and doctors to do some serious introspection and soul searching so that ADHD kids can be helped in reality.

Works Cited
Anderson, Vicki et al. "Rethinking ADHD: Integrated Approaches to Helping Children at Home
and at School." Crows: Allen & Unwin, 2002.

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