In the world we live in, it can seem like there is a pill for everything, and as a doctor, believe me—there is. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate there are 5.4 million children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). More and more children are taking powerful, habit-forming medications, like Adderall and Ritalin, to treat their attention problems.
ABC news reported that, “A growing number of young people are snorting Ritalin—a much-lauded drug for hyperactive children—to lose weight, study for exams and in some cases, just to get high.”
The question I ask myself as both a doctor and a mom is: are these drugs necessary for every rambunctious child?
Certainly many of these children need this medicine to focus and help manage their behavior. But, there may be other factors at play here, which are leading more children to be diagnosed with ADHD.
A study done by Todd Elder, Ph.D., showed that the youngest children in a kindergarten class were more likely than their older classmates to be identified by their teachers as having problem behaviors. When Dr. Elder examined the youngest children in both the 5th and 8th grades, they were nearly twice as likely to use ADHD medications.
Also consider this, a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that children who don’t get enough sleep at night had higher (ADHD) scores.
As I said above, I believe these medications are effective for managing ADHD. But, are some of these children being misdiagnosed because they’re sleepy? Or maybe because they were a little immature compared to their classmates?
Every case is different. So, I’d like to hear from you. Was your child diagnosed with ADHD? Did medicines like Ritalin help? Did your child or any friends ever have any problems with abuse?