The Dark Side Of A Wonder Drug-A — страница 2

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a dysfunctional family, decrease the size of a large classroom or increase funding for special education”(Wonder Drug). Part of the problem is that while the experts stress that any child who may have an attention disorder should be thoroughly assessed to rule out other problems, it can take months, even a year or more, to get a referral to a specialist. “When the mother goes and sees the family physician and says, “The teacher told me little George can’t sit still, he wanders all over the class, he has difficulty concentrating,’ the general practitioner may be tempted to say, “Well I know what your problem is, take that pill and come and see me in two weeks,’ “says Dr. Peter Byonsen, a child psychologist(Team Ritalin). As many as two million children have been

diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The preferred form of treatment for these alleged disorders is a powerful drug called Ritalin — a Schedule II controlled substance, as are cocaine and methadone. Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder is a baffling brain disorder. Children who have it are hyperactive, have a short attention span and are easily distracted. Most experts believe that ADHD stems from biochemical malfunctions in the brain. Children with ADHD are usually in constant motion, tapping fingers or toes, wiggling in chairs, jumping up and down during meals, flitting from one activity to another. They often have problems relating to other children. “It really makes their life miserable,” Sarah Newtwater, a

clinical psychiatrist, says. “It interferes with all kinds of activities in life – their relationship in the family, the school, their learning ability, their social contact with other kids”(Bad Ritalin). Parents of kids with ADHD have a two to three times greater risk of separating or divorcing than parents of kids with a physical disability or chronic illness. Though parents may suspect a problem in the pre-school years, it’s often not diagnosed until a child starts school, when they begin failing or getting into trouble. Doctors in every field of study related to ritalin are having trouble deciding on what the increase of ritalin is from. “Some pediatricians are guilty of over-diagnosing,” says Mary Anne Garber, Ph.D., who co-authored the book Beyond Ritalin with

husband Stephen (an Atlanta psychologist) and Robyn Spizman. “We are not pro or con medication, but we certainly don’t think it should be the first avenue”(Ritalin). Dr. Normand Carrey, a child psychiatrist the Royal Ottawa Hospital, agreed by saying, “ADHD has become too much of an easy diagnosis”(Ritalin Boy). On the other hand, leading B.C. experts on ADHD say the growing number of children taking Ritalin doesn’t mean the drug is being wrongly prescribed. Rather, more doctors are aware of the disorder and are diagnosing it. “The numbers may be up, but I would say the numbers are appropriately up, in the vast majority of cases,” said Dr. Derryck Smith, head of psychiatry at B.C.’s Children’s Hospital, and the next president of the B.C. Medical

Association(Ritalin). Dr. Craig Fabrikant, chief psychologist at the Institute for Child Development at Hackensack University Medical Center, agreed by saying, “In some cases, the drug is perceived as a panacea, but if it is effectively prescribed and appropriate precautions are taken with accurate diagnosis, the drug is worth its weight in gold”(H+W:Ritalin). Doctors say another part of a big increase in ritalin sales may be that a growing number of adults are being diagnosed with ADHD. Until recently, doctors believed that children with attention deficit disorders eventually outgrew them once they reached adolescence and adulthood. Not so. “You have little Jack who took Ritalin for five years who’s now working at Corel and every five minutes he’s fidgety, and he

remembers that he used to take Ritalin as a kid and it helped and maybe it can help him now in his career,” Jane Peters, Ph.D., says(Team Ritalin). Other adults are being diagnosed for the first time as the disorder is detected in their own children. “More and more ADD has become a condition that is well known, for which a medical solution really gives instantaneous results,” says Ryan Watson, a child psychologist. “Ritalin works and it works fast”(Wonder Drug). How far should doctors go with these prescriptions? Increasingly doctors are prescribing Ritalin to even pre-schoolers. Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Indiana recently studied Ritalin on children aged four to six to determine just how safe and effective it is in the younger population. The