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Thread: ADHD and Ritalin

  1. #1
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    ADHD and Ritalin

    Well it's that time again; discussion time.

    I, for some reason, was watching a bit of 60 Minutes tonight and caught their bit on Ritalin use/abuse and it provoked a bit of thought. They interviewed two South Australian doctors, one pro-Ritalin and the other anti-Ritalin and even anti-ADHD. Although not being very deep or thorough with their look at ADHD, 60 Miinutes at least were balanced (chip on both shoulders).

    Personally, I'm definitely of the opinion that societies in general are far too quick to ascribe something like behavioural problems to a medical cause which can therefore be treated by a drug, particularly a dexamphetamine like Ritalin. I hate the stuff and I hate the abuse of most psychotropic medications available a little too easily. Ritalin has just been listed on the PBS so it's going to be even easier to get it and cheap. I find a lot of parents talk of the benefits of prescribing Ritalin in terms of how THEY benefit and this bothers me greatly.

    Aside from this, I've lost count of how many parents I know with kids with behavioural problems who, upon a cursory glance of their food pantry, have in it high-sugar/high energy/heavy in preservatives/heavily-processed food and snacks. Co-incidence? I think not. It just doesn't surprise me anymore when people feed their kids 'fruit drinks' (y'know, those ones with "25% fruit juice in them"), heavy-in-wheat and sugar snacks like Le Snacks and Pop Tarts and museli bars and then their kids are bugging the crap out of them or displaying destructive behaviour. And of course there's food along that line being offered at schools too. Let's not forget the lack of physical activity.

    It just horrified me when I saw kids being encouraged to take more Ritalin, some of whom were taking around 15 tablets PER DAY and that they were likely to be taking them for the rest of their lives! Sure they're calmer, etc. but I can get a similar effect by getting a long pen, shoving up someone's nose and killing a frontal lobe or two. Worse, the parent of one kid was diagnosed as having adult-onset ADHD and was put on a similar number of pills! I've also read quite a few stories of kids with no pre-existing conditions dying from extended Ritalin use.

    And of course there's a truly insidious side to this as well. I've read papers stating that in some US schools, parents of problem kids are asked to put their children on Ritalin or their child wouldn't be allowed to return to the school. This has only recently been outlawed at a federal level (http://ritalindeath.com/law.htm) but not here in Australia. Bad enough? I've already read about schools in the US being given financial incentives to ensure prescription of these drugs to kids in their schools but this is unconfirmed in my book (despite what a plethora of websites out there will tell you).

    I'm not denying the existance of a disease of this nature (well, maybe I am but I'm not 100% sure) but I think the search for causes has hit upon the easiest one they could find and drugs such as these target that. Certainly the growth of the use of these drugs is worrying indeed. What are everyone else's experiences with this sort of thing?
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    Banned Shounak's Avatar
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    I was prescribed to Ritalin when I was about 13. I had ADHD, which meant the inability to sit still or to concentrate. All Ritalin did was supress my hunger, which resulted in me losing about 5kg, which is pretty significant for a skinny 13yr old.

    My case wasn't too severe and mine was more ADD then ADHD. Some kids with ADHD are completely out of control. Banana's. If you saw some of the stuff I've seen kids with ADHD do, you'd be calling for it to be mandatory in extreme cases.

    My mum's got a degree in Psychology and argued with the Psychiatrist and I didn't end up taking the drugs.. I think I may have performed better in my studies if I took them.

    ADD/ADHD's a condition. It's not bullsh*t that crap parents blame. Like if I'm sitting down I'll hear everything around me, every stimuli around becomes potentially distracting. There are other treatments for it, but none have been proven yet. The awareness of it simply hasn't been around long enough..

    I recall a study which found that the brains of ADD kids respond to a lot of stimuli that other brains will just filter out whilst concentrating.. It's a very real disorder.. I would never call it mythical..

    Interesting topic though T_C.. Last thing I was expecting..

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    International Vice-Captain Dasa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shounak
    I was prescribed to Ritalin when I was about 13. I had ADHD, which meant the inability to sit still or to concentrate. All Ritalin did was supress my hunger, which resulted in me losing about 5kg, which is pretty significant for a skinny 13yr old.
    I know another person who had a similar experience...did ****-all to help his ADHD as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by shounak
    ADD/ADHD's a condition. It's not bullsh*t that crap parents blame. Like if I'm sitting down I'll hear everything around me, every stimuli around becomes potentially distracting. There are other treatments for it, but none have been proven yet. The awareness of it simply hasn't been around long enough..
    I think the point that T_C was making is many parents today are much too quick to point the finger of blame on ADHD/ADD etc rather than looking at what they're doing wrong. Of course there is no doubt that many kids are afflicted, but I'd wager that a significant number aren't and the parents turn to drugs and such to cover up their shortcomings.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member / Global Moderator Neil Pickup's Avatar
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    There are kids who are hyperactive. That's fact, anyone who's done any amount of community work can tell you that. ADHD exists.

    BUT it's very difficult to believe that the skyrocketing in the rates over the last 20 years doesn't have extraneous dietary factors or suchlike. I was helping tidy Exeter City's football ground yesterday, and we found a nice pile of child vomit on top of six or seven chocolate and sweet wrappers - that volume of e-numbers does stuff to your stomach, and I'm pretty sure it does stuff to brains, too. I'd be interested to see a breakdown of ADHD sufferers/diagnosed by social class/family income level; it seems a lot like a large proportion come from a stereotypically poorly-off background and, not to put too fine a point on it, eat too much crap.
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend andyc's Avatar
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    How would you know it was child vomit?
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    Cricket Web Staff Member / Global Moderator Neil Pickup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyc
    How would you know it was child vomit?
    Well, you notice who was sitting there beforehand...

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend andyc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Pickup
    Well, you notice who was sitting there beforehand...
    What if a passerby had just thrown up there? Or someone sitting next to or in the immediate vicinity of the child. I think you're jumping to conclusions, Neil.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member / Global Moderator Neil Pickup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andyc
    What if a passerby had just thrown up there? Or someone sitting next to or in the immediate vicinity of the child. I think you're jumping to conclusions, Neil.
    A huge block of children covering the surrounding ten columns and four rows of seats. It was a kid.

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    International Captain Slow Love™'s Avatar
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    Child vomit has a lower chunk to fluid ratio, as far as I know, and is sweeter, if that helps.

    I guess this whole ADD ADHD thing is a little similar in some ways to diagnosis of schizophrenia. They are umbrella diagnosis of a wide-ranging degree of difficulties that can be experienced, and this invariably leads to behaviour being over-pathologised (which can, in turn, result in some behaviours becoming pathological). Another factor is people's resistance to (and ridicule of) practices like child therapy - it's obvious that the mental-health field is fighting a battle from within between those that believe medical solutions will be the best application for the problem and those that would look at other methods (some of which are over draconian in their refusal to prescribe medicines when it would genuinely help)..

    The ritalin thing is like an insane (and very damaging) craze that will die down probably as quickly as it sprang up. Schools aren't medical institutions, and they should really have no right to make such demands, and in America at least, I'm surprised it wasn't already illegal to do so. I guess they get around it by "hiring" people in the medical profession who swear by it's necessity.

    Unfortunately, it will probably all fuel a Tom Cruise-like reaction too far the other way, and medical solutions will be overly heavily restricted in a more general context as a result.
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    Banned Shounak's Avatar
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    One thing that amazes me though is the inappropriate use of ritalin.

    Apparently some people take it to lose weight, as it is a hunger supressant.. Shocking..

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend andyc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Love™
    Child vomit has a lower chunk to fluid ratio, as far as I know, and is sweeter, if that helps.
    I'm not going to ask.

    (Sorry about polluting this thread, by the way)

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    One thing that amazes me though is the inappropriate use of ritalin.

    Apparently some people take it to lose weight, as it is a hunger supressant.. Shocking..
    We've had documented instances of RItalin being used to get high in SA too.

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend andyc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Cat
    We've had documented instances of RItalin being used to get high in SA too.


    I do think that people rely way too much on drugs these days to fix whatever problems they or their kids have. I mean, the advancements that have been in medicine are awesome, but that doesn't mean we should rely fully on it.

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    Banned Shounak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Cat
    We've had documented instances of RItalin being used to get high in SA too.
    Did they use it as a depressant? What effect(s) did it have?

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    World Traveller Craig's Avatar
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    Hasn't Ritalin been linked with side effects such as suicides etc?

    Interesting link to to the side effects of the drug: http://www.breggin.com/Ritalinprnews.html

    I'm sure Corey has read work about and done by Dr Peter Breggin, so if so I will interested to see what his thoughts are?

    This one

    Just looking at some of the links it sounds like bad news and it's side effects sound bad. So what is it's supposed benefits?

    http://www.breggin.com/ritalin.html
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