This is the startling introduction to an article on the prescription of amphetamines to ‘treat’ ADHD in the US.
The figures are mind-boggling. Nearly 4 million Americans, most of them children and young adults, are being prescribed amphetamine-like stimulants to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Up to a million more may be taking the drugs illegally.
The New Scientist article Prescribing of hyperactivity drugs is out of control describes the prolonged and extensive use of amphetamine like drugs to ‘control’ ADHD, and some of the worrying side effects not only of the medication, but also this approach of dealing with the ‘problem’.
To diagnose ADHD reliably, a psychiatrist would ideally observe a child for several hours, checking their behaviour against a list of symptoms relating to activity and ability to concentrate. But in many cases, family doctors are prescribing the drugs after just a few minutes of consultation, based largely on evidence of boisterousness.
Doctors are under growing pressure from children and their parents to prescribe the drugs, as many believe that stimulants will help them get better school grades. “I have a colleague whose son was mobbed by friends wanting prescriptions,” says Scott Kollins, a child psychologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina
I’ve never worked with someone with ADHD so I’m not well placed to judge the non pharmaceutical alternatives. However Don Blackerby has been using NLP and now EFT on pupils with ADD/ADHD to good effect. You might like to check out his approach to dealing with learning difficulties as an alternative to a bottle of Ritalin.