ADHD - Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder Essay

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ADHD - Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder

When I first heard about ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder), I thought, “C’mon. This psycho-babble has gone too far.” I saw psychologists, researchers, lawyers, teachers, parents, all talking seriously about this claimed disorder. But what I didn’t think about was where this information was coming from. Many talk shows have featured ADHD, where self-righteous citizens cheer, boo, and hiss like a jury at some medieval witch trial. A writer for the reputable publication New York magazine wrote: “[ADHD] is certainly a fitting disorder for the Nintendo and MTV generations—children who seem more at home playing computer games than having a quiet dinner conversation with
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(I can almost hear Geraldo asking his audience, “Today’s topic: Are we drugging our children?”) According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, between 1987 and 1989, “major national television talk show hosts (e.g., Oprah Winfrey, Geraldo Rivera, Phil Donahue, and Morton Downey, Jr.) . . . allowed anecdotal and unsubstantiated critical allegations concerning Ritalin use and side effects to be aired” (Safer 1004). To make matters worse, a Washington lawyer initiated nearly twenty lawsuits contending that Ritalin was being indiscriminately prescribed, as children suffered damaging side effects. At the time, “the attorney was treated in the media as an expert on methylphenidate” (Safer 1004). Later, it was discovered that the lawyer had ties to the Church of Scientology, an organization notorious for media manipulation and opposition to established psychological practices.

Because Ritalin—methylphenidate hydrochloride—is a psychostimulant, there were concerns that children could become dependent on the drug (yes, Geraldo, they do give these kids “speed”). However, Ritalin is a mild stimulant prescribed in doses of 5, 10, and 20 milligrams, depending on the severity of the problem—not enough to get them high or hooked. In ADHD in Schools, George J. DuPaul, a researcher and specialist on ADHD, says
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