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Methylphenidate: Calming Chaos or Cultural Genocide? Essay

Decent Essays
Methylphenidate: Calming Chaos or Cultural Genocide?

Energetic, rowdy, animated. These adjectives, often used in describing the routines and milieu of the child, are now not as accurate as they once were. Words such as focused, calm, and attentive can be applied more readily. The differentiating characteristic between these two groups—methylphenidate.

A central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, methylphenidate—more commonly known as Ritalin—is drug prescribed in the treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) ((1)). AD/HD, by definition, is "developmentally inappropriate behavior, including poor attention skills, impulsivity, and hyperactivity" sustained for more than 6 months, appearing usually during childhood2
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In recent years, the number of children diagnosed as AD/HD has increased drastically—more than four million children5 ((5)). Statistics behind the disorder are rather shocking:

- "The use of medication to treat children between the ages of 5 and 14 also increased by approximately 170 percent."

- "The number of preschool children being treated with medication for ADHD tripled between 1990 and 1995."

- "The number of children ages 15 to 19 taking medication for ADHD has increased by 311 percent over 15 years."

- "The U.S. produces and consumes about 85 percent of the world's production of methylphenidate". 6 ((6))

Simply, the trend demonstrates an increasing diagnosis and treatment rate of AD/HD. The affect, in turn, is a sizable circulation of methylphenidate.

Controversial theories and incongruous studies present two perspectives on the long-term impact of methylphenidate use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has been pursuing further studies to determine whether AD/HD can lead to increased risks of substance abuse and addiction. Two theories, examine the study using differing catalysts for addiction—medications used in the treatment of AD/HD and the disorder itself7 ((7)). The former follows along the premise that over time the brain becomes somewhat desensitized to the stimulant. With time, a greater quantity is required to achieve the rewarding properties of the
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