Essay on Ritalin, Helpful and Harmful

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Ritalin - Helpful and Harmful When "20/20" and "Oprah" did segments about ADD on television, many parents felt that they finally knew what was "wrong" with their kids. They rushed to the doctor's office to find out how they could "fix" the problem. Most soon discovered a drug called Ritalin. It sounded simple. All they had to do was give their rambunctious or hyperactive child a pill three or four times a day, and magically he or she would be a perfect little angel. Most were so happy to find a cure that they did not stop to contemplate other methods of treatment, possible side effects, or get a second opinion. Dr. Sharon Collins believes this is because, "It takes time for parents and teachers to talk to kids. It takes…show more content…
Many experts feel physicians should be more aware of the side effects of the drug and look to alternate solutions before prescribing Ritalin. Some experts also believe that Ritalin should be only part of the treatment for patients with ADD or ADHD. The drug, which now saturates the market, produces the same sensations as the narcotic speed if someone who is not ADD or ADHD takes it. Because of its narcotic nature, Ritalin is considered by law to be a controlled substance, and its dosage and intake must be carefully monitored. Parents see Ritalin as a "quick fix" and urge doctors to prescribe it for their children, thus leading to premature or improper diagnoses, more people having adverse side effects to the drug, and an increased availability of the drug for non-medicinal purposes. Many doctors do not take the time to perform a complete evaluation of the patient who is suspected to have ADD or ADHD. They listen to the teacher or parent and assume because the child has a short attention span or is very hyperactive that the child must have ADD. The doctors do not take time to examine other possibilities for the child's behavior "such as learning disabilities, depression, or anxiety-disorders that look like ADHD, but do not need Ritalin" (Hancock 55). This need to find a "quick fix" has
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