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Jessica Hoover

Brett Snipes

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ADHD and Medication on Children

It’s crazy to think we live in a world where medication has become the leading cause to

treat ADHD. Has anyone ever sat back and thought if we need medication to help treat ADHD?

Or is it something that can be changed by the way we view what ADHD is? Peoples views on the

way a child acts determines how that child is viewed in society. Did you know that there are one

half of kids that go untreated for ADHD in the United states? Which begs the question is there

really a need to medicate children with ADHD, or is it just an excuse to ignore the problems that

the child is facing?

Before we start let’s define what ADHD is, ADHD stands for Attention Deficit

Hyperactivity Disorder. A child with ADHD is usually very hyperactive and unable to control

their impulses. In the article that Ellen Braaten wrote she talks about how symptoms of ADHD
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usually show up before the age of 12. With most of the symptoms being treated by a drugs such

as Methylphenidate, Adderall, Ritalin. Methylphenidate is the main category for the drugs such

as Adderall and Ritalin. Which just means that it’s a stimulant medication used for ADHD and

narcolepsy. Its is a first line medication that can either be taken by mouth or applied to the skin.

In a study shown that these said drugs can cause loss if appetite and sleeping problems. Most

teachers, parents, and family still tend to see a better quality of life while the child is taking

them. Still even with the study Ellen Braaten says that it doesn’t confirm weather or not the child

needs the medication. She also says that’s there’s also nothing saying that it helps treat ADHD in

children as well.

Jill Duerr who is a psychologist and developmental psychopathologist that helps with

diagnosing certain disorders in children. States that sometimes kids who are labeled as ADHD

could in return not even have it. That it could definitely be from stress at home and within the

family that causes the children to “act out”. Which leads ADHD to be the highest diagnosed

disorder leaving concerns that 5-8% being over diagnosed. Children who are labeled as having

ADHD could very well have a seizure or neurological disorder. Sometimes even children with

depression could show the same signs as someone labeled with ADHD. This leads so many kids

getting wrongly diagnosed and prescribed medicine for something they may or may not have.

This leads us into talking about medicine such as Adderall being prescribe for a “study

drug” Neurologist Ryan Jaslow says that ADHD is the most prescribed disorder in the whole

country. Drugs like Ritalin and Adderall have been given to 3 million children in one year and

this was just in 2008. With so many doctors prescribing this medication for a “study drug”

parents are now wanting them for that instead of the child actually being medically diagnosed

with ADHD. With so much prescribing of medication for ADHD, doctors are now asked to
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think and evaluate before prescribing the child the medication. They are also being asked to not

fall into peer pressure from parents and drug companies, who are trying to make money of how

much is prescribed out.

We will now go over a study that was done and recorded from nurses at schools. Eileen

O’Connor wrote a article about medicating children and is it to much to soon. In this they did a

study where nurses from a school said they medicate for ADHD more than any other chronic

disease. Now lets let that sink in for a minute, out of all the chronic diseases that there are

including diabetes. ADHD is the number one disease that is medicated in the school system,

which is usually under the age of 12. Gretchen Lefeaver who has a PHD, said that Virginia

schools revealed that the rate of medication was 2 to 3 times higher than the national estimates

for the disorder. This study received that almost as much as two drugs are started at the earliest

age of preschool years. Another MD names Lawrence Diller said that while some medication

works for the short term no one ever talks about the long term effects it has on children. When

looking at different therapies the option for medication came up 70% of the time for treatment.

That means there is another 30% of children who actually received other type of help then being

put on medication.
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Alan Schwarz wrote that kids who were being called “bad seeds” or being a disruptive

child have been seen to have ADHD. He stated that Dr.Conner has noticed that the Centers of

Disease Control shows that 15% of high school kids have been diagnosed with ADHD. Along

with the number of children being medicated has raised to a 3.5 million from 600,000 in the

1990’s. Long time advocates have seen that to try and find and treat every kid with ADHD has

led to many being gave medication that was not needed. ADHD is also listed in second with long

term diagnosis following asthma. The crazy thing is doctors are being paid by the drug

companies to encourage physicians to make more diagnosis and to prescribe more medication for

ADHD. Doctors even go on to say that the drugs for ADHD is as “safe” as taking aspirin, even

though it is listed up with the dangerous drugs such as Oxycodone and morphine. To sit back and

think the things that we are putting in our children could be ranked along with some of the most

addictive drugs there are. And parents are some of the first ones to want their child to be put on

this medication, because they are to hyper.

Going into overdiagnosis and overprescribing for ADHD Daniel Connor about it being

one of the most Studied disorders in children. Between 1980 and 2007 there was an 8 fold
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increase of children diagnosed with ADHD in the United States in 40 years. Along with 7.8% of

kids being diagnosed with ages ranging from 4 years all the way to 17 years of age. Not only was

there a rise in stimulant drugs, but also a rise in antipsychotic drugs between 1993 and 2002. He

also goes on to state that there is more over prescribing medication in males then there are

females, younger than the age of 20. There is still some doubt and confusion as to where the

disorder fits in to a general spectrum of illness. Even to go on saying that ADHD is a socially

constructed disorder rather than a valid neurobiological disorder.

In conclusion reading this research has showed me that while there is a lot of over

prescribing for unnecessary reasons. There is also need for medicating when it comes to some

kids with ADHD. With this being said a lot needs to go into evaluating the child before such

medication is prescribed. Parents and doctors together need to come together to determine if

there are any underlining causes to the behavior. Instead of medicating to solve the problem or to

make them better in their school. We also need to sit back and think about what we are putting

into our children’s bodies. With the medications being up there with opioids, could we be

alternating their brains for the rest of their life’s?

Works Cited

Braaten, Ellen, ADHD medication for kids: IS it safe? Does it help, Harvard Health

Publishing, 4 March 2016,

for-kids-is-it-safe-does-it-help-201603049235, Accessed 2 February 2019.

Connor, Daniel F, Problems of Overdiagnosis and Overprescribing in ADHD, Modern Medicine

Network, 11 August 2011,

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Derrick, Jill Duerr, Gilbert, Neil, Raising Children: Emerging needs, Modern risks, and Social

response’s, Publication date: 2008, Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009,


Jaslow, Ryan, Neurologists warn against prescribing ADHD drugs to kids as “study

drugs”, CBS News, 13 March 2013,


O’Connor, Eileen M, Medicating ADHD: Too much? Too soon, American Psychological

Association, 2001 December,

Schwarz, Alan, The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder, The New York Times, 14

December 2013 ,