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Posted by Keri on September 27, 2000 at 11:14:26:

In Reply to: To Keri posted by Mary on September 27, 2000 at 10:01:44:

You only helped to make my point - not all children who exhibit symptoms of ADD actually HAVE it or require medication for one of your two children. Obviously there are exceptions...although i sense your sarcastic undertones, it does seem that you spent a little more time looking at the diagnosis of your children instead of just hopping on the medication bandwagon. Your one child exhibits symptoms, but you do not give him medication. Your other child has an accurate diagnosis and the symptoms are at a higher level that is not manageable without the medication.
This isnt what I was posting about - I was posting about the fact that if you look at the symptoms of ADD, almost ANY child could fit the bill....and doctors are too quick to diagnose ADD and prescribe ritalin. Approximately 5 million American children take a psychiatric drug today. Based on production/use quotas maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration and national physician practice surveys, it's possible to say with confidence that nearly 4 million children took the stimulant drug Ritalin, or its equivalent, in 1998. No other society prescribes psychoactive medications to children the way we do. We use 80 percent of the world's stimulants such as Ritalin. Only Canada comes close to our rates, using half, per capita, the amounts we do. Europe and industrialized Asia use one-10th of what we do. Psychiatrists in those countries are perplexed and worried about trends in America. The use of psychoactive drugs other than Ritalin for preteen children is virtually unheard of outside this country.
IF IT CAN BE AVOIDED, it should be avoided, as psycho-active medication IS JUST NO GOOD FOR CHILDREN, or even adults for that matter. BUT, in some cases where the options are readily weighed and the ADD diagnosis has been confirmed through many visits, attempts at other alternatives and through the second opinion of other doctors, there is not another alternative that works as well as medication.
I am not saying that everyone can pull through without medication, I am saying that doctors and parents should try every other alternative FIRST. People these days are too quick to bandaid problems with medication. I went to my first visit with a doctor and complained of some FIFTEEN minutes he had assessed me as adult ADD and depression and he wrote me a script for Adderall and Zoloft. My point is that parents and people in general trust a doctors opinion, and often times doctors have a blanket fix for problems instead of really getting to know the patient and the situation and treating it acordingly.
As far as your question on alternatives, there are many. Diet, neurotherapy, exercise, and behavior therapy. Behavior Modification is appealing to parents who may be uncomfortable with medications.
Parent Training is an important part of the Behavior Modification program. The idea is to reward positive behaviors and as much as it possible to ignore negative behavior. Ignoring negatives is important, because many ADD Children feel that "any attention is good attention", even if that attention is negative to the point. When punishment is required, it should be Firm, Fair and Friendly.
Some parents find that a token system of some kind helps to reinforce desired behaviors. While tokens do provide an immediate reward, something that is very important to the ADD/ADHD Child, their effectiveness as a motivator tends to diminish as the child gets older. The problem with Behavior Modification is that everyone in the child's life has to provide consistent reinforcement of the desired behaviors. In reality, such consistency is difficult for even one person to maintain, much less an entire group of parents, teachers and other people in the child's life.
I trust that you dont rely only on the medication for your ADD child. Even when warranted by a positive ADD diagnosis, medication without behavior modification only sets the child for more problems.
In close, I will leave you with this comment by Dr. Peter Breggin, a Maryland psychiatrist and critic of psychiatric medications such as Prozac, describes the Ritalin phenomenon as "an incredible commentary on our society."
"Instead of addressing the basic needs of kids, we drug them," Breggin said. "Better family life, educational facilities, spiritual direction, a safer environment, better television and videos - forget about it. Just drug 'em."

: Read you reply to the post below and feel compelled to reply. I am a nurse and would never give my child anything that I didn't feel wasn't necessary. I invite you to share your suggestions on how to handle ADD children. This board is always looking for good ways to help these children stay on task so they can finish their work in the same amount of time that it takes a child without ADD to finish his homework. We welcome your input on how to get improve the small motor skills of ADD kids so that you can read their writing. Suggestions on how to get them to stay on task when working in a classroom full of distractions would be appreciated too. I have one child with full blown ADD and one with ADD tendencies but did not test positive for ADD so I do know the difference between an regular child and one with ADD. I do applaud the parents that have found ways to avoid using medications but often wonder if there child truly has ADD. I use the medication for my child because he needs all the help he can get to stay on task in his everyday living. Anytime you feel up to spending several hours helping an ADD child with homework that shouldn't take more than 15 minutes to complete please let any one of the ADD parents on this board know and we will be happy to have you take our place in helping with homework.

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