Ritalin Is Good, Ritalin Is Easy Essay, Research Paper
Ritalin is Good, Ritalin is Easy
Seven years ago I was diagnosed with ADHD or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. In other words, I had a chronic problem paying attention. As a form of treatment for ADHD, I was put on a controversial drug called Ritalin. Now being at the age of sixteen, it was not really my choice whether I wanted to take a doctor s prescription or not. Now that I have grown up a bit and understand things better, I am questioning the benefits of prescribing Ritalin to treat ADD.
My personal experience with Ritalin is mixed. I use it when I am in school and at work and it allows me to concentrate and focus on what I need to do. I use to be a troubled student. Things never came easy to me and far too often they never came at all. Ritalin was like putting on a pair of glasses. Suddenly everything became focused and organized. My schoolwork went for a category I will refer to as second-rate to a straight A student. I was no longer battling with myself to comprehend something. People who knew me as a child would never believe me as to what I have accomplished. That came at a price though, when I am taking Ritalin I drop about fifteen pounds and have constant nausea. I also feel it changes my personality making me a very bland person to talk to. Last year I found myself in the hospital with what can be described as a mild heart attack because of Ritalin. Most of these side effects I have been able to coupe with because the benefits have been so high. I do question if I could have gotten this far without it and if it was really worth it.
I never really took the time to learn about ADHD or Ritalin. Similar to a majority of people with ADHD, I was diagnosed as a child. So I was not the one making the decisions on how it was going to be treated. My doctor recommended Ritalin because of its high success rate. Without much investigation on other forms of treatment, my parents agreed to the Ritalin prescription. Since it did help me, that was end of it. Only now have I learned about the dangers of Ritalin and the other forms of treatment that I feel might have worked just as well.
Before I plunge any deeper, ADHD needs to be defined. ADHD shows strong signs of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness characterize with this disorder. The American Psychiatric Association explains that, Individuals with ADHD may know what to do but do not consistently do what they know because of their inability to efficiently stop and think prior to responding, regardless of the setting or task (CHADD). ADHD believed to be caused by abnormalities in the dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain (CHADD; Long). This lowers the amount of activity in certain areas of the brain and is detectable with brain imaging equipment such as a MRI or a CAT scan. Doctors have found strong links between ADHD and other disabilities and disorders. Children with ADHD commonly are also affected with learning disabilities, behavior disorders, and TIC disorders such as Tourettes. Fifty percent of ADHD children have gross and fine motor control delays. According to the Journal of abnormal child psychology, half of all children with ADHD stay behind a grade and another forty-six percent have been suspended from school (Long). Later in life, seventy-five percent will get divorced. A person with ADHD is also four times more likely to develop a drug addiction and three times more likely to develop an alcohol problem. The information I found concerning ADHD is scary. I feel it demonstrates exactly why ADHD needs thorough treatment.
Ritalin or its formal name of Methylphenidate is the most common form of treatment for ADHD. Ritalin and the other drugs used to treat ADHD are classified as psycho-stimulants. In an article by Dr. Phillip W. Long, he states that, The mode of action in man is not completely understood, but methylphenidate presumably activates the brain stem arousal system and cortex to produce its stimulant effect. This generally produces a very hyper and off-the-wall feeling. Typically when taken by a person with ADHD, the effects are the exact opposite. It actually will calm the person down and focus him or her. According to CHADD (Children and adults with ADHD), seventy to eighty percent of people with ADHD respond positively to this treatment. Ritalin is a stimulant and does hold a wide variety of side effects. It is addictive and people can develop a drug dependency (Mediconsult Limited). There are strong reactions, with risk of a coma, when combined with other drugs or alcohol. A problem I had along with many other Ritalin users was with my heart. Heart palpitations, cardiac arrhythmia, and blood pressure and pulse changes are serious heath risks that can occur using Ritalin. The most common problems that people experience are insomnia, weight loss, irritability, and nervousness. Unfortunately, there is also a lot that is not known or understood about Ritalin like the long-term effects.
This brings me to the question of who is taking Ritalin? Apparently, five million children in the United States alone are prescribed Ritalin to treat ADHD (CHADD). That is about three to five percent of all American school children prescribed to the drug. Ritalin usage has already risen seven hundred percent since 1991. The American Psychiatric Association believes that about one to three percent of the school-aged population is afflicted with full ADHD. An additional five to ten percent are described as partially effected. Also another fifteen to twenty percent show subliminal or suggested behaviors of ADHD. Dr. Edward Hallowell, an expert in learning disabilities, believes Ritalin usage could grow as high as ten percent of all school children. Are their really that many people affected with ADHD and how will we treat that many people?
Is Ritalin or similar drug treatments necessary to treat ADHD? No, Dr. Edward Hallowell writes that having ADHD is not necessarily a bad thing. Often these people are highly imaginative and intuitive. They have a “feel” for things, a way of seeing right into the heart of matters while others have to reason their way along methodically. As for treating ADHD, he says that the simple knowledge that there is a problem can be enough to improve the situation. Modifying the learning environment has been used as an alternative treatment. Simple changes like removing distractions, having directions explained better, or extending testing time can work as well as medication. Others have turned to the help of psychiatrists for counseling. They can help teach a child how to overcome the obstacles of ADHD. Since it is the doctors who diagnose ADHD, It has been my feeling that they prefer to treat it with what they understand, medicine. Non-drug alternatives are out there and they seem to have worked some people. They can be costly or time consuming and not yield any improvements. Then again, Ritalin is the same way.
Ritalin worked for me and also for a lot of other people. Unfortunately I did not know about the alternatives. I did not even know much about the drug I was taking. If I knew then, I may have made a different decision. On the other hand, Ritalin helped me show my full potential and there is no substitute for that. I plan on looking into alternatives but I doubt I will change anything. It s a hard choice and I know a lot of other people have gone through or will go through the same thing.
Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology. NIMH Fails to Endorse Ritalin.
http://www.breggin.com/consensusnihfails.html (08 Feb 1999).
Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology. Ritalin–Other Resources. http://www.breggin.com/ritalin.html (08 Feb 1999).
CHADD. A Disability Named ADD. http://www.chadd.com/fact1-a.htm (06 Feb 1999).
Diller, Dr. Lawrence H. Running On Ritalin. http://www.docdiller.com/html/running.htm (07 Feb 1999).
Hallowell, Dr. Edward M. Whats it like to have ADD. 11 Feb 1999. http://www.add.org/content/abc/hallowell.htm (07 Feb 1999).
Long, Dr. Phillip W. Methylphenidate . 07 Feb 1999. http://www.mentalhealth.com/drug/p30-r03.html (08 Feb 1999).
Mediconsult Limited. Attention Deficit Disorder News. 11 Feb 1999. http://www.mediconsult.com/add/news/ (08 Feb 1999).