27 June 2012

Meatless Friday Thursday: Adderall Edition

I just came across this Jim Goad article on TakiMag and enjoyed such a succinct, and devastating, take on force-feeding our children amphetamines. From the full piece:

Losing Interest in Attention Deficit Disorder

...Maybe because I’m crazy, I question the validity of all psychiatric diagnoses, but especially ones that result in millions of prescriptions for legal amphetamines. I arch my eyebrow even higher at the fact that tots as young as THREE can be prescribed Adderall to “cure” a “condition” that is diagnosed by means no more scientific than answering an old-fashioned questionnaire.

Suddenly, yes, this has my full attention.

An estimated one in ten American schoolchildren has been diagnosed with ADHD, an “illness” that miraculously didn’t exist until it was formally enshrined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1987. As a result of the new illness and all the new diagnoses, kids are being showered with Ritalin and Adderall as if Skittles and M&Ms were raining from the sky.

Then, almost as if by coincidence, it was “discovered” that adults weren’t paying attention either, so the nice men in the white coats let them have speed, too. All the speed they wanted. Verily, and so the office workers, the door-to-door salesmen, and the college students throughout the valley all took speed, and yea, it was good.

No one seemed to pay attention to the fact that this might become a problem.

The main problem is that these “diseases” are not caused by germs or viruses or, as far as it seems, anything remotely resembling indisputable chemical or brain-scan evidence. This is nothing more than speculation that diseases exist based on the act of describing common symptoms.

OK, I saw one brain-scan study where the ADHD kids had smaller brain areas than the normal kids, but it was later revealed that—ta da!—it may have been caused by the fact that these kids had already been on Ritalin for years. So there’s possibly some confusion about cause and effect there.

So I’m not convinced that “ADD” and “ADHD” are anything more than ideas. At least that’s how it seems to me at the moment. I can be persuaded otherwise, but you’ll have to be very, you know, persuasive. I suspect that what is often misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is actually Teacher Charisma Deficit Disorder.


If you had told me thirty years ago that they’d be prescribing amphetamines to kindergarteners who acted up in class, I would have said you’re crazy. Now that they’re actually doing it, I say the world’s crazy.

Suddenly everyone’s depressed. Suddenly everyone’s anxious. Suddenly everyone’s distracted. And suddenly there are pills for all of it.


During grade school, I was told the reason I acted up in class was because I was smart and found the subject matter they were teaching to be boring. Even at six years old, that alibi didn’t ring true with me. I wasn’t paying attention to the teachers because they weren’t very interesting. But aside from a few detentions, the worst I got out of it was an “F” grade in Conduct one semester. These days they’d diagnose me with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and herd me onto the Kiddie Cattle Car of the American Speed Train.

There’s no better time to question authority than when they make the very act of questioning authority into a mental disorder.

Sometimes boys are made to misbehave, and it’s healthier to let ’em do it. At least it’s better than if in some misguided attempt to make them behave, you create a prematurely burned-out tweaker in the process. Right now, I’m happy it’s just me, my unbroken restless spirit, and my coffee.


Dan said...

Interestingly, many of these unruly children ARE suffering from something: the lack of a mother at home starting at infancy. With all these mums who have been sold the bill-of-goods that it's better to have an outside job and dump your children off at Granny's or some awful daycare center this problem was very, very predictable.

Obviously I don't endorse this dubious "illness" nor its "treatment" with things like Ritalin. I do endorse mothers staying at home and letting fathers bring home the bacon. No, mom and dad, it wont be easy; you will have to forego a few niceties in your life. But maybe your children are more important?

Peggy R said...

Oh there are not enough pixels on the web for me to address this adequately. Dan is correct. Kids are institutionalized in structured environments too young, emotionally detached from their mothers, too. There are also so many changes in what they do at schools today--Catholic or public. They all go to the same teacher colleges. My pet peeve is the system doesn't believe in memorization or oral recitation to learn, especially math. I hate how math is taught. "O you can do that at home" they tell me. Right. After 7 hours at school. The children are pressured in our district from 1st grade to do math problems fast so as to perform well on testing for $$$. They are given timed tests almost daily from that grade on. That is what is meant by teach to the test I now know. The children are not learning anything but to be trained monkeys.

On ADD/ADHD fiction, the fact is that the environment around the children has changed. The children have not. And the environment and it's expectations are not appropriate to the children. The video games and fast entertainment programming are problems as much as school expectations are. The child would do just a bit better on timed math tests if he had a pill some parents are told.

My kids experienced trauma in infancy and are not like others. I don't allow them to be diagnosed/labeled "Add". I point to the physical and emotional trauma as affecting them and their development and response to environment.

If children must be drugged, of which I am skeptical, there are non-stimulants and less harmful products available.

Latinmassgirl said...

Getting off junk food such as sugar and prepared foods that use glue-meat is one way to help those children stop suffering.

Of course, recess would help. You know, not when you sit in the gym and play "Zingo" or watch movies but actually go outside and play those competitive sports such as kickball, baseball, soccer, street hockey. But we must never, never actually let the children win or loose now. That is against all the new rules at the gov. run institutions, I mean schools.