"My 7 year old son doesn't want to take his Ritalin anymore. It makes him feel YUCK!" This is the gist of a post that went crazy on a Facebook page set up for locals in our area.
After about 200 comments a member of the group took the initiative and started a separate Facebook Page called "Ritalin + the Alternatives".
If you want to cause World War 3 just mention the "R" word. It doesn't matter if you know anything about ADHD or not.
Everyone has an opinion. "Half of my child's class is on Ritalin", "An entire grade in my child's school is on Ritalin and they are being given this stuff without prescription". "The teacher insists my child has to go on Ritalin". "It worked for my child". "Stop drugging your kids". Blah blah blah.
Those who have ADHD in their family may mention Concerta which has the same active ingredient as Ritalin. They may also mention Strattera which is also used to treat ADHD.
Then of course there are the diets, the good and bad foods, and a vast array of nutriceuticals and other treatments.
But nothing stirs up the emotions as much as the word Ritalin.
I could almost feel the blood and vitriol spurting out through the ether as the slanging matches gathered momentum.
As exams draw near, this debate about Ritalin hots up. More prescriptions are written to supposedly help children and teens achieve better results. Who is writing these prescriptions and on what basis are they justifying their decisions to give a particular person ADHD medication?
If this medication is being obtained without the necessary monthly prescription who is supplying the medication?
These are the questions that should be asked.
At Living ADDventure® we repeatedly say that ADHD medication has an important role to play in a multi-disciplinary treatment plan for managing ADHD. See Dave's article on Medication only being 12.5% of a good treatment plan.
There is no magic bullet and no one thing works. ADHD is a complex condition and requires a thorough diagnosis and the medication needs to be constantly monitored. What we need to remember is ADHD medication makes you aware that you have been distracted, the primary characteristic of ADHD, but you still need to learn the life skills and tools necessary to manage the ADHD.
Watch this video clip to see how Ritalin and Concerta work in the brain. It will open in a new window.
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