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 ADHD and ADD.....is it for real? 
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I am just curious.....how many of you think that children are over diagnosed and over drugged for attention disorders. Sometimes I think that children that have lots of energy are labeled attention deficit. And if all these kids do have these problems, why don't other countries have them? Our diet, our upbringing....whats up?

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Lauren Cagle


Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:59 am
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I do think children are over diagnosed when it comes to ADD and ADHD. My mom used to be the school nurse for my Elementary school, and she said at lunch time the line for students to get their ADHD medicine would go out the door and into the hallway. Her theory is that every child who is hyper in anyway is put on medicine so the teachers and/or parents won't have so much to deal with, especially in single-parent families. It is an easy fix. She says that most of the children were just normal, healthy, children who naturally had a lot of energy. What I find disturbing about it is the damage these pills, as with any pills, do on the liver. Putting young children on medicine for the entirety of their childhood, especially children who don't really need it, is damaging to their health and to their psyche.

Another disturbing fact is that studies have shown children who take ADHD medicine all through adolescence are usually yanked off of it at the age of 18 by their doctors. It has been proven that many of these children who are taken off the medicine begin doing coke because they do not feel normal off of the medicine after having taken it for 14 years, and coke, having the same euphoric or up feelings as ADHD medicine, makes them feel normal again.

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Sarah Concra


Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:56 am
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oh yea i def agree. i feel that we are way too quick to drug up the children of america these days. As we talked about in class i feel that if you diagnose a child too early it could be a stigma attached to them throughout their schooling...or the child could begin to use it as a crutch and excuse of why they aren't completing assignments or behavoring poorly

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Amanda Nicole Ricketts


Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:22 pm
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I COMPLETELY agree that children are over-drugged. If I think back on it, there are definitely some kids in my elementary and middle school that could have been considered ADD or ADHD, but at that time kids weren't diagnosed left and right like today. I do feel like there are some special cases however that may require medication. I have a child at the daycare I work at who MUST have ADHD. He can't control his actions. He is so wild and so out of control. He hits other kids and when you ask him if he should have done that, he knows he shouldn't and he says he's sorry, but he'll get up and hit someone right away. When I've tried to have him look me in the eyes, he can't do it. His eyes move a million miles a minute. He's so out of control, that I think that he could benefit from medication. We have other kids who have a hard time concentrating, kids that others may qualify as ADD or ADHD, but I don't think that they need to be medicated. OK, so recap: I am against medication in general, but there are some cases that are so severe that I think it's ok, but it's just gotten out of control the way doctors hand out medicine like candy.

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Katie David


Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:36 pm
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I was diagnosed with ADD in high school. This was almost 7 years ago now, and even at that time my doctor refused to write me any kind of prescription without first referring me to a psychologist for formal testing. I distinctly remember talking to the doctor about how rampantly children were being medicated on the basis of illegitimate "diagnoses," and reflecting on how much media attention and parental concern this had already generated.

Several hundred dollars' worth of psychological evaluation later, I was as ADD as you could "officially" get. Now...for me, the medication has been extremely helpful, and I can't honestly imagine how I would have survived college without it. But here are my caveats:

First of all, I am without the "H," which means that I am not of the hyperactive variety of deficient attention. Thus, medication does not turn me into a zombie the way it might for hyperactive kids (well, not in exactly the same way). Rather, it enables me to spend lots of time on the same task and also to focus in-depth on a lot of minute details. This is much appreciated on my part. I used be physically unable to begin any kind of scholarly task, and would literally stare through books, computer screens, notebook paper, etc. for hours and hours on end. I do believe that everybody has problems focusing, but I can only attest to the fact that my own inability to do so was academically crippling and didn't seem to be shared by any of my friends.

I'm well educated on the debates concerning whether or not ADD is a "real" disorder. I tend to believe that it is largely a social phenomenon--as Lauren, I think, suggested--but that it does also refer to real disparities between "normal" and abnormal neural activity. ADD, like depression, is a psychological phenomenon which is inextricably tied to the material and historical conditions of its emergence. However, even if some combination of television and chemicals is ultimately responsible for the impoverished circuitry in my brain, the fact remains that it exists and that it can be treated.

Second caveat: I didn't go on medication until I was almost 17 years old. That's VERY different than being diagnosed at age 4 or 5. I agree that young children should not be made easier to deal with simply by sprinkling their cookies with mind/body-numbing drugs. Very small kids are supposed to be hard to handle. However, we are in the golden age of prescription drugs, and drug manufacturers are creating new psychological conditions--along with the pills to treat them, conveniently--at an astounding rate. ADD is being marketed; this means that parents are buying their children's disorders at the same that they buy their medications.

So what is left for a teacher to do? Some kids will be unnecessarily medicated while others will be so perhaps more appropriately; others will be bat-shit crazy and entirely unmedicated. What kind of a classroom dynamic is this to deal with? And how will you deal with these facts, your lack of control over these decisions, and the potential for unfair advantages/disadvantages among the populations of your classrooms? Everybody agrees that kids are overdiagnosed...what are you going to do about it?

A couple of other things...in response to Sarah, I haven't personally heard of anybody being yanked off their medication at age 18, but maybe that's because most of the people I know who are prescribed medication for ADD have been, like me, diagnosed late in high school rather than at a younger age. In response to Amanda, the stigma/crutch association is a real one. Personally, I have always feared the stigma and refused to rely on the crutch (for example, I've never taken advantage of ASU's learning disability program or the perks it offers, such as priority registration or extended amounts of time for tests/other assignments). But these are important things to keep in mind when you have a student with poor or erratic performance. I've never told most of my teachers that I have ADD but it might have helped some of them to know. Students "own" their ADD in very different ways, some flaunting it and some hiding it.


Sat Apr 21, 2007 4:39 pm
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I totally agree that kids are over-drugged as well. We aren't called the Prozac nation for no reason. But, I will back that ADD and ADHD is a real disorder. My younger brother has been diagnosed ADHD, and when he does not take his medicine, he can't concentrate on anything for more than 3 minutes. So in his case, the medicine really helps and it has helped him IMMENSELY in school.

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Matt Cobb


Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:55 am
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