Children, ADHD, and Medication By: Maddie Harris

Me just being a kid. My teacher thought I was too silly.

My whole life, I have struggled with attention difficulties. In first grade my teacher kept contacting my parents; concerned about my short attention span and performance in school, as I was struggling and being “too silly”. My parents immediately got in touch with a professional to figure out what the problem was. ADHD was not as known as it is now, then it was back in 2005. Of course my parents were worried and confused; willing to listen to any diagnoses and cure given.

This is me during the time period of losing too much weight. This resulted in my being dangerously underweight for my height and age.

The doctor was quick to medicate me; starting me on a daily dose of Ritalin. From then on, until I stopped taking medication for ADHD, I changed as a person. Having been on several different stimulants to try to figure out the best option over the course of more than eight years, I became irritable, worried, struggled with image issues because of the medication side effects of losing appetite. The amount of weight I lost was a major concern and a dangerous one too. I went from a normal weight to under weight in a short matter of time.

Not only was I on mood medication for that reason, but also since I had lost so much weight, I needed to be on a medication that I would gain weight from too. Mood medication was what doctors suggested.

Since the medication was so impactful on my mood, I then had to be put on a medicine to regulate my behavior. I am still to this day on medication for my mood, due to the issues the ADHD stimulants left me with. In St. Louis Today, the editorial board writes, “ADHD meds are dangerous and highly addictive. Side effects include disturbed sleep patterns, mood swings, increased blood pressure, growth suppression and elevated body temperature. In extreme cases they can cause psychiatric side effects, including paranoia, hallucinations, aggression, suicidal thoughts and psychotic behavior.” In my opinion, with all the side effects that can occur, it is not worth the anxiety of worrying if the child will experience these harmful effects from medication. It is better to just not try the medication on the child at all, then risking it and having it go completely wrong.

Medicating a child for ADHD seems to be a very controversial topic. Some parents are quick to making assumptions regarding the fact that their child has ADHD and needs medication. What if today I told you that ADHD has been frequently misdiagnosed and their habits are actually normal for their age or that medication can be harmful to the child and their future? Who knows if my diagnosis for ADHD is actually ADHD? Knowing how ADHD medication has impacted me for the rest of my life, children should not be medicated for ADHD because medication can create more problems for the child and their future. Medication for ADHD has been shown to not even work in the long-run with school achievement, ADHD medication can cause dangerous side effects, and some of the tendencies that the child is experiencing and being diagnosed for as ADHD Is actually considered normal for humans. The question then continues to why bother putting a child at possible risk for a disaster? Although this is my story, this has been proven.

I made this in school. According to my teacher, I had a difficult time following and understanding the directions in making this for St. Patricks Day.

Children should not be medicated for ADHD because the medication has been shown to not even work in the long-run with school achievement. For the most part, children with attention problems and or need help regulating impulsive and hyperactivity tendencies, experience these problems in the classroom. School is very important because it prepares us for the “real world” and our futures depend on what we have studied in school. The medicine has been found to stop working once the child has taken it over a certain time period, making it so that the medicine stops benefitting them with their school work. L. Alan Sroufe, author of the New York Times article “Ritalin Gone Wrong” states, “But when given to children over long periods of time, they neither improve school achievement nor reduce behavioral problems.” With that being said, why put the child through the hardship of going on medication, if in the end the medicine will become ineffective.

As you can see, I have just grown up to be a silly kid. There is nothing wrong with being silly.

Children should not be medicated for ADHD because the certain tendencies that they are experiencing can be considered normal. Throughout the years I have realized that I am just an incredibly silly person. It is just how I am and I should not have been medicated for something that is not a problem. It almost makes it seem as if the parents are doing something wrong and trying to make their child different because of their own tolerance level and ability to handle their child. When children are growing up and developing, sometimes it can add different little tendencies that may be seen as a problem. However, they are just part of life and the journey to growing up. A child should not be put on medication for something that is normal for humans to do. We are all human, so the child should not be treated as if there is something wrong with them.

In an OPED by Dr. Richard Saul, he says, “How many of us can claim that we have difficulty with organization or a tendency to lose things; that we are frequently forgetful or distracted or fail to pay close attention to details? Under these subjective criteria, the entire U.S. population could potentially qualify. We’ve all had these moments, and in moderate amounts they're a normal part of the human condition.” Saul is basically saying that the whole United States could qualify for having ADHD due to certain characteristics. However, since these characteristics are normal and frequently experienced by most people in the U.S., there is no need to try and treat it. Some people might go into saying that children with ADHD is a real issue and needs medication as treatment in order to fix the situation. Parents, teachers and other important figures in the child’s life may say that medication is the last resort and that they have tried everything else to try and help the child. If that is the case, then parents should consult with a doctor and go over all the possible harmful effects of ADHD medication to see if it is even worth trying.

I have accomplished a lot in my life, whether or not I have ADHD. I did not take ADHD medication in high school on, and look where I am now!

It is important to really consider the horrible side effects that ADHD medication can play on a child in the long run and in their everyday life. ADHD can technically ruin and child’s life for the future by adding unwanted behavioral and emotional habits to their life that they may had not experienced prior to the medication. I am so thankful that although I have been left with negative side effects from stimulants, I am lucky enough to have been able to work through them. Some people are not as fortunate as me in this situation, which is why children with ADHD should not be medicated!!!!!

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Created with images by fdecomite - "Blues" • Hans - "cloud cumulus clouds cumulus" • s.sawada - "Blue sky" • reynermedia - "Blue pattern" • Nick Kenrick.. - "slightly blue"

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