Ritalin - The Wonder Drug Or The Monster Creator? Essay

This essay has a total of 1767 words and 7 pages.

Ritalin - The Wonder Drug Or The Monster Creator?

'Why didn't the ADHD boy introduce his girlfriend to any of his friends? A) He can't
remember her name; or better yet, How would they diagnose ADD in a chicken? A) It never
gets all the way across the road because of all the distractions. You could say growing up
was hard; everyday I had to endure cruel teeny bopping teenagers who didn't understand my
condition. What really made it hard was that I didn't even understand my condition. Seven
years ago I was diagnosed with ADHD or Attention Deficit/ Hyper- activity Disorder. In
other words, my brain was like a light constantly going off and on at the worst possible
times. As a form of treatment for ADHD, I was put on a controversial drug called Ritalin.
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 ADHD.


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. I use to have consent run-ins with the law. Things never came easy to me and far
too often they never came at all. Ritalin was like putting on a pair of glasses worn by
Superman. Suddenly everything became focused and organized. My schoolwork went form 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 just like Al Gore. 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.


On the other hand, According to a Time magazine article about the benefits of Ritalin,
Ritalin even though its controversial, it seems to be the most effective way of treating
ADHD. Lisa Horowitz of Brooklyn, says, "I was against the medication at first, like
everybody else," Lisa was use to seeing her son running around like a Gorilla from the
Mist before he was put on Ritalin, but after "There was a complete difference," she
marvels. "He was able to sit through a TV program; he was actually able to sit and learn
in school; he was able to sit and play with toys for longer than a minute or two. You
could tell right away that he was focusing better." Now Michael is eight years old, and
medication has become a part of family life (Lisa Horowitz).


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 the 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. If you
had to picture someone with this disorder just picture the Tasmanian Devil and the Woody
Wood Pecker having a child. You get the picture now! 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
Continues for 4 more pages >>




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