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Would You Give Your Child Meds Without Testing?

Two million children have been diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and many take medications like Ritalin for the disorder. But, in some cases doctors have written prescriptions for their young patients without ever looking at the brain for proof. Would you trust a medical expert enough to put your kid on meds without ever looking inside their head?

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lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
i put my 4 year old on risperdal, and that was 6 years ago when it was unheard of for a child. in case you haven't heard of it risperdal is an antipsychotic commonly given to adults with schizophrenia (she has autism). i had to fight to get it for her and i felt like a failure as a parent when i gave her the first dose. but we really had no choice. she was screaming, self-mutiliating, attacking people, almost non stop. the worst thing was her screaming; 7 hours every night like a tourture victim. one tiny dose and it stopped. she's been on it ever since and has never had another episode of night screaming. for the severe kids medicine like this is a really good option. but when parents talk about using this drug i with me i always encourage them to try every other available resource. fyi, risperdal is now recommended for low functioning, severely affected children, on the autism spectrum with extreme behavior issues.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
Greggie--well said, as usual.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
No I wouldn't. I'd also prefer to try diet changes first, then turn to medication. I don't think the majority of ADD/ADHD diagnosises result from bad parenting, but from bad doctoring. It's over-diagnosed, there's no doubt about that. But that doesn't mean the parents are bad parents, they may just need input on how to deal with different behaviors. For instance we're currently having my older son evaluated for OCD. His behavior could easily be miscontrued as ADD, and his behavior is not a lack of parenting. We're at a loss as to how to handle it, which is why we're asking for help. But how we've raised him didn't lead to this. ADD/ADHD is no doubt real, even most of the cases. But unfortunately doctors are quick to diagnose it without any other input. However, Ritalin won't work on a child that isn't validly ADD/ADHD, since it's a stimulant. It would make the behavior worse. Which has all already been said, now that I read back.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
sorry for the long post--I have family with ADD/ADHD and I can personally vouch for the fact that it is real.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
I need to second MarinerMandy--ADD and ADHD are very real disorders. They are not the result of bad or negligent parenting. owever, these disorders are definitely over diagnosed and carelessly diagnosed. Sure, dietary and behavioral changes can help control symptoms--but not always. Dr. Sears has excellent information on diet and behavioral problems. ( I would only use ritalin or similar drugs as a last resort, but they do help some kids and adults with ADD and ADHD when nothing else does the trick. As Mariner also said, ADD/ADHD drugs are not narcotics. These disorders are treated with amphetamines. Essentially the opposite of narcotics. The true add brain processes these drugs differently than the normal brain. In adults a person's reaction to stimulants is often used as a backwards diagnostic tool to identify ADD/ADHD.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I would never put my child on meds/powerful drugs without concrete proof and one doctor recommending it isnt going to cut it, I work with children who have been told they have ADD and ADHD and through testing and observation 90% of them have behavioral issues rather than ADD or ADHD or even ODD. Sadly some parent will just blindy accept the doctors word because they are a) not around enough to actually work with thier own childrens behavioral problems so drugging them is easier or b) too in the dark about what the diagnosis really is.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
ADHD and ADD are very real and can be seen through brain imaging. Drugs like Ritalin are stimulants, I believe they act on the brain in a way similar to cocain. When kids ACTUALLY have it, blood flow doesn't reach that part of the brain the way it does in kids without it. So, you can see how damaging those drugs can be to kids who don't have it and I've got to think that a good percentage of kids on those drugs are just active kids. Drugs are overprescribed all across the board, it's not just for ADD. There is no way I would ever put my kids on those drugs without solid proof that is what is really going on. And not all ADD needs to be managed with drugs. My fiance, his brother, and his father all have ADD so there's a good chance our kids will too. There are certainly things that make it worse (too much tv, not sticking to a routine), but real ADD is not caused by bad parenting.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
I'd never put my kids on these meds EVER. Ritalin is a powerful narcotic. It is my opinion, based on observing my own children, friends children, and research done by sources whom I personally trust, that ADHD is almost completely controlled by nutrition. Cut all sugary cereals, food additives, sodas, etc. from these kids' diets and I would bet my life that their behavior improves.
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
I find this is one of the most widely prescribed OVER USED drugs today. Brendelwoman - I agree with you totally! My nephew was put on Ritalin, Lithium, and a whole bunch of other meds as early as 7 years old ... he turned into a virtual zombie! Yes, he actually has a disorder ... but this was handled wrong, imo!
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 9 years
They can't really prove this, can they? I'm of the camp that thinks most ADHD or ADD is improper parenting. I say most, but not all so please don't hate on me.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
Yeah, there's no way I'd put my kid on ADHD meds without doing the tests to prove he or she actually needed it.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
I would want as much information and proof as possible before putting my child on a prescription drug regimen. Definitely a 2nd or 3rd opinion. ADHD meds are serious business.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
I would need proof before putting my son on something like Ritalin.
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