Many children today are being branded as mentally ill just because they don’t behave like other children in the classroom. When a child constantly squirms in his seat, when he speaks out when it’s not his turn to speak or when he makes careless mistakes, his teacher can immediately advice his parents to take him to a psychiatrist because he may have ADD or ADHD.
However, it is clear based on many evidences that are supported by science that ADD or ADHD doesn’t exist and that it is not a real medical diagnosis (Rosemond & Ravenel, 2008, p.4).
Every day in the US, millions of children are given prescription medications before they can go to school or start their daily activities (Breggin, 2001, p.4). Many of them are taking dangerous drugs like Ritalin and other amphetamines to control their supposedly abnormal behavior.
Medical professionals have given these children psychiatric prescriptions for ADD or ADHD, a psychiatric illness in epidemic proportions that don’t exist and seems to be a tool of pharmaceutical companies to make tons of money (Conrad, 2006, p.15).
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or Attention-deficit disorder (ADD) is a neurobehavioral disorder that has something to do with the development of human beings. Symptoms appear in children before 7 years of age and include various behaviors showing inattention and impulsiveness.
Some studies show that it is more common in boys than in girls (Pomere, 2007, p.7). In general, ADHD is a chronic disorder that persists into adulthood. However, people who have ADHD usually develop coping mechanisms to counter their symptoms. The illness was formerly called ADD but the term was changed because of recent versions of the DSM.
Pharmaceutical companies today are recommending various amphetamines for many illnesses, especially ADHD. These drugs couldn’t be more dangerous and ineffective in solving the real problem. The calming effect of amphetamines on neurological disorders was just accidentally discovered in 1937 when a physician administered amphetamines to children who had headaches.
The amphetamine which he administered did not really cure the children’s headache but it did make them docile (Shorter, 2005, p.34). From then on, pharmaceutical companies have been prescribing these dangerous medications to people for the littlest of reasons. Today, the amphetamine Ritalin is the champion of pharmaceutical companies against the epidemic of ADHD.
The growth of the disease and the corresponding use of amphetamines by children are unbelievable. In 1970, more than 200,000 children were already on amphetamines even without tests to confirm the real abnormality behind the perceived disease. In 1985, the epidemic grew to more than 500,000 cases and now currently stands at 6 million cases (Baughman, et al. 2006, p.72). Brain scans are currently used by experts to validate the existence of disease in children.
Results supposedly show that the brains of children suffering from ADHD are 10% smaller than the brains of healthy children. However, most children whose brains are scanned take the amphetamine stimulant drug, Ritalin. Amphetamines have long been found to cause brain shrinkage in people. Therefore, results of these brain scans are deceptive because they may be measuring brain shrinkage caused by Ritalin and not by ADHD (Baughman, et al. 2006, p.180).
The effects of an ADHD are immediate and cruel. Once a child is diagnosed with ADHD, he will not be treated normally by his family, friends, and most people around him. He gets stigmatized as the amphetamine that he takes poisons his bodies. He then has to go through a very difficult life filled with emotional and physical stress.
Diagnosis of ADHD can’t be more dubious. According to experts, ADHD is possible to diagnose using interview methods. If you go to your doctor for an examination of your child who may have ADHD, the doctor will admit that no single can test can validate the disease. The diagnosis is simply based on an interview with questions regarding your child’s behavior (Stein, 2001, p.52).
Your child may be diagnosed with ADHD if he has exhibited six or more of the following inattention symptoms for more than six months: (1) he often makes careless mistakes in school or doesn’t give enough attention to details, (2) he finds it difficult to carry on tasks or sustain play, (3) he often doesn’t follow instructions and finish his school activities, (4) he’s not good in organizing activities and tasks, (5) he doesn’t like tasks that require constant mental activity, (6) he often looses his school things, such as books, pencils and toys, (7) he gets easily distracted, and (8) he exhibits forgetfulness in his daily activities (Stevens, 2000, p.9).
Aside from inattention symptoms, your child may also be diagnosed with ADHD if he shows six or more of the following hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms for more than six months: (1) he often squirms in his seat or fidgets with his feet and hands, (2) he often leaves his seat during class, (3) he often climbs or runs about when it’s inappropriate to do so, (4) he finds it difficult to quietly do activities, (5) he’s very talkative, (6) he blurts out his answers before questions are even completed, (7) he finds it difficult to wait for his turn, and (8) he always intrudes on or interrupts others (Stevens, 2000, p.9).
All the behaviors listed above may be frustrating to teachers, parents, and other people, but they are normal behaviors that children who have different personalities may exhibit. Some children do require more discipline and attention than others but this fact doesn’t make them mentally abnormal. Note that the diagnosis of ADHD is purely subjective (Baughman, et al. 2006, p.70).
Teachers or doctors observe the behaviors of children, and based on their judgment on what constitutes normal and abnormal behavior, they group children into healthy and mentally ill human beings. How could one rely on such diagnosis if judgments differ from one person to another depending on their personal background?
Many issues rise from the relatively quick diagnosis of ADHD among schoolchildren. Some schools in the country are understaffed and underfunded. These schools don’t have enough resources and tools to manage children of different behaviors and characteristics (Jensen, 2004, p.4). It would be easier for these schools to teach and control schoolchildren if they all followed instructions like zombies. With the introduction of amphetamine drugs such as Ritalin, differences in the personalities of schoolchildren can be avoided.
Since the drug makes them all docile, understaffed and underfunded schools can make them all stay in one place while the teachers do their work. The drug though doesn’t make the children any smarter. It shrinks the brain while making them eerily docile.