So Ritalin is a write-off

It was only a matter of time before some study concluded that Ritalin is not doing much good for “sufferers” of ADHD. That’s the modern term for a child who misbehaves. He drives his parents mad and he doesn’t pay attention in class.

Little Johnny is a terror at home and at school so a psychiatric specialist decides that he has Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Johnny is then prescribed Ritalin, a stimulant which ironically subdues him, making life much easier for everyone around him.

Wikipedia, to say the least, tells us that ADHD is a controversial subject because it is hard to define, but whatever it is, the knowledge that Johnny has a developmental problem rather than simply being unbearable is a great comfort to parents and, of course, to the medical profession who can then prescribe drugs and that makes the pharmaceutical companies very happy too.

Sadly, parents are not let off the hook completely, however, since the condition is 75% heritable.

Be that as it may, Ritalin has saved the sanity of many a parent and teacher.

So imagine what a blow it must be when a new study concludes that there is no improvement in school results and furthermore, children who are on Ritalin have higher blood pressure than those who aren’t and that, worse still, that high blood pressure remains even after the Ritalin has been discontinued.

What a surprise! A medication with side effects. Not a panacea, after all.

Never mind, because as I write there is a great brain out there working on the thesis that high blood pressure is a good thing. Anyway, this leaves the way open for the development of specific new drugs to lower blood pressure in children with ADHD who are on Ritalin.

I wonder if ADHD will go the way of RSI, (Repetitive Strain Injury) which was the condition du jour a few years ago? Young people, those under the age of twenty, won’t have a clue what this is. RSI was cured by having lots of days off work with a doctor’s letter to the employer. It was also cured when people stopped doing what was hurting them. Once that was achieved the anti-inflammatory industry was very upset and had to look for something else to cure.

It’s been a while since I’ve heard adenoids mentioned. Whatever happened to them? Have they gone the way of dropsy and lumbago? They certainly aren’t fashionable any more. Not half as fashionable as lap-band surgery and that nebulous autism…

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7 thoughts on “So Ritalin is a write-off

  1. You could be right Max, but don’t you think that the doctors have had a long enough run with “There’s something going around…a virus.”

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  2. Thank you for speaking out. I am a teacher, and I too am totally disgusted with officialdom’s methods on eduaction in general, and regarding Ritalin in particular. What on earth is going on where there are studies and “measures” on how to reduce illicit and harmful drug use, alongside enforced, legalised drugging of children with the very same class of drugs (amphetamine type stimulants, of which Ritalin is one) in the name of what are, in my opinion, totally specious reasons (helping so called ADHD)?! What is it with that??

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  3. Yes, Craig, it is a paradox isn’t it? We should be using behaviour modification rather than medication, but popping a pill is so much easier than actually disciplining your children and teaching them to behave. As for teachers they have the unenviable job of trying to make up for the lack of discipline by parents who think that pandering to their children’s whims is doing them a favour. It isn’t.

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