Posts Tagged ‘attention deficit hyperactivity disorder’

Shock Horror: Sleep Deprived Children Diagnosed with ADHD Instead!

June 18, 2013

 

adhd

What upsets me more than anything when it comes the the explosion of ADHD diagnoses of young children, is that many doctors seem to dismiss other possible causes such as sleep deprivation, family issues and diet way too readily:

More children – and adults – than ever are being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Yet many of those may not have the behavioural disorder but could instead be suffering from sleep deprivation, says a leading U.S. doctor. He estimates more than a third of children and a quarter of adults diagnosed with ADHD actually have sleep problems.

Sleep deprivation, especially in children, does not – as might be expected – cause lethargy, but very similar problems to ADHD, including hyperactivity, an inability to focus, aggression and forgetfulness.

The similarity between the symptoms, coupled with many doctors’ poor understanding of sleep disorders, is what is causing the confusion in some patients, says Vatsal Thakkar, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine.

‘While there is no doubt that many people have ADHD, a substantial proportion of cases are really sleep disorders in disguise,’ he says.

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Why Are There So Many Children Exposed to Prescription Drugs?

May 6, 2013

rit

It is my ardent belief that there are far too many children on ADHD medication. Whilst I am clearly no expert, it bothers me when children are prescribed Ritalin and the like, when other factors such as diet, learning difficulties and personal issues have not been properly looked at.

It also bothers me that the amount of children taking prescription medication seems to be escalating markedly. Even the experts are starting to raise doubts about the over prescribing that seems to be taking place.

I sincerely don’t want to end up with the kind of numbers being reported in the US:

One-in-four U.S. teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once — a 33 percent increase in the past five years, experts say.

A survey by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation also found 1-in-8 U.S. teens reported taking the stimulants Ritalin or Adderall not prescribed for them at least once.

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Get Your Kids on Ritalin Before Their Grades Suffer

June 26, 2012

I am sickened by the forces that are trying to get impressionable parents to see ADHD drugs as if they were multivitamins. There are many factors that result in a loss of concentration in the classroom. They include diet, sleep deprivation and uninspiring, non engaging teaching styles.

Why then, is Ritalin seen as the only solution for this problem:

Kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, struggle in school. Their wandering concentration makes it tough to follow directions, absorb lessons, and finish homework. Now, new research may offer a partial solution.

The large new study funded by the government of Iceland suggests that stimulant medications like Ritalin may help to prevent some of those academic declines.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that the earlier kids get started on drug treatment, the less their academic performance was likely to suffer between fourth and seventh grades, especially in math. And girls saw a bigger benefit than boys did from early drug treatment.

Why is a lack of concentration viewed with such negativity?

It is Doctors Not Teachers Who Are Helping Children Get Good Grades

June 12, 2012

A big thank you must go out for all overprescribing doctors who are doing their bit to have children improve their grades. Thanks to your desire to see children succeed and your devotion to health, you have made amphetamine readily available to all those in need (and even for those not in need).

He steered into the high school parking lot, clicked off the ignition and scanned the scraps of his recent weeks. Crinkled chip bags on the dashboard. Soda cups at his feet. And on the passenger seat, a rumpled SAT practice book whose owner had been told since fourth grade he was headed to the Ivy League. Pencils up in 20 minutes.

“No one seems to think that it’s a real thing — adults on the outside looking in. The other kids in rehab thought we weren’t addicts because Adderall wasn’t a real drug. It’s so underestimated,” said a recent graduate of McLean High School in Virginia, who was given a diagnosis of A.D.H.D. and was prescribed Adderall.

Adderall and similar drugs are not hard to obtain at high school, many students say. They can also be found online.

The boy exhaled. Before opening the car door, he recalled recently, he twisted open a capsule of orange powder and arranged it in a neat line on the armrest. He leaned over, closed one nostril and snorted it.

Throughout the parking lot, he said, eight of his friends did the same thing.

The drug was not cocaine or heroin, but Adderall, an amphetamine prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder that the boy said he and his friends routinely shared to study late into the night, focus during tests and ultimately get the grades worthy of their prestigious high school in an affluent suburb of New York City. The drug did more than just jolt them awake for the 8 a.m. SAT; it gave them a tunnel focus tailor-made for the marathon of tests long known to make or break college applications.

“Everyone in school either has a prescription or has a friend who does,” the boy said.

At high schools across the United States, pressure over grades and competition for college admissions are encouraging students to abuse prescription stimulants, according to interviews with students, parents and doctors. Pills that have been a staple in some college and graduate school circles are going from rare to routine in many academically competitive high schools, where teenagers say they get them from friends, buy them from student dealers or fake symptoms to their parents and doctors to get prescriptions.

Of the more than 200 students, school officials, parents and others contacted for this article, about 40 agreed to share their experiences. Most students spoke on the condition that they be identified by only a first or middle name, or not at all, out of concern for their college prospects or their school systems’ reputations — and their own.

“It’s throughout all the private schools here,” said DeAnsin Parker, a New York psychologist who treats many adolescents from affluent neighborhoods like the Upper East Side. “It’s not as if there is one school where this is the culture. This is the culture.”

Thank you doctors! What would the educational fraternity do without you?

Children are Misdiagnosed with ADHD: What’s the Surprise?

March 6, 2012

Whilst I am not medically trained, and my opinion is based on experience rather than any medical credentials, I can’t help but wonder if ADHD even exists. If it does, then surely the seemingly rampant overdiagnosing of ADHD together with the overprescribing of Ritalin-type drugs, isn’t doing the legitimacy of the condition any favours.

I have written extensively about this issue and recounted my frustrations watching students prescribed drugs for conditions I was positive they didn’t suffer from. It seems that there are a multitude of factors that don’t get enough attention before the drugs are administered such as: diet, home life, self-esteem and social life.

Should I really be surprised when I read that some children are misdiagnosed?

Children who were born late in the school year and so are almost 12 months younger than their oldest classmates are more likely to be diagnosed and given medication like Ritalin for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it was found.

They are being ‘inappropriately labelled and treated’ the authors said.

Greater caution should be given to making the diagnosis in order to prevent children from being given potentially harmful medicines without justification, they said.

There are thought to be around 1.7m people with attention deficit problems in Britain with between three and seven per cent of school age children affected.

There is no data collected on how many children in Britain are on drugs for the problem but in 2010 there were over 850,000 prescriptions dispensed for medicines to treat the condition in England and Wales at a cost of almost £44m.

The study was conducted on children in British Columbia in Canada where the school year coincides with the calender year.

It was found that children born in December, so the youngest in their school year, were 40 per cent more likely to be diagnosed and almost 50 per cent more likely to be treated for ADHD than children born in January, the start of the school year.

It;s time doctors were open to more scrutiny about their ADHD diagnosis.

Disruptive Children Learn Better By Shouting Answers in Class

February 2, 2012

A recent study indicates that ADHD students would greatly benefit from shouting their answers in class.

Durham University experts who analysed test results across more than 500 English schools found that, among children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), those who shouted out answers scored better results than their peers who remained quiet.

Louder youngsters were about nine months ahead of quieter classmates in reading and maths, researchers from Durham’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring discovered. The experts say their findings raise questions about how best to teach youngsters with ADHD.

Professor Peter Tymms, a renowned education expert and the report’s lead author, said: “Managing and responding to pupils’ different needs and abilities within a class is a challenge for teachers.

“We’re not suggesting that classrooms become free-for-all shouting matches but if this positive learning relationship can be harnessed, it could help teachers and learners.”

I really don’t know what to do with these findings. Whilst it is important to accommodate all students according to their learning styles, allowing some to shout could completely alter the tone and civil nature of one’s classroom. Although classrooms should never be treated like libraries, shouting students do have an effect on the way the rest of the class act.

There are times when studies recommend something and teachers are forced to either dismiss them, or in this case, try to find ways where it may work. For example, I wouldn’t be surprised if a study looking into whether or not an ADHD child learns better if they stand on a table, finds that there is a clear improvement when they do. But would a teacher ever consider allowing a student to stand on a table during the lesson? I think not.

As much as I am determined to cater for all children, there are some recommendations that are not easy to integrate into a classroom setting. This one is worth considering, but I’m not sure how I would go about implementing it without disrupting the rest of the class.

Healthy Eating May Help ADHD Kids: Don’t Tell the Doctors

January 10, 2012

I find the ADHD trends highly frustrating. I am not a doctor or medical professional of any kind so it’s not for me to speculate whether or not ADHD exists. What bothers me, is the rapid increases in children being diagnosed (and more importantly, medicated) with the syndrome. To me Ritalin and other types of ADHD medication must be the last resort. It’s side-effects are often quite pronounced and sometimes quite sad to experience. Kids with larger than life personalities and great bursts of creativity can often be left following their own shadows (I have personally witnessed this!)

When I first entered into the profession I was given medical forms to fill out about a particular student. A previous teacher must have recommended that this student be assessed due to the belief that she may have some ADHD symptoms. In my view she was just a child with poor self-esteem who lacked concentration. In my assessment of her I made it clear that I felt that beyond her concentration being poor there was no other reason to suspect that she may have ADHD.

It didn’t help. Unfortunately, within weeks of being presented with this patient, the doctor prescribed her with Ritalin. No suggestions of a change of diet, no therapy to examine if there is any cause for her low self-esteem and no evidence that she was sent to have her language skills tested. Just the “go to” method, the “one pill fits all” strategy – the blasted pill!

I am proud to say that this child is now off the medication. Her parents decided it was not something they wanted her to be on permanently so they eased her off it. Doctors would be shaking their heads right now and accusing the parents of being irresponsible. But the parents were right. She is now a happy, focussed, non-medicated young teenager.

Doctors can be far too quick to diagnose and prescribe. In my view, they do this out of self-interest. If they were more considerate they would seriously look at diet before prescribing Ritalin.

SIMPLY eating healthier may improve the behaviour of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) if therapy and medication fail, says a study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Nutritional interventions should therefore be considered an alternative or secondary approach to treating ADHD, not a first-line attack, said the review by doctors at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, published on Monday.

What they mean by that is first pop the pills and then consider your sugar intake. This is ridiculous. What is the big deal about investigating diet and other possible causes before, as a last resort, prescribing the medication?

Click on the link to read Who Needs Quality Teaching or Parenting When You Have Medications?

Click on the link to read Get Your Kids on Ritalin Before Their Grades Suffer

Click on the link to read It is Doctors Not Teachers Who Are Helping Children Get Good Grades

Prescribing ADHD Drugs to 4-Year Olds Seems Irresponsible

October 17, 2011

I am not a doctor, so I do not have the expertise to comment on the ADHD diagnosis becoming a regular feature of classrooms across the globe.  But I can’t help but get agitated as kids younger and younger are being given these drugs.  The cynic in me suspects that this has more to do with pharmaceutical profits and less to do with responsible medicine.

Children as young as 4 years old may now be treated with medications such as Novartis AG (NOVN)’s Ritalin for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, under new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The recommendations, the first in a decade, expand the age range of kids who may be prescribed the drugs from preschoolers through 18-year-olds. Earlier guidelines included children ages 6 to 12. ADHD affects about 8 percent of children and youth and is the most common neurobehavioral disorder in kids, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Expanding the age range will help ensure more children get the appropriate therapy, according to the guidelines. Treating preschoolers may increase their chances of succeeding in school and targeting teens recognizes that ADHD is a long-term condition that may even extend into adulthood.

“Because of greater awareness about ADHD and better ways of diagnosing and treating this disorder, more children are being helped,” said Mark Wolraich, lead author of the report and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Oklahoma City, in a statement.

For preschoolers with the disorder, it’s recommended that parents and teachers first try to manage children with behavior therapy that uses a system of rewards and consequences. If that doesn’t work, then doctors can prescribe medications, according to the recommendations being presented today at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in Boston.

I have three major issues with the last paragraph in particular.

1.  I don’t believe you can determine such a disorder at such a young age with such confidence as to justify prescribing a Ritalin-like drug to them.

2. The idea that some “behaviour therapy” is all that is tried before a child gets a prescription is just shocking.  There should be many steps before a child warrants a prescription.  Prescribing drugs to a child should be the last resort.  And who checks whether the behaviour therapy was properly administered?  How many teachers say they have tried everything, when you know they haven’t even come close?

3.  This leads me to my third point.  Teachers should not have such a big say in the decision to prescribe drugs to a child.  Teachers are often too easily motivated by the need to teach a civil and restrained class.  Their need to see students calm and manageable often gets in the way of a more considered approach when it comes to the question of ADHD drugs.

Four year olds on ADHD drugs!  Do we really want this to become the norm?

Introducing -The Truacy Drug!

August 2, 2011

Sooner or later there will be a drug for everything.  No problem self-made or genetic will be without its own medication.

And we will all be worse for it.

I have a very cynical view of the pharmaceutical industry.  I don’t believe what they are telling us about how they are giving children with poor concentration a quality of life they wouldn’t ordinarily have.  Maybe I should buy in to it, but I don’t.  Instead, I believe that they are replacing one problem with the threat of a much bigger problem.  The effect of drugs on a child isn’t fully known yet.  I fear that when we do have comprehensive data on the effects of drugs such as Ritalin on young children, we won’t like what we see.

The latest drug to concocted is a truancy drug.  That’s right, a drug for not wanting to go to school!  It is recommended that no child under 18 take it, but whoops, that rules out school aged children!  Not much point making a truancy drug for adults.

So  they scrap the idea, right?  Nope.  They find a way to trial the drug on kids aged as young as 11:

SCHOOL truants as young as 11 are being given a powerful ADHD and antidepressant drug in a controversial trial.

The drug, Lovan, is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18 but is being prescribed for children as part of a School Refusal Program being led by Professor Bruce Tonge.

Prof Tonge is chairman of a federal government committee setting new guidelines for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

But the side-effects are minimal, right?  Nope.

Prof Tonge said the children on the trial and their parents had been warned of potential side-effects of Lovan, including suicidal tendencies.

The question I am bursting to ask is, why do we need a drug for something which is a product of  factors likely to be unrelated to the child’s mental state.

But asking that questions will show me up as a pharmaceutical non-believer.  Because logic isn’t important here.  What is important is that every problem must have its own approved drug.

I’d love to write more on this issue but I’ve got to take my pills now.  I’m trialling a new drug for people who don’t enjoy paying bank fees.


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