how is this BETTER?
Back in early February, I shared the story of a friend in a post entitled “A.D.D. this“. The entry chronicles the experiences of one person’s A.D.D. diagnosis, her subsequent encounters with medication after medication, and her eventual decision to remove herself from the pool of over-medicated Americans. As absurd as her story seems, the unfortunate reality is, cases like hers are more common than we may think. According to a study published by Northwestern University in 2010, some 10.4 million children under the age of 18 have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. You can read more on the study here.
My latest thoughts on the topic were brought on yesterday during a morning VT session. Normally a spry and energetic 7 year old boy, my patient was lethargic and disengaged, and asked several times during our 50 minute session if he could sit on the floor. Concerned for his health, I asked if he was feeling well. He said that he felt fine, but is taking new medication, and it makes him sleepy. Not wanting to waste any of his session (we were already moving at a snail’s pace), I thanked him for his answer and finished the day’s activities. Before he left, I inquired with his mother about his mood and malaise. She said that he was on his third attempt with a different medication – Vyvanse this time around – and she noticed it has made him very sleepy. His last attempt – Adderall – was causing him to be short of breath, so his doctor decided to try something different. She went on to explain that his teachers are having trouble managing him in class and felt medication was the way to go.
I have mentioned in previous posts of an affliction I have called not knowing when to keep my mouth shut. Well, you’ll be pleased to know, it did not surface during this conversation 🙂
While researching the number of kids in America currently taking medication for ADD/ADHD, I came across this interesting New York Times article. It is written by a psychologist, Dr. L. Alan Sroufe, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development. Dr. Sroufe goes into detail about the ineffectiveness of these medications and the active suppression by those involved of the possible side effects. His perspective is widely important, although narrowly considered.
So in the end I ask, who is the medication really for? The teachers? Are teachers now so under skilled or under motivated that they are incapable of managing a room of seven year olds? Does the medication create a classroom full of zombies thereby calling for less effort from the teacher? Is the medication for a parent’s benefit? Is parenting now a matter of teaching our kids about popping pills in first grade to help us feel better? Have we reduced parenting to medicating our kids so they won’t act like kids?
Kids will be kids. They need to run, jump, throw things, act out and be silly. It’s not abnormal for them to do so. It’s the only time of their life that they will truly enjoy the innocence and purity that life has to offer. Why anyone would encourage them to perform under the haze of psychotropic drugs is beyond me.
I don’t get it. How is this better? And who is it really better for?