Ritalin Wars Essay

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Experts are still not sure exactly how the drugs works, but it affects the way a patients brain responds to impulses. Ritalin is a stimulant and contains amphetamines, making it very similiar to amphetamine and cocaine. It has about the same abuse potential of the illicit drugs. There is a wide range of side effects with the most common being drowsiness, insomnia and addiction to the drug. When under the influence of the drug the patient gets much better at concentratin, combating fatique and increasing mental alertness. The drug has evolved into the most used form of medication for patients with abnormally high level of activity or with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In the 1990's the discussion about Ritaline and its use took off, and evolved into what was called "The Ritalin Wars", and today "The Adderal Wats". Doctors, psychiatriscts, teachers, parents and the medical companies engaged in the heated discussion about how to treat ADHD (if such a thing even exists) and if the rising numbers of ADHD diagnosed children was to blame on society, lazy doctors, agressive medical companies or bad parenting. Some believe that ADHD is not even a real illness; it was just an easy stamp to put on children who had difficulties concentrating because of other underlying circumstances. Sydney Walker wrote in his book "The Hyperactivity Hoax" that ADHD is "symptoms of modern life, rather than modern disease". The psychologist Richard DeGrandpre is in the same camp as Walker, and argues that Ritalin and ADHD is inevitable products of modern society. The speed in everything around us immense - from cellular phones to social media, rock music, televison everything moves fast and if something is boring us we can close the webpage or zap to another televison channel in a matter of miliseconds. The main line of thought in this school seems to be: what deeper pathology might this drug be hiding?


In the other end of the spectrum is the people who believe that ADHD is a medical condition - like having high blood pressure or bad hearing. Malcolm Gladwell points to scientific research claiming that ADHD has a significant genetic component, and that the dopamine flow in ADHD patients brains needs to be regulated which is very easily done with the help of a pill. Instead of debating if Ritalin should be used to treat problematic children, he thinks the real problem is the lacking definiton of ADHD: "This is what is so confusing about the popular debate over this disorder: it's backward. We've become obsessed with what ADHD means. Don't we first have to figure out what it is?" It is clear...

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