Recent reports published in the New York Times comment on the unsustainable and dangerous affect drugs and sedative medications prescribed to children as young as 6 to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are having. They have reported to a very wide audience that many of the studies examining the benefits of ADHD medication including Ritalin and Adderall are based on evidence of their success in aiding concentration and suppressing hyperactivity in the short term with no mention of any long term effects or adverse side effects such as stunted growth.
Also in the news the American Academy of Paediatrics have recently increased the diagnosis age gap by 8 years, previously guidelines stated a child should be diagnosed with ADHD between the ages of 6 and 12 which is not recommended between the ages of 4 and 18. This may indicate that normal child development is being miss-diagnosed as ADHD with the prescription of medication being the most popular course of treatment.
Some expert educational psychologists are voicing their opinions that the symptoms of ADHD rather than being a clinical disorder may reflect a confliction between children’s learning styles and teachers specific teaching styles. Children who may be kinaesthetic learners, for example use movement and learn through doing, however this may be interpreted in this diagnosis world view that a child who is overly active and fidgety and has trouble learning is interpreted as ADHD rather than the fact that this child in order to learn needs to move to process information and subsequently suppressing this could result in no learning and underachievement
At a time when ADHD is all too easy to diagnose and treat with a concoction of drugs, rather than either seeing hyperactive behaviour as a natural development process or a clash in teaching and learning styles, it is important to examine the long term potentially detrimental effect this could have on the health and sustainability of the future generations.