Medicating Children: ADHD and Pediatric Mental Health

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Harvard University Press, 2009 - Medical - 352 pages
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Why and how did ADHD become the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder among children and adolescents, as well as one of the most controversial? Stimulant medication had been used to treat excessively hyperactive children since the 1950s. And the behaviors that today might lead to an ADHD diagnosis had been observed since the early 1930s as “organic drivenness,” and then by various other names throughout the decades.

Rick Mayes and colleagues argue that a unique alignment of social and economic trends and incentives converged in the early 1990s with greater scientific knowledge to make ADHD the most prevalent pediatric mental disorder. New movements advocating for the rights of children and the disabled and a massive increase in Medicaid spending on psychotropic drugs all contributed to the dramatic spike in ADHD diagnoses and stimulant use.

Medicating Children is unique in that it integrates analyses of the clinical, political, historical, educational, social, economic, and legal aspects of ADHD and stimulant pharmacotherapy. Thus, it will be invaluable to educators, clinicians, parents, and policymakers, all of whom are trying to determine what is in the best interest of millions of children.


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I have lived and dominated the negative effects of ADHD without meds! My younger brother and an two adult buddies of mine were perscribed ritaline. In all three cases I watched my family and friends become addicted and majorly effected negatively by taking these pills in dramatic ways! My friend Chad was given methylin for his narcolepsy. Chad was an electrician after completing college for this field of work. As Chad drove home he became at risk of falling asleep since he had sleep problems. After confirming this was because he had narcolepsy, his doctor perscribed methylin for his narcolepsy!? A drug given to ADHD victoms. I can't understand why a doctor would attempt to fix a sleep problem with an ADHD stimulant! Since Chad took the drug, his life was increasingly on a downward spiral! He slept much less and became weird! He WAS my best best friend before Methylin. I saw the effects of this drug as it wrecked Chad's mind. He became addicted. His doctor continued to increase his dosage until he was obsessed with the drug! Chad lost his job, lost all his friends and made Methylin his only passion. He now is a compulsive Methylin head who abuses his perscribed pills as most people do. He became depressed and now abuses the pills while he sits in his parents basement while he snorts his "solution" even though he has no need to stay awake since he's been jobless for six years and hardley drives anywhere these days. Many old friends called him out, saying he changed and needs to stop taking these life wrecking pills. He admitts he is addicted and eventually going to die from an overdose. A successful man with slepping issues lost his life because of these ADHD/sleeping problem pills (in one) given to help his tired eyes while driving. Four seasures later, his doctor admitts these pills are causing his seassures. Still his perscriptions come at top legal limit persentage while his phamacy continues to question his doctors decision as all his friends and family do the same. It doesn't make sence! Chad will admitt he lost his house, friends, job, confidence, and will to live because of methylin! His doctor was contacted by authorities but he still snorts up these white pills while watching movies in his parents basement at age 32. Thanks for all you did for him! Rob Cone was administered ADHD meds his whole childhood. He is now an adult who swears the pills made him depressed and uncomfortable throughout his childhood. Rob now speaks out against parents controling their kids behavior with ritaline! Rob says the fact he took Ritaline as a child is still his biggest life regret he wishes he could take back! My little brother was an over active kid as I was. He got bored with school and couldn't sit through long classes all day. By the age of 11 his school councelor requested he got evaluated for ADHD. He was diagnosed and spent 6yrs on concerta. He has obvious growth and attention issues since taking the pills. He claims the pills make him uncomfortable, stop his ability to be happy and his energy levels are depleted if he goes without the pills for two days or more. He thinks the pills make him depressed and block his ability to interact socially when the pills are in his system. He wants to stop the pills but his mom watches him swallow his pill eachmorning in fear he will sell the pills on the black market as his school warned. What's wrong with people? I've seen cases of people buying pills everyday and becoming addicted to pills they don't like! These are legal meth pills that are replacing parenting and dicipline! I tried the pills myself and became addicted immediately! ADHD, Narcolepsy and eating disorders are all receiving the same treatment! It's the biggest crime I've heard of and experianced! Doctors are constantly increasing their victoms for blood money! The effect on any person is the same ADHD or not! Someone will sooner or later put the drug dealing doctors in jail for this I promise you! I know first hand what behavioral control these pills cause. My son's 


An Introduction to ADHD
A Survey of the Evolution of ADHD and Pediatric
ADHD and the Politics of Childrens Disability Policy
The Backlash against ADHD and Stimulants
Current Questions about Stimulant Treatment
Selected Bibliography

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About the author (2009)

B. Rick Mayes is Professor of Political Science at the University of Richmond.

Catherine Bagwell is Professor of Psychology at Colgate University.

Jennifer Erkulwater is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Richmond.

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