robertogreco + hyperactivity   5

The Addicted Generation — Pacific Standard
"Did we fail our kids by relying on prescription medication to treat ADHD?"



"Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexedrine are all classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as Schedule II drugs, given their high potential for misuse, abuse, and psychological or physical dependency. Other Schedule II drugs include Vicodin, cocaine, OxyContin, and opium. Diller believes there is reason to be cautious about long-term use of ADHD drugs. “In my experience, the kids who have been on it for years improve behaviorally, but many of them wind up still feeling psychologically dependent when, in my opinion, they no longer need it,” he says. He mentions the risks of dependence to families, but also recognizes that there’s a tradeoff. “We have to weigh the short-term benefits of getting them through the next five years of school.”

Dependency is determined by the presence of physical or mental symptoms during withdrawal from repeated substance use, like night sweats or irritability. It is possible to become dependent on a substance even when used as directed. Addiction is defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as compulsive drug use, despite harmful consequences to one’s life. There is a fine line between dependency and addiction, and the two are often conflated, with addiction being the more commonly used term in everyday conversation.

“I felt like I was addicted to it,” says Amy, 31, a graduate student who started taking Adderall in high school. She abused her medication in college, mostly as an appetite suppressant. She also sold extra pills during finals, and to friends in search of a poor man’s substitute for cocaine.

Cocaine and amphetamine work somewhat similarly. Both flood the brain with dopamine, a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger. Depending on its location in the brain, dopamine can influence pleasure, motivation, attention, psychosis, or desire.

“In my practice, if I use the word ‘amphetamine,’ parents immediately are in shock,” says William Graf, a professor of pediatrics and neurology at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. “If you say ‘stimulant medication’ or ‘Adderall,’ people don’t blink.”"



"One risk concerns appetite suppression, a common side effect of stimulant medication, which can cause nutritional deficits in young children. Melissa, a 28-year-old assistant to a financial advisor who took Ritalin in grade school, recalls coming home with her lunchbox full, day after day. “There were a few months when I actually stopped growing,” she says. Sleep problems, not surprisingly, are also associated with stimulant use. “I had horrible insomnia,” Brittany says. “When I was about 10 years old, they put me on Ambien to counteract the Adderall. I would take a little quarter of one to go to bed a couple times a week.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t even address children under the age of four in its practice guidelines to treat ADHD. And while the package insert for methylphenidate explicitly cautions against its use by those under the age of six, prescriptions for the drug tripled among preschoolers nationwide between 1991 and 1995 alone. Two other popular stimulants, dextroamphetamine and Adderall, are being administered at even younger ages. According to a paper from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, these drugs have been approved by the FDA for use in children as young as three, “even though there are no published controlled data showing safety and efficacy.”

This trend is “totally mind-blowing,” Graf says. “You’re giving amphetamines to little children. It should be evident why one would be concerned. I was taught as an intern that we never give Ritalin below the age of six, ever,” he adds. “There is a place, rarely, for medication for out-of-control behavior in a four-year-old, but not with any of the stimulants.”

Has ADHD become so deeply ingrained within our society that widespread stimulant use is simply accepted? Has it become so normalized that anyone who occasionally gets distracted can go running to the doctor’s office for a prescription? Have we become, as Diller predicted, a culture running on Ritalin?

Graf recalls an afternoon driving in the car with his daughter, as she flipped the radio from song to song. “I think I have a little bit of ADHD,” she said. “She was joking, of course,” Graf says, “but the fact is that it trickles down to kids’ day-to-day vocabulary. I think there are a lot of people out there who are convinced they have a little ADHD and now they’re being medicalized. I think this is epidemic. The locomotive has left the station and it’s moving forward. This is the way we’re raising kids these days.”"
madeleinethomas  adhd  drugs  medicine  eduction  medication  ritalin  cdc  2016  dsm  hyperactivity  schools  education  psychology  carlythompson  pediatrics  williamgraf  adderall  neurology  amphetamines  dexedrine  behavior  focalin  concerta  psychostimulants 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Delaying kindergarten until age 7 offers key benefits to kids — study - The Washington Post
"A new study finds strong evidence that delaying kindergarten by a year provides mental health benefits to children, allowing them to better self-regulate their attention and hyperactivity levels when they do start school.

The study, titled “The Gift of Time? School Starting Age and Mental Health” and published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that these benefits — which are obviously important to student achievement — persist at least until age 11. Stanford Graduate School of Education Prof. Thomas Dee, who co-authored the study with Hans Henrik Sievertsen of the Danish National Center for Social Research, was quoted in a Stanford release as saying:
“We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73 percent for an average child at age 11 and it virtually eliminated the probability that an average child at that age would have an ‘abnormal,’ or higher-than-normal rating for the inattentive-hyperactive behavioral measure.”

The researchers used data on tens of thousands of students from a mental-health screening survey used to evaluate children across Denmark (and in clinical and academic settings in other countries) and compared it Denmark’s census, according to the Stanford release. Youngsters who were deemed to have better self-control over attention and activity had higher assessment scores.

In Denmark, children generally enroll in kindergarten during the calendar year in which they turn 6. In the United States, too, kindergartners are typically 5 or 6 years. The researchers wrote in the study that they found “that a one-year delay in the start of school dramatically reduces inattention/hyperactivity at age 7 …. a measure of self regulation with strong negative links to student achievement.” They also found this this “large and targeted effect persists at age 11″ and affects both boys and girls.

There is a loud debate in the United States and other developed countries about the proper age to start formal schooling — with ever-younger students being put into school with formal academic work. Many early childhood experts have expressed concern about forcing very young children to sit and do academic work, arguing that kids learn best through structured play. Dee noted:
“It’s not just a question of when do you start kindergarten, but what do you do in those kindergarten classes? If you make kindergarten the new first grade, then parents may sensibly decide to delay entry. If kindergarten is not the new first grade, then parents may not delay children’s entries as much.”

Indeed, a study released early this year found that the requirement in the Common Core State Standards that kindergartners read could harm the reading development of some kids. It says:
When children have educational experiences that are not geared to their developmental level or in tune with their learning needs and cultures, it can cause them great harm, including feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and confusion.

In Finland and some other developed countries, formal academic education doesn’t start until the age of 7, when children are deemed to be mentally and physically ready for the challenge (though students in Finland have had access to high-quality preschool, which would affect their performance in kindergarten).

Many U.S. parents hold their children back a year — especially boys — so that they start kindergarten at age 6 rather than 5 to give them a chance to mature. The paper says that about 20 percent of kindergarten students are now 6 years old:
This “lengthening of childhood” reflects in part changes in state laws that moved forward the cutoff birth date at which 5 year olds were eligible for entering kindergarten (Deming and Dynarski, 2008). However, most of the increase in school starting ages is due to academic “redshirting”; an increasingly common decision by parents to seek developmental advantages for their children by delaying their school entry (i.e., the “gift of time”).

There have been early studies looking at the same or similar issue, and the results have been mixed. But Dee was quoted as saying:

“This is some of the most convincing evidence we’ve seen to support what parents and policymakers have already been doing – choosing to delay kindergarten entry.”

You can read the paper here [https://cepa.stanford.edu/content/gift-time-school-starting-age-and-mental-health ]."
kindergarten  education  children  redshirting  2015  unschooling  deschooling  finland  schools  hyperactivity  inattention  attention  selfregulation  denmark  mentalhealth  thomasdee  hanshenriksievertsen  behavior 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Why M&M’s Are Made With Natural Coloring In The E.U. And Not The U.S. | Here & Now
“There’s been evidence for almost 40 years that food dyes trigger hyperactivity or inattention in children. About six years ago, the British government sponsored studies that found exactly that, so they urged food companies in Britain to replace synthetic dyes with natural colorings or no added colorings, and many British companies switched over. And then the European Union passed a law requiring that any food that contained the dyes used in those two British studies would have to put a warning notice on, warning consumers that the dyes might trigger hyperactivity. And so with the threat of a warning label, it’s really hard to find these synthetic dyes.”
add  adhd  food  dyes  fooddyes  foodcoloring  2014  hyperactivity  us  europe  regulation  children 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill | Mad In America
"Some activists lament how few anti-authoritarians there appear to be in the United States. One reason could be that many natural anti-authoritarians are now psychopathologized and medicated before they achieve political consciousness of society’s most oppressive authorities.



Americans have been increasingly socialized to equate inattention, anger, anxiety, and immobilizing despair with a medical condition, and to seek medical treatment rather than political remedies. What better way to maintain the status quo than to view inattention, anger, anxiety, and depression as biochemical problems of those who are mentally ill rather than normal reactions to an increasingly authoritarian society."

…authoritarians financially marginalize those who buck the system, they criminalize anti-authoritarianism, they psychopathologize anti-authoritarians, and they market drugs for their “cure.”"
despair  inattention  xanax  drugs  adderall  overdiagnosis  diagnosis  policy  illegitimacy  saulalinsky  defiance  hyperactivity  children  youth  teens  russellbarkley  impulse-control  impulsivity  disruption  behavior  oppositiondefiantdisorder  odd  trust  skepticism  opression  marginalization  deschooling  unschooling  education  schooliness  schools  cv  brucelevine  medication  depression  add  adhd  criticalthinking  society  control  anxiety  anger  compliance  attention  pathology  2012  anti-authoritarians  authoritarianism  authority  psychiatry  politics  health  psychology  anti-authoritarian  problemswithauthority  issueswithauthority  from delicious
march 2012 by robertogreco
Bipolar kids: Victims of the 'madness industry'? - health - 08 June 2011 - New Scientist
"Spitzer grew up to be a psychiatrist…his dislike of psychoanalysis remaining undimmed…then, in 1973, an opportunity to change everything presented itself. There was a job going editing the next edition of a little-known spiral-bound booklet called DSM - the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

DSM is simply a list of all the officially recognised mental illnesses & their symptoms. Back then it was a tiny book that reflected the Freudian thinking predominant in the 1960s. It had very few pages, & very few readers.

What nobody knew when they offered Spitzer the job was that he had a plan: to try to remove human judgement from psychiatry. He would create a whole new DSM that would eradicate all that crass sleuthing around the unconscious; it hadn't helped his mother. Instead it would be all about checklists. Any psychiatrist could pick up the manual, & if the patient's symptoms tallied with the checklist for a particular disorder, that would be the diagnosis."
children  psychology  health  2011  add  adhd  bipolardisorder  psychiatry  dsm  jonronson  robertspitzer  overdiagnosis  mania  pharmaceuticals  psychoanalysis  checklists  healthcare  mentalillness  mentalhealth  medicine  treatment  diagnosis  ptsd  autism  anorexia  bulimia  society  conformity  hyperactivity  childhood  parenting  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco

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