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I agree that medications for things like adhd, depression and bipolar are given out way too rapidly and often thoughtlessly. I was on depression meds since I was 11 and frankly they were useless. Still they kept me on them and they kept switching and switching. Then they diagnosed me with bipolar and adhd and then they even told me I had schizophrenia which was ridiculous. From experience I've seen that our psychotherapeutic community is very med-happy. But hey, for some people they really do help. I think it's not really about the meds, it's about how you handle your life. At least that's true for me. I'm not on depression meds anymore because I don't feel like I "need" them and because for people like me, no meds work unless you put in a lot of your own effort, and then they can help. But eventually, I learned how to deal with my life. But that's just my story.

I'm very against the quick fix theory. It seems like so many people think that a medication should "solve" their problem or take away their symptoms when they themselves don't do crap to get to that point. Therefore I applaud all you parents who are doing all they can to focus on actually caring for and teaching their children as opposed to simply medicating them. For a lot of times, one must learn the hard way that meds and shrinks are not the solution. Not to say that they can't help, but for anything to help, you have to let it and you have to work for it.

I still don't have a set opinion on adhd meds. I do think that the diagnosis of adhd is ludicrously given to almost every child from 6 to 10 (or so it seems) just like the diagnosis of bipolar is given to almost every teenager. For a lot of these people, the symptoms are part of growing up and do not need to necessarily be medicated. Still even for those children, a lot are helped by their adhd medication. Like rainonwindow said, your reaction would depend largely on your genes or neurochemistry (I don't know which for sure), your personality, and other treatment methods to help with the problem. I think that parents should follow their instincts and use methods which they feel comfortable with and which they see work. I mean, if you see your kid acting like he's on drugs, by all means take him off. It's never worth it to suppress a kid's personality to the point where he is a different person.

But I do want to say that ritalin (methylphenidate) and cocaine are quite different. They're both stimulants, but they're two completely different chemicals with some structural resemblances. But keep in mind that all stimulants have structural resemblanes with adrenaline (the natural stimulant). So you can't really prejudge the effects of the drugs based on structural similarities. Also, cocaine brings about euphoria almost instantly, which does not happen with most adhd meds because they are designed to be administered in a controlled fashion. Cocaine would not work for adhd although it does give people energy. Yes, cocaine has a much shorter duration than ritalin but then again, it is so much more intense.

And rats, though similar to humans enough for research, should in no way be used as indicators of human reactions, especially specific ones like to ritalin. I think that experiments with rats provide guidelines, but one or two studies that showed that rats had similar addictions to ritalin and cocaine are not reliable by themselves. There is so much research that shows contradicting results that to rely on any one study is unwise. I think that to accurately quote research you have to acquaint yourself with other related studies, even those showing different points of view. Even then, I believe, one's bias does not disappear but at least it is a more educated opinion as opposed to straight out prejudice

It also isn't fair to call ritalin speed because it is not an amphetamine--it is structurally different. Adderall and dexedrine are forms of amphetamine. Believe it or not, there actually is an adhd drug that is pure methamphetamine: desoxyl. I wonder why no one takes that one that much! I agree you can become dependent on any stimulant, but then again, I think it more depends on your personality. Some people are predisposed to become dependent and not giving them prescription meds will not necessarily prevent drug use. I personally know many addicts most of whom did not abuse medications prescribed to them, for illegal substances like speed, cocaine, etc are a lot more potent. Most of the addicts I know who did abuse their medications only did so after abusing other drugs.

When it comes to kids losing their personalities through adhd drugs, I can't see how anyone can make a generalization about that, one way or the other. It changes almost everyone's behavior, but for a lot of people they really do work. I think maybe they shouldn't be prescribed to young kids unless of incorrigible defects, but I know that with teenagers through young adults, these drugs don't really change their personalities unless they abuse them.

At the same time, it is unethical for school systems to force children to take medication because it seems like a lot of the "problematic behaviors" cited as cause are b.s. and show that the school is too lazy to actually put their own effort into educating and/or disciplining the kids. I also believe that all psychologists/psychiatrists should be open minded to families who are uncomfortable with medications and should assist them in finding alternative treatment methods as opposed to frowning upon their choice.

I think a big problem in this whole debate is tolerance. Schools and parents aren't tolerant of kids' differences, psychiatrists aren't tolerant of different treatment methods, those who don't want their kids to take meds are intolerant of child medications, even people on this board are intolerant of each other's viewpoint. There will never be a right answer because people will hold on to their opinions unless experience proves them wrong (or unless they're easily swayed) and because experiences will continue to be different. People are individuals and will have different reactions to any kind of treatment. I think there is no right or wrong, and really, all this drama and hurt feelings are unneccessary. I'd just say, do what you think is right but don't try to prove it to others because you won't convince them anyway.

Good luck with your kids you all.

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