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Dear Posie,

Yes it is true these medications help a child to be more focused and "normal" but at a price. They can cause brain damage similar to that seen from patients who have abused speed. They can cause mood disturbances. They can cause heart problems.... and more. Here is a link to quotes written by several members of healthboards: [url=""][/url]

Here is one of my favorites:
About Stimulants:
Stimulants are the most common treatment for ADD / ADHD. They have been used for years for treating children with symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention.
Stimulant medications include:
Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine, Ritalin & more
The Pros & Cons of these medications
These medications are fast acting, they begin working within about 45 minutes of taking them.
Many children who were once failing school suddenly improve their grades often going from failing to earnings Aís & Bís
A once moody hyperactive child can begin exhibiting more age appropriate behavior
Parents often say their children are able to hold real meaningful conversations with them
These medications are prescribed too easily. No stimulant is approved for children under 6 years of age yet many doctors prescribe them to 3 yr olds. Many children placed on these meds at such a young age never really had true ADD, but the medication causes damage to their tender, developing brains, so if they were to go off the medication at an older age they would show signs of ADD. A parent then would never really be sure if the child was suffering to begin with or if it was brought on by medication.
Most people who have made the choice to medicate their children with stimulants have been told that these medications have little to no side effects. The truth is, thatís just not true.
Common side effects that you may be told about include things like headaches & weight loss
Now hereís the truth:
These medications can cause addiction to hard drugs later in life, such as crack cocaine and meth amphetamines. Some people try to argue that stimulant use actually decreases the risk of drug abuse. That is NOT TRUE!! Proper treatment of ADD (with non stimulant meds, natural alternatives etc) decrease the risk of addiction.
Addiction medicine specialist say that many times they see adults as patients who have no history of major illicit drug use. The only history of drugs they have is long term use of stimulant medications to treat ADD or hyperactivity. These patients have the same damage to their brains as people who have abused crack or speed. The patients who have this damage were often placed on stimulant meds as young as preschool and took them untill the age of 15-23.
Long term use of stimulant medications can cause heart problems including chest pain and even heart attacks. (Rare, but it does happen)
It is true that not all patients receiving treatment with stimulant medications will have these awful side effects. Infact, many don't. But there is a possibility. As a parent or caregiver to a child do you really want to take that chance? Yes, stimulants can help, but is it really worth it? The answer is No, just because a child is hyperactive or inattentive that should not be enough to risk damaging them for the rest of their lives or in severe cases even killing them. Stimulant medications should be used only when absolutely necessary. They should not be the first choice for treating ADD, they should be the last.
Other safer treatments:
There are many other options that doctors don't always tell you about. These can be just as effective and are much safer. They include non-stimulant medications. Wellbutrin is an anti depressant that has been shown to help people with ADD to calm down and focus. The new medication Strattera is showing great promise, it is a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. There are also plenty of other non-stimulant medications which can be helpful for this condition.
Hereís some more information. Just because a child has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD does not mean that they actually have this condition. Now and days it is the most popular diagnosis in children. This is not because its the most common disorder. It is simply because the set of symptoms used to diagnose ADD are seen in most mental health problems. These symptoms also often appear if their is a physical problem. Doctors are not fully doing their jobs. They want to find the quickest, easiest diagnosis, and medicate it. Some children diagnosed as ADD are infact suffering from bipolar disorder. Others have severe food allergies, some have sleep disorders which cause ADD like symptoms. But most people don't look for the real source of the problem.
Before stimulant medications are used:
Start with diet, if the problem is food allergies you will see a vast improvement in behavior.
If there is no improvement try natural alternatives to medication, such as supplements of amino acids, vitamins, and so on.
If you must turn to medication first start with a non-stimulant, doctors will try to force a stimulant as the first choice treatment. Don't do it. Explain that you would like to start off with non-stimulants, if none of them work then you can possibly move on to a stimulant. STIMULANTS SHOULD BE THE LAST LINE OF TREATMENT NOT THE FIRST!!!
Many children diagnosed with ADD are not ADD at all, rather they:
Just have a hyperactive outgoing personality that is not well accepted in toady's society
Are suffering from a totally different disorder masquerading as ADD
Are acting out due to trauma or stress which the parents may or may not know about
Have a learning disability
Some estimates say that 1 out of every 20 people suffer from ADD. So should 1 out of 20 people be on medication that alters the way their brain works? Certainly not. If the problems exist only in school then rather than medicating look into different education options. Some children learn differently than others. Schools don't teach their lesson plans in ways that all children can understand. They often teach classes
with one learning style in mind, for example lecturing will teach a child who is good with auditory learning. What happens to the rest of the children? The visual and tactile learners?? Well often they are said to be ADD and given Ritalin. This is not right, this should not be happening, as citizens, teachers, and parents we need to come together and stand up for these kids who cant stand up for themselves. We need to stop the unnecessary medicating. I am happy to say that there are now schools open to children with different learning styles, these schools take in children who were once on medication, who's parents were told their children would never succeed academically and these children have gotten off all medication and astound everyone with their intelligence and ability to learn.
Adults can choose what medications they take and what is helpful, they have knowledge and understanding enough to know if it is hurting them in any way (well at least hopefully they do), adults also have fully developed brains. But children just take the medication they are given, they do it to make their parents and teachers happy. Even if they don't really need it, they will still take it if their parents tell them to. Please do not give stimulants to your children in a first attempt at treating ADD

[This message has been edited by Freedom_Fighter (edited 09-12-2003).]

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