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Ritalin 3 Essay, Research Paper


Several million children are being treated with Ritalin and other stimulants on the grounds that they have attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and suffer from inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity. Ritalin and the amphetamines can for most purposes be considered one type of drug. The number of children being drugged has escalated several-fold in the last few years. Ritalin and amphetamine have almost identical adverse effects on the brain, mind and behavior, including the production of drug-induced behavioral disorders, psychosis, mania, drug abuse, and addiction. Ritalin and amphetamine frequently cause the very same problems they are supposed to treat–inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

A large percentage of children become robotic, lethargic, depressed, or withdrawn on stimulants. Ritalin can cause permanent neurological tics including Tourette’s syndrome. Ritalin can retard growth in children by disrupting the cycles of growth hormone released by the pituitary gland. The recent finding that Ritalin can cause cancer in some animals was not taken seriously enough by the drug company or the FDA. Ritalin routinely causes gross malfunctions in the brain of the child. There is research evidence from a few controlled scientific studies that Ritalin can cause shrinkage (atrophy) or other permanent physical abnormalities in the brain. Withdrawal from Ritalin can cause emotional suffering, including depression, exhaustion, and suicide. This can make children seem psychiatrically disturbed and lead mistakenly to increased doses of medication.

Ritalin is addictive and can become a gateway drug to other addictions. It is a common drug of abuse among children and adults. ADHD and Ritalin are American and Canadian medical fads. The U.S. uses 90% of the world’s Ritalin. CibaGeneva Pharmaceuticals (also known as Ciba-Geigy Corporation), a division of Novartis, is the manufacturer of Ritalin. It is trying to expand the Ritalin market to Europe and the rest of the world. Ritalin “works” by producing malfunctions in the brain rather than by improving brain function. This is the only way it works. Short-term, Ritalin suppresses creative, spontaneous and autonomous activity in children, making them more docile and obedient, and more willing to comply with rote, boring tasks, such as classroom school work and homework.

Short-term, Ritalin has no positive effect on a child’s psychology or on academic performance and achievement. This is confirmed by innumerable studies and by many professional reviews of the literature. Longer-term, beyond several weeks, Ritalin has no positive effects on any aspect of a child’s life. Labeling children with ADHD and treating them with Ritalin can keep them out of the armed services, limit their future career choices, and stigmatize them for life. It can ruin their own self-image, subtly demoralize them, and discourage them from reaching their full potential.

There is no solid evidence that ADHD is a genuine disorder or disease of any kind. There is a great deal of research to confirm that environmental problems cause ADHD-like symptoms. A very small number of children may suffer ADHD-like symptoms because of physical disorders, such as lead poisoning, drug intoxication, exhaustion, and head injury. Physical causes may be more common among poor communities in the United States. There is no proof of any physical abnormalities in the brains or bodies of children who are routinely labeled ADHD. They do not have known biochemical imbalances or “crossed wires.” ADHD is a controversial diagnosis with little or no scientific or medical basis. A parent, teacher, or doctor can feel in good company when utterly dismissing the diagnosis and refusing to apply it to children. Ciba spends millions of dollars to sell parent groups and doctors on the idea of using Ritalin. Ciba helps to support the parent group, CH.A.D.D., and organized psychiatry. The U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) push Ritalin as vigorously as the manufacturer of the drug, often in even more glowing terms than the drug company could get away with legally.

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