View Full Version : The Adderall Wars

09-19-11, 04:45 PM
Interesting commentary concerning the "adderall wars"/ADHD medicine debate with two polar extremes: adderall is evil vs. adderall is the only answer

I am not trying to proclaim which approach is "better." I'm only trying to make clear that in their effectiveness, the different approaches prioritize different values. My own approach with most of the children I treat for ADHD is to first make certain that a reasonable effort has been made to help parents become more effective. I also make sure the school has attempted to address any of the children's underlying learning or processing problems. If problems are continuing, it makes sense then to utilize the medications which are effective in 80 to 90 percent of the children I treat and have a track record of over 70 years of relative safety.

The Adderall Wars make it difficult for parents to get an even-handed view of ADHD and medication treatment. It's Adderall, either as brain poison -- or -- the essential treatment for ADHD as insulin is for diabetes. Both positions, in my opinion, are gross distortions of fact.

09-19-11, 04:58 PM
Adderall, as a treatment for ADHD, is virtually absent in most third world countries. However, there's a much higher prevalence and acceptance of corporal punishment.
That's right. Giving children medication is bad for them. Beating them is a much better idea. :rolleyes:

Apart from that, I appreciate what Diller tries to do, our education system does demand too much of kids and so on and so forth. That doesn't change the fact that my being a "square peg" pretty much destroyed my life, and if I had been on meds since I was 11, I probably wouldn't have such a completely crappy life at 33.

09-19-11, 06:01 PM
I think prioritizing diff values has a lot to do with it on some level. However, I believe treatment done well is the answer to preventing adderall wars. Patients and drs just need to be in the know and get it right.

09-19-11, 11:32 PM
At the end of the day there will always be opposing views about everything. In my opinion all that you can do, epically if your kids are involved is.

1. Research as much as you possibly can and
2. Make the decision that you feel is right, regardless of what others think.

Unfortunately people can make this hard, epically if it is your Dr. Our Dr. tells us something and many people do not question it and that is dangerous.

No one knows you better than you, and no one knows your kids better than you. What should be a partnership in treatment, all too often becomes a patient simply following their Dr.

09-20-11, 12:00 AM
Part of what informs this war is another one: the War on Drugs.

In a nation where drug education amounts to “just say no,” the lack of (pharmacological) understanding naturally leads to fear, and then anger — especially when it involves children, or at least the idealization of them.


09-20-11, 11:28 AM
Lack o pharmacological understanding. Big problem.

09-20-11, 12:50 PM
(I've taken this quote out of context to avoid invoking politics.)

fear, and then anger especially when it involves children, or at least the idealization of them.
This is a really interesting point. I think you're spot-on. I think there are at least a couple of sets of idealizations happening --

One idealization is that of childhood as a blissful, carefree time, of children as being somehow immune from mental disorders and other suffering, and of all childhood activity as being without potentially harmful repercussions.

...It's kind of interesting that kids often see themselves as invincible, but generally lose that (mis)perception as they grow older (even if our actions as adults sometimes belie this!). And yet, some adults return/cling to this notion of kids as invincible, too, in the context of these debates. (Nevermind that jumping off the roof, skateboarding into traffic, and even being cast as "class clown", etc. can have more serious consequences than simply "having fun" and "building character".)

The other idealization I see, which is intertwined with the first, is the "rosy retrospective". These are of the form "When I was a kid..." or "Back in my day..." [...insert fond reminiscence about lack of seatbelts, kids being allowed to be kids, a stern look and a quick whack on the bum being all that was needed to make kids behave, etc....]

This sort of idealization is a little trickier for me to wrestle with. I do believe there's something to the idea that kids today (in industrialized nations, at least) have less freedom to roam than kids used to have. (Modulo those kids who used to work in sweatshops...) And I believe that the lack of freedom to explore isn't a positive development on the whole.

However, a lot of the reminiscences of childhoods past tend to selectively filter out some of both the mitigating circumstances and the now-socially-unacceptable circumstances -- not to mention the consequences, which were there, but may have been less obvious.

For example, in the "consequences" and "mitigating circumstances" columns, kids who didn't simply "stay in line" with "proper discipline" may have (shh!) dropped out of school -- but decent jobs used to be more accessible to young adults who entered the workforce without a diploma. (...Whether a young adult with ADHD who dropped out would have kept that decent job is another question...but it would have been there, at least.)

Anyway... Aeon, thanks for teasing out "the idealization of children". I think this is a key to the social debate over the appropriateness of medication use.