View Full Version : Sensationalised stories about the misuse of stimulants by students- a rebuttal.


Kunga Dorji
04-30-15, 05:57 PM
There have been a series of sensationalised stories in the New York Times about ADHD medication.

This is the response of Thomas E . Brown- a well known psychologist academic and specialist in ADHD:

It is a keeper :)


Another Sensationalized Report from the New York Times on ADHD Medication
Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D. Associate Director of the Yale Clinic for Attention & Related Disorders, Dept. of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine

“Abuse of Attention Deficit Disorder Pills Graduates Into the Workplace.” Under this headline on page 1 of its Sunday issue for April 19, 2015 the New York Times published another of its series of sensationalized stories about the dangers of misuse of medications prescribed for ADHD.

It is certainly reasonable for Times reporter Alan Schwarz to call attention to the fact that some adults endanger their health by misusing medications prescribed for ADHD, trying to gain advantage on their jobs by jacking up their productivity with stimulants.

What is problematic about this article is that it does not include even one sentence to acknowledge that many adults and young people take these medications quite appropriately not to jack themselves up for unfair advantage, but to alleviate their chronic problems with sustaining focus and effort for important tasks of daily life.

In this article, as in his previous pieces on this topic, Schwarz dramatically warns about the dangers of ADHD medications as though there were no safe or appropriate uses of such medications. He does not seem to recognize that there are many adults and young people who are significantly impaired by chronic problems with their ability to organize and get started on their work, to prioritize their tasks, to focus their attention, to sustain their efforts, and to keep in mind what they have just read or heard.

He does not distinguish between appropriate use of medication treatment for those who legitimately suffer from these inherited impairments of ADHD and those without such problems who are misusing those medications in potentially dangerous ways.

The risk of such sensationalistic journalism is that it may frighten people who are suffering from ADHD impairments and could benefit from appropriate medication treatment, giving them the impression that any use of medications for ADHD is likely to be unhealthy and dangerous.

When a person has been carefully evaluated and found to have significant impairments from ADHD, and when dosing of prescribed medication for ADHD is adequately fine-tuned, complied with, and carefully monitored, those medications can provide safe and effective treatment for ADHD impairments. These medications are not equally helpful to all those with ADHD, but they provide significant improvement for about 80% of those who use them as prescribed. It would seem that Mr. Schwarz has noticed only those who misuse ADHD medications.

Lunacie
04-30-15, 07:47 PM
Excellent rebuttal. This is a concern for many of us. Thank you for sharing.

icarusinflames
05-01-15, 12:26 AM
I just saw an alarming news story I think on Fox that was very similar to what you posted. Maybe if the media reports on this somewhere, then lazy workers at the news station pick up on it and do a report? It seems to be the thing to talk about now, the dangers of getting high on ADHD drugs to "cheat" and get better grades or work harder/longer. Fox mentioned that wall street traders are using amphetamines I think.

I found it offensive that they reported it like this without discussing how there are legitimate people who suffer extra scrutiny from therapists/providers who don't want to diagnose or prescribe because of this paranoia about the people who want to take meds they don't even need.

Totally sad! hate that

Kunga Dorji
05-01-15, 01:51 AM
Excellent rebuttal. This is a concern for many of us. Thank you for sharing.

Lunacie, the net is closing.

There are now many doctors prescribing for ADHD.
We all see patients who have been disadvantaged by the late diagnosis of their ADHD.
Equally as practitioners we are endangered by a community attitude that still leaves many of the doctors who sit on the Medical Boards hostile to stimulant prescribing.

I think you will see many more responses like this as we close ranks.

Personally i have my eye on several particularly wrongheaded and misinformed doctors in Australia.

It is clear to me that we could make a formal professional misconduct complaint against them for their uninformed meanderings in the "free press".

Powderbucket
05-04-15, 04:51 AM
Thank you for this.

I was watching some Youtube videos last night and it's crazy how many videos there are about "AD(H)D is a made up disease" and how drugs like Ritalin are there to turn these "disobedient" AD(H)D people into silent working hounds.

Yawn.

Then again, I get angry about the misuse of these drugs because it makes it harder to get for those who legitimately need it :(

sarahsweets
05-04-15, 04:54 AM
I wonder how many of their interns are on illegal stimulants to make it through school. ;)


I just saw an alarming news story I think on Fox that was very similar to what you posted. Maybe if the media reports on this somewhere, then lazy workers at the news station pick up on it and do a report? It seems to be the thing to talk about now, the dangers of getting high on ADHD drugs to "cheat" and get better grades or work harder/longer. Fox mentioned that wall street traders are using amphetamines I think.

I found it offensive that they reported it like this without discussing how there are legitimate people who suffer extra scrutiny from therapists/providers who don't want to diagnose or prescribe because of this paranoia about the people who want to take meds they don't even need.

Totally sad! hate that

KarmanMonkey
05-29-15, 11:48 AM
I think these sensationalist articles are another example of what TygerSan posted in a reply to a thread I started:
This sounds a lot like an example of the availability heuristic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Availability_heuristic) in which we assume that the most vivid and accessible examples are the most common. See also this link (https://books.google.com/books?id=VxIFk9S8NPwC&pg=PA153&lpg=PA153&dq=availability+heuristic+clinician%27s+illusion&source=bl&ots=esRYJOUny5&sig=NWG79cdq4bsBxM113kBC_piAWjU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=OZBfVfibOYWWNpmxgPgO&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=availability%20heuristic%20clinician%27s%20illus ion&f=false)which relates to psychotherapy and psycopathology.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_wkv1Gx2vM (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_wkv1Gx2vM)

It's like when people develop the belief that everyone on social assistance routinely abuses the system... It's because those who abuse a situation are the ones who stand out in a person's memory. Those of us who have benefited from support at times who genuinely needed it and never abused it don't exactly make it into the news.

You never see a news article: "Man enjoying good life in part because of appropriately prescribed and used ADD medication"

Just like you often see:

"Man with schizophrenia (horrifying act)" and not
"Man with high blood pressure (same horrifying act)" or
"Man who has no mental disorder (horrifying act)" or
"Man with schizophrenia enjoying married life with his two kids and successful career"

That's even without going into the fact that in an audit of newspaper and media coverage, over 3/4 of reports tying mental illness to a criminal or violent act were false; the individuals in question had no underlying mental health issues. People just can't wrap their heads around the idea that it's the so called "normal" people we need to worry about!

Kunga Dorji
05-31-15, 09:55 PM
I think these sensationalist articles are another example of what TygerSan posted in a reply to a thread I started:


It's like when people develop the belief that everyone on social assistance routinely abuses the system... It's because those who abuse a situation are the ones who stand out in a person's memory. Those of us who have benefited from support at times who genuinely needed it and never abused it don't exactly make it into the news.

You never see a news article: "Man enjoying good life in part because of appropriately prescribed and used ADD medication"

Just like you often see:

"Man with schizophrenia (horrifying act)" and not
"Man with high blood pressure (same horrifying act)" or
"Man who has no mental disorder (horrifying act)" or
"Man with schizophrenia enjoying married life with his two kids and successful career"

That's even without going into the fact that in an audit of newspaper and media coverage, over 3/4 of reports tying mental illness to a criminal or violent act were false; the individuals in question had no underlying mental health issues. People just can't wrap their heads around the idea that it's the so called "normal" people we need to worry about!


See my new thread on safety of stimulants-- this is "Game Over"