In today’s society we want a “quick fix” to remedy our problems. Therefore doctors are prescribing the drug, Ritalin, excessively. Although Ritalin is a widely used drug to control AD (H) D, there are other safer alternatives to combat this worldwide disorder. Ritalin, like many other drugs, has several side effects, some of which are severe. Ritalin is in a class of drugs called Methylphetamines. These types of drugs affect everything from thought process to everyday breathing.
Ritalin’s major side effects influence the cardiovascular system, the central nervous system, gastrointestinal, endocrine/metabolic system. Also, Ritalin is a fairly new drug. It hasn’t been around long enough to study the long-term effects. Since Ritalin is a Methylphetamine (closely related to the amphetamine family, such as cocaine), it has a high rate of abuse. In light of methylphenidate’s abuse liability, it is important to note the tremendous increase in availability of this substance and the expanded population (adolescents and adults) receiving prescriptions for the treatment of AD (H) D.
A danger is that since Ritalin is related to amphetamines, it has almost the same physiological effects. A users body will build a tolerance o the stimulant, therefore requiring more drugs to sustain the same level of abuse. This is very dangerous since the side effects on a normal dose are already dangerous; critics say in some children its use can leave them robotic, lethargic, depressed, or withdrawn. Although there are many harmful side effects and social problems related to Ritalin, many advocates claim that Ritalin is a vital part of controlling AD (H) D.
And in most cases Ritalin has shown proven results. It does exactly what it was designed to do. However, parents and children should aim for other alternatives before resulting to the use of Ritalin. Most doctors can’t accurately diagnose AD (H) D in a 20-30 minute visit. Studies show that one in twenty children may be affected by this disorder. There are many additional factors that need to be considered but are often overlooked.
There are ways a patient diagnosed with AD (H) D can overcome this disorder. Rather than taking Ritalin, a change in diet can have a big impact on ones attention. Stress levels, like diet, can cause loss of attention, making it hard to concentrate. A change in study habits can also be very beneficial to someone having a difficult time concentrating. So by ating healthy, eliminating certain “stressors,” and finding a study habit that works for a person, he can overcome the disorder.
Ritalin only treats the symptoms of AD (H) D, not the disorder itself. And the symptoms will always be there, unless something is done about it. This article discusses the extreme rise in the use of Ritalin among children. This article has me worried, due to the serious side effects due to its use. It is not licensed to children under six but it has been prescribed to children just months old. The number of prescriptions rose by 22% last year, most likely caused by its use as a first choice treatment.