Surpise: Ritalin isn't bad

More of an argument among conservatives than anything else, but still interesting.

Though the TNR article makes it sound like a purely conservative issue, I think Ritalin alarmism is pretty pan-political. Hell, the first two links I came up with on Google are from some crazy new-agey site called the Spirit of Ma’at (Are our kids being drugged into submission?) and an article from the Socialist Party Education Webpage.

Sure, giving mind altering drugs to troublesome kids to get them out of your hair is great.

The drug may be beneficial to some, but it has and will continue to be abused by school officials and overworked, inattentive parents to shut up young creative/nonconformist/intelligent/wiseass minds.

Chris Regan, folks, regurgigating everything that article objects to.

Sorry, Jason, I didn’t know I was required to agree with it.

Why not let the HyperTwins have the last word?

That’s ABC parody is hilarious.

And Chris, did you even read the article?

Yes, I read your pwecious article, thanks.

My personal experience means more to me than the writer’s statistics, thank you veddy much. Elementary school teachers wanted to get me on Ritalin. My parents refused and somehow I made it through alive. Funnily enough, I ended up in the talented and gifted program later in elementary school, studied Latin and advanced English in high school, edited the high school humanities publication, got great SATs, got a scholarship, and got a college degree.

Somehow I accomplished all of that without going to school doped out of my mind on experimental drugs. I do not believe that scientists know enough about the subtle functions of the human brain to fully know the effects of the drugs they have created to tame it. My mom tried Prozac for depression, and ended up with a violent temper until she stopped taking it. Oops, didn’t work the way they thought.

The current level of medical technology in this area is hardly more sophisticated than the old hack-out-the-frontal-lobe method.

So your personal experience invalidates the argument?

No, but it makes me harder to convince. And this guy doesn’t.

Thanks for your comments Chris, and 'm happy to hear that you got through school “drug free!” :D

Yer welcome. I did, by the way. Didn’t jump on the pot bus with the rest of my friends, though I didn’t think ill of them. I just don’t tend to think highly of mind altering substances, be they street or prescription.

By the way, I didn’t want the comments about my schooling to sound like I think I’m hot stuff. I know a heck of a lot of people who were more serious students than I was. Just trying to point out that if I was such a spastic that I needed to be medicated, I shouldn’t have been able to academically function at anything beyond a substandard level. But these folks thought I needed drugs because I was somewhat of a “class clown” type.

Not that I think I shouldn’t have been disciplined for that silly behavior, but there’s a mile between disciplinary action and recommending prescription psychiatric drugs.

And this has nothing to do with the article. There’s some conservatives who object to the use of the drug at all.

I’m a big fan of Children’s Psychiatry since it saved our butts, but I don’t want the schools very involved in the decision. I need the teacher to give me information about how my kids are acting, but I’ll rely on the psychiatrist to diagnose any conditions and prescribe appropriate meds.

To me, the critics don’t seem to understand what happens when you give kids Ritalin. Ritalin is a stimulant. For reasons never fully explained to me, if you give a stimulant to someone with ADD or ADHD, it has a calming effect. So, what happens when you give a kid Ritalin that doesn’t have ADD or ADHD? As you would expect with a stimulant, you get a stimulant effect - I’ve seen this first-hand. Kids that don’t need Ritalin don’t stay on it for long! If there is some warehouse school or lazy parents, the last thing they will want to do is give stimulants to the disruptive kids.

I just scanned it, but I’m not finding that article particularly persuasive. You have to be careful when a writer is willing to use this sort of title:


And then include a quote like this below:

[experts agree] that some community studies, by the standards laid down in the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), indicate that ADHD may often be over-diagnosed

That’s some myth, I’d say. No doubt some of the furor against ritalin is misdirected, but you can’t make like it isn’t a problem at all.

It might, considering that the author riddles his article with personal experiences of people he knows, like:

“And, if you don’t believe me, you can ask conservatives who’ve come face to face with it themselves.”


"Such charges blast the parents of ADHD kids into high orbit. That includes my Hudson Institute colleague (and fellow conservative) Mona Charen, the mother of an eleven-year-old with the disorder. “I have two non-ADHD children, so it’s not a matter of parenting technique”.

I’m sure Mona would be less than thrilled if I were to say that perhaps she had two non-ADHD children in spite of her parenting technique, but it’s just as valid based on her evidence.

Saying that mental disorders are chemical imbalances is a large oversimplification. When I’m scared adrenaline and noradrenaline flood though my system, leading to sweat, massive pupal dilation, large amounts of blood glucose being ejected from my liver etc etc. But no one suggests that because these changes occur, that makes me scared. A purely mental concept can create very profound physiological change. So what’s to say that this isn’t perhaps environmental in nature?

Of course, it’s not as simple as that, with genetics playing a part as well. And genetic code isn’t predestination, it’s a guide. What worries me is when researchers who should know better respond to a legitimate question (Why is the incidence of ADHD so high) with “perhaps they have been slipping through the cracks”. Please. Perhaps their definition of what constitutes ADHD is a bit too broad? And that comparison with high blood pressure? Like a readably diagnosable by independent equipment disease is the same as a vague, hard to identify syndrome. Oh, and of course high blood pressure has a genetic component, but it seems that the vast majority of cases are people who are too fat, eat too much crap, or have high stress jobs. In other words, environmental factors.

Heaven forbid that the kids might grow out of it after a couple of years, that this might just be normal for the brain before it settles down. I was “depressed” a lot more as a teenager than I am now, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not normal.

Anyway, thanks for the article Jason, it’s quiet at work today

Well, if we’re going to get all anecdotal: my band director in high school had a rather unhinged kid (by marriage), and Ritalin basically fixed his mental problems.


Whoops, accidentally linked to the second page. Fixed.

What crawled up your butt and made you Thread Police? A radioactive insect of some sort?

Yeah, but you have to stop when you run out of imporant things to disprove.

Also, I would say that the little boys into little girls myth seems to prove my point, not yours. :)

I like how you had to defend your High School band director, I was gonna go egg his car until you added that.

I have never heard the ‘liitle boys more like girls’ myth, where the hell did that come from? Only place I found it was on a ‘The White Man’s Conspiracy’ page I found. A meeting I was never invited to by the way.

And I agree with Rodge, their definition of what constitutes ADHD is a bit too broad. You shouldn’t be giving mind-altering drugs out based on your opinion.