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The experts agree, ADHD medication is over prescribed, but that’s only half the story..
Transcript – Partial
Dr Laura Muggli
I think that the difficulty with that statement is that it implies that medication is either over-prescribed or under prescribed. And in the case of Ritalin, my clinical experience is definitely both.
Well, you’re talking about the use of Ritalin as a treatment for ADHD and the question is do we prescribe it too often. The real question is, are those who need that kind of medication, do they get them.
And in the case of Ritalin, my clinical experience is definitely both. There are children and families who come to see me where the expectations for achievement where self-control really exists to be beyond what is natural for childhood.
If you drop a child off at daycare at 5:30 in the morning, if you give him three hours of homework, if he goes from play date to play date or activity to activity or if good enough achievement isn’t good enough for that family and so they want to hyperfunction, yes, it’s possible in some of those circumstances the definition of impairment is relative to a standard that is not realistic, especially in some of our current classrooms.
On the other hand, it is also equally true, and in this particular case have epidemiologically more true that stimulant medication is also under prescribed.
certainly not right now 5 percent of the children get treated for their ADHD. The problem is, are we able to detect early enough those who have ADHD? Do we have access to good medication to treat them? And are we able to detect those who look like ADHD but do not have ADHD?
If you look at the people who actually get to the doctor and then the people who form enough of a relationship with the doctor that they can go through the psychological process of understanding the place of medication, that it’s a tool, not a cure, and then if you look at the people who then manage to stay on medication so that they obtain enduring benefit, I actually think that the percentage of patients that are currently being adequately treated with medication is a small subset of the total population.