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Dr. Lyon: I believe that attention deficit disorder should be treated like a lot of other conditions that the doctors treat. For instance if you have high cholesterol, what are doctors supposed to do. We are admonished in every textbook, every authority, we are told that if you diagnosed high cholesterol for a patient, you should work with that patient through nutritional counseling and dietary advice and lifestyle counseling for several months or say six months before you even consider medication.
Karen Friedman: I didn’t have Brian diagnosed with ADHD until he was in the fifth grade and that led of course to prescriptions. And when those prescriptions didn’t work, that led to more prescriptions and the more prescriptions he got, the more frustrated that we all got. He couldn’t get better, he couldn’t help himself, he got angry and the angrier he got, the more violent he got.
Dr. Gary Null: Each morning in the United States between six and seven million children are given a prescription medication before they can go to school. Many of them are taking Ritalin or other amphetamines.
Doctor: More and more aspects of human behavior, human distress, just general unhappiness is becoming medicalized, is being made into diseases. This culture has grown in parallel with the growth of the pharmaceuticals industry and its investment in psychotropic drugs; that is drugs that affect the psyche, the mind, the brain.
Dr. Gary Null: By far, the majority of psychiatry prescriptions for children are given for attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Dr. Robert Erickson: One of the alarming concerns I have both as a parent and as a physician is that there is much misdiagnosis and over prescription of medication and inappropriate prescription of medication changing these children’s lives forever for the worse.
Doctor: Every drug is a foreign chemical, every drug is a potential poison. I have been consulted in no less than 10 cases of cardiac deaths due to psychotropic medications. The psychostimulants, methylphenidate and the amphetamines are known to cause high blood pressure, known to cause cardiac arrhythmias including cardiac arrest and cardiac death. Matthew Smith from just outside of Detroit had been on Ritalin for approximately five years. His parents had wanted to take him off of medication because of recurrent chest pain and shortness of breath, but they were coerced to keep him on the medication.
Lawrence Smith: We were told that if we did not follow up with their evaluation of ADHD and take him to the pediatrician and get him on Ritalin, that Child Protective Services could charge us for educational and emotional neglect.
Doctor: At age 13, while riding his skateboard, he suddenly keeled over and was dead. The county medical examiner said there was no doubt in that case that the chronic administration of Ritalin was the cause of death.
Lawrence Smith: On the death certificate, it says that he died from the use of methylphenidate, Ritalin.
Doctor: Ritalin, for the purposes of classification by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is a Schedule II drug, on the same list as cocaine.
Dr. Peter Breggin: The Drug Enforcement Administration puts special regulations over how many prescriptions a doctor can write and how a doctor is to write the prescriptions and keep track of the drug. It even means the DEA can come raid your office if they get the impression that you are giving out too much of this drug. This is not an ordinary drug.
Dr. Lyon: It is really not that revolutionary an idea. If you look at the scientific [inaudible 03:47] considered normal. But, with attention deficit disorder, the focus is make the diagnosis carefully and then prescribe the treatment. And most of the time, the treatment needs just a prescription. It isn’t any combination of treatments. It is a medication. And that’s really what I am trying to change and try to raise awareness about is that in fact there are other things that we can find, underlying this that are causes of this. We could deal with this from more of a cause-oriented approach without having to jump quickly into using medication.