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Running head: IS ADHD MEDICATION BENEFICIAL FOR CHILDREN?

Is ADHD medication beneficial for children under 18?


Michael H. Zaleski
Liberty high school

IS ADHD MEDICATION BENEFICIAL FOR CHILDREN?

Most children with ADHD will take Ritalin or Methylphenidate, a stimulant which has
become a highly prescribed drug to children, but are drugs that affect the chemicals released in
your brain the best route? ADHD is a neurological disorder that is estimated to affect about 3 to
7 out of 100 school-age children in the United States (Webmd), ADHD left untreated can be
detrimental to the mind of the sufferer. Medication is the most widely used form of treatment,
most commonly: stimulants, or non-stimulants. As stated by Mental health weekly the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) examining changes in overall pediatric drug use from 2002-2010
found a 46 per-cent increase in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication use
(pg.3). Through copious amounts of research it can be argued ADHD medication is beneficial for
children.
ADHD is best defined by the American Academy of children & Adolescent psychiatry
[A.A Psychiatry] as:
A common childhood illness that can be treated. It is a health condition involving
biologically active substances in the brain. Studies show that ADHD may affect certain
areas of the brain that allow us to solve problems, plan ahead, understand others actions,
and control our impulses. (A.A psychiatry)
The prevalence of ADHD is 5-8 percent of U.S. children and adolescents, and its
impairments are likely to persist into adolescence and adulthood. A syndrome with strong
neurobiological origins, ADHD has major importance for public health, given the marked
academic, social, familial, and accidental injury-related impairments with which it is
associated. (Scheffler, Hinsaw, Modrek, Levine, 2007, pg. 1)

IS ADHD MEDICATION BENEFICIAL FOR CHILDREN?

On the one hand, some argue that prescription medication for ADHD is ludicrous, and
has no benefits whatsoever besides a risk for dependence and abuse over long term usage
(Finks, 2012, p.25). Parents views on pharmaceutical drugs are usually negative in the world,
parents dont want to give their children medication, for multiple reasons: make the child feel
indifferent, side effects, and also cost. Although most parents wouldnt be too keen on giving my
child a drug that is supposed to release more chemicals into the brain, especially since the
symptoms in the uneducated eye seem to be that theyre just bored and dont want to listen rather
than a legitimate neurological problem. On the other hand however, others argue that ADHD
medication has many beneficial effects, and many children and parents have satisfaction with
theyre prescribed ADHD medication. The European Child & Adolescent psychiatry did a study
on children and parents satisfaction with theyre prescribed medication with children ages 6-17
with a confirmed diagnosis of ADHD were given the drug Equasym XL a stimulant.
The children made 3 visits to the doctors over a 6 week period, and were questioned each
visit about satisfaction, both child and parent with overall satisfaction reaching 70%.
Approximately 30% of parents were dissatisfied with the medication. (European Child &
Adolescent psychiatry [ECAP], 2011, pg.305)
According to this view, the stimulant Equasym XL left the patient and parent with an
overall 70% satisfaction rate (ECAP, 2011) for treating the symptoms of ADHD. So the
stimulant provided 70% of the patients with satisfaction which means the patient saw a
difference positively with taking this drug.
Although it can be argued pharmaceutical drugs arent always the best approach for
ADHD treatment, and regardless of how innocent or non-harming they seem they can be
dangerous. Studies show ADHD medication is beneficial for children. For example, [ECAP]

IS ADHD MEDICATION BENEFICIAL FOR CHILDREN?

reported patients with ADHD showed improvements in QoL (quality of life) and satisfaction
with medication during treatment with once-daily Equasym XL in this large observational study
(2011, pg. 262).
In summary, the issue is whether ADHD medication is beneficial for children. The pros
outweigh the cons, and seems to be the best option for children with ADHD. Without the
medication the child will just suffer, with alternative solutions other than medication they just do
not seem to provide enough effectiveness to subdue the disorder. ADHD medication whether it
be stimulants, or non-stimulants in most cases just allows the child to focus. An article on a study
they did about the effects of ADHD medication stated:
The findings from this study indicate that for children with ADHD, a significant increase
in IQ scores is likely after receiving pharmacologic intervention... The finding that IQ
scores increase following treatment with stimulant medications has important
implications for practitioners who conduct assessments for ADHD. These results suggest
that intellectual measures given when children with ADHD are not taking medication
may result in scores that underestimate the childs true ability (Gimpel et al., 2005,
pg.410).
Through studies, tests, and research it can be concluded that ADHD medication is
beneficial and as well crucial. If a child is diagnosed with ADHD it seems unfair for that said
child to not get the opportunity to test ADHD medication, and see if it improves his overall focus
and behavior in class, home, public, etc. Not every child diagnosed with ADHD should try
pharmaceuticals, given their religion, moral beliefs, and income/health insurance situation. But
on the contrary children diagnosed with ADHD and have absolutely no reason not try
medication, but are denied by their parents that treatment is just unfair. They called it a disease,

IS ADHD MEDICATION BENEFICIAL FOR CHILDREN?


recommended visiting doctors for diagnosis and treatment, and advocated medication use as the
most thoroughly documented and effective intervention for their children (Clarke, Lang, 2012,
pg.407). This was an article analyzing many internet blog sites about mothers and what its like
with a child with ADHD, and how to manage it. If theres more mothers advocating for
pharmaceutical use as the best treatment for ADHD, and their reporting few if any side effects.
This again makes it even clearer that ADHD is beneficial for children, and improves their lives
in more positive ways than negative. Not giving a child the proper treatment for their
neurological disorder is unfair, and doesnt let them reach the best of their abilities; ADHD
medication taken in corrected doses can only better your child.

IS ADHD MEDICATION BENEFICIAL FOR CHILDREN?

References
Clarke, J. N., & Lang, L. (2012). Mothers whose children have ADD/ADHD discuss their
children's medication use: An investigation of blogs. Social Work in Health Care, 51(5),
402-416. doi:10.1080/00981389.2012.660567
Dryer, R., Kiernan M., & Tyson, A. (2012). Parental and Professional Beliefs on the Treatment
and Management of ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders, 16, 398-405. DOI:
10.1177/1087054710392540
Finks, K (2012). Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder: Symptoms and Treatment Using
Stimulant Medication. NASN School Nurse, 27, 24. DOI: 10.1177/1942602X11429013
Furman L. (2005). What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? Journal of Child
Neurology, 20, 994. DOI: 10.1177/08830738050200121301
Gimpel, G. A., Collett, B. R., Veeder, M. A., Gifford, J. A., Sneddon, P., Bushman, B., Odell,
D., (2005). Effects of Stimulant Medication on Cognitive Performance of Children with
ADHD. Clinical Pediatrics, 44, 405. DOI: 10.1177/000992280504400504
Scheffler, R.M., Hinslaw S.P., Modrek S., & Levine P. (2007). The Global Market for ADHD
medication. Health Tracking, 26(2), 450-457.