Adderall, the Wonder Drug or the Destroyer?

Why did the ADHD boy not introduce his girlfriend to any of his friends? He could not remember her name; or better yet, why would a chicken be considered ADD? It never gets all the way across the road because of all the distractions. Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental and behavioral disorder that affects 3 to 5 percent of all school-age children. The American Psychiatric Association explains that, Individuals with ADHD may know what to do but do not consistently do what they know because of their inability to efficiently stop and think prior to responding, regardless of the setting or task (Berne 2).
ADHD is believed to be caused by abnormalities in the dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain (Berne 4). The symptoms of ADHD include inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity that are inappropriate for a person’s age level. In other words, the patients brain is like a light constantly going off and on at the worst possible times. Although there is no cure for ADHD, treatment can help control symptoms. Stimulant therapy is the most commonly used type of treatment. These drugs improve ADHD symptoms in 70 percent of adults and 70-80 percent of children shortly after starting treatment (ADHD 3). Adderall RX, or its formal name of Methylphenidate, is the most common form of treatment for ADHD. In an article by Dr. Phillip W. Long, he states that, The mode of action in man is not completely understood, but methylphenidate presumably activates the brain stem arousal system and cortex to produce its stimulant effect.

Those who take Adderall have mixed emotions about the drug. When used in school and work it allows them to concentrate and focus on what should be done. For instance Jenny Pearcy a user of Adderall for several years said, I use to be a troubled student. I use to have consent run-ins with the law. Things never came easy to me and far too often they never came at all. Adderall was like putting on a pair of glasses worn by Superman. Suddenly everything became focused and organized. However there are several side effects of this drug such as severe weight loss and nausea. Constant headaches and sleeplessness have also been noted. Heart palpitations, cardiac arrhythmia, blood pressure and pulse changes are serious heath risks that can occur using Adderall. Adderall changes the personality of the person making them very bland. Most of the side effects are not hard to cope since the benefits are so high but the question of is the drug worth it and could I get this far without constantly arises from its patients.
Over five million children in the United States alone are prescribed Adderall to treat ADHD (Sturdy 44). That is about three to five percent of all American school children prescribed to the drug. Is Adderall or similar drug treatments necessary to treat ADHD? No, Dr. Edward Hallowell writes that having ADHD is not necessarily a bad thing. Often these people are highly imaginative and intuitive. They have a “feel” for things, a way of seeing right into the heart of matters while others have to reason their way along methodically. As for treating ADHD, he says that the simple knowledge that there is a problem can be enough to improve the situation (Garber 56). Modifying the learning environment has been used as an alternative treatment. Simple changes like removing distractions, having directions explained better, or extending testing time can work as well as medication. Others have turned to the help of psychiatrists for counseling. They can help teach a child how to overcome the obstacles of ADHD. Since it is the doctors who diagnose ADHD, It has been my feeling that they prefer to treat it with what they understand, medicine. Non-drug alternatives are out there and they seem to have worked for some people. They can be costly and time consuming and not show any signs of improvements. Then again, Adderall is the same way.
Adderall has worked for thousands of people. Unfortunately they do not know about the alternatives such as removing artificial colorings and flavorings from food and beverages, making environmental modifications to improve functioning, or altering tasks to improve production. If made known then, maybe they would have made a different decision. On the other hand, Adderall helps people show their full potential and there is no substitute for that.
Working Bibliography
ADHD. 18 Feb. 2000. WEDMD. 3 Mar. 2005.

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Berne, Samuel A. Without Adderall. Chicago: Keats Publishing, 2002. p 1-4.

Garber, Stephen W., Ph.D, Marianne Daniels Garber, Ph.D, and Robyn Freedman Spizman. Beyond Ritalin. New York: Villard, 1996. p 56-59.

Pearcy, Jennifer Jean. Personal Interview. 1 Mar. 2005.

Stordy, B. Jacqueline Ph.D. The LCP Solution, The Remarkable Nutritional Treatment for ADHD, Dyslexia and Dypraxia. New York: Ballantine Books, 2000. p 42-43.

Weiss, Dr. Lynn. Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults. Dallas Texas: Taylor Publishing Company, 1992. p 54-55

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