ADHD Debate Covers Real Questions
> 4/21/2006 9:21:10 AM

Yesterday Mind Hacks ran a must read piece about the debate surrounding ADHD. The precipitous event was a BBC lecture by neuroscientist Baroness Greenfield who was arguing that over-use of 'electronic media' had led to the recent increases in diagnoses for ADHD in children. Mind Hacks has some great links to research that disputes this claim, one study as recent as 2005.

As the folks at MH conclude, the real problem is that this type of debate about the role of 'electronic media' in ADHD diagnoses draws attention away from the issue that should be at the heart of any ADHD discussion: the ethical and effective use of medication. As Dr. William Hapworth discussed earlier the use of amphetamines such as Adderall or Ritalin may provide one effective treatment, but raise many questions about safety and long term implications. At Mind Hacks, the question is phrased particularly interestingly:

A hundred years ago ADHD-like behaviour was undoubtedly dealt with by corporal punishment. This raises the question of whether medicalising and medicating this behaviour is just a more expedient, or a genuinely more humane approach to dealing with problematic children.

The argument can and has been made that the use of drugs is simply a cop out for teachers and parents who don't want to put in the time and effort to find more effective, safer and healthier treatments. As more information continues to become available and as new voices enter the fray, we'll continue to examine this issue.

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