I watched a very troubling show last night.
It was about the journey of discovery as to who was responsible for consistent injuries to a five year old girl. Initially it was thought to be the result of an angry nanny. All too soon, it was clear that the responsible party was her ten year old brother.
The parents were clearly devastated and wanted desperately to fix their son. The mom left her job and decided that all he needed was her love and support. During this very emotional conversation with detectives, there is a period of time that medication is discussed. She pleads with them, stating that they have looked into medications like Ritalin and would continue to do what they needed to do to reverse their son’s behavior.
So what message does this send? Does it say that whenever there is an apparent mental disorder, stimulants will help? No need for a responsible diagnosis of ADHD to reach for stimulants? People with ADHD are violent and unpredictable?
None of this is true and only reinforces the misinformation out in the public as well as in the schools, where our children with ADHD desperately need support to thrive and succeed.
What this show should point to is the need for accurate diagnoses for children and adults with ALL mental disorders. This comes on the heals of the CDC documenting a major increase in the diagnosis of ADHD and use of medication. One of those reasons for this I believe is the sloppy way in which physicians are handing out medications like candy based on a few statements of misbehavior, ignoring their absolute medical obligation to follow the DSMIV, the psychiatric manual that describes symptoms and criteria for diagnosis.
Correlating stimulant medication use with any and all mental disorders certainly is irresponsible. It only perpetuates misinformation, fear, and intolerance.
Blog post by Karen Lowry, R.N.,M.S.N., a Parent2Parent ADHD Family Trainer for CHADD and ADHD Coach, AAC and blogger for JenningsWire.