I've come this close to being put on Ritalin by zealous school nurses. I match--almost exactly--the DSM-IV criteria for 314.00 ADHD, Inattentivity. I also show many symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity which are not included in their criteria.
Since I can remember, I've been extremely absentminded and inattentive. I will leave books and jackets somewhere in school, only to rediscover them several weeks later when they "drift" back to me. I can never remember to put my name on papers, or take my keys with me, or--sometimes--bring papers to school.
Nevertheless, I have no serious neurological disorders which require medication. I will not deny that there is some very small number of people pathologically incapable of concentrating, to an extent that it is difficult to function in everyday life. I have never met a person like that.
I have been fortunate enough to go to private schools in Manhattan, and out of the kids at these schools--all or most of whom are in the top 5% nationwide--perhaps 10% or 20% have a "learning disability" or ADHD.
The problem is not with kids. It's with teachers who cannot make school interesting.
Brad Burroughs writes:
I believe that the medicine did help me..
And cocaine, heroin, or amphetamine would have been even more helpful. The nature of stimulants is that they help you concentrate. If I took Ritalin I would concentrate better. It's a given. But that doesn't mean I should be taking it.
The effects of long-term Ritalin usage on the human brain are as yet unknown. But side effects can include heart palpitations and other symptoms of amphetamine addiction. Ritalin--methylphenidate hydrochloride--is the next cousin, biochemically, to speed--amphetamine. Prozac may cause the depression it seeks to cure, sink people deeper into it, or cause suicidal and homicidal behavior.
There is a kid in my class who was diagnosed with ADD last year. He's even more disorganized than I am. He's also one of the smartest kids I know and the only one I've ever heard quote Leviathan in an eighth grade history class. He was dosed with Ritalin against his will. He tried for a year to stop his forced medication.
Suddenly, this year comes about, and guess what--he never had ADD in the first place. It was all a "little mistake". I can only hope it did no permanent damage.
With all of the anti-drug propaganda in schools today, you'd think they'd talk about addicts to prescription drugs like Ritalin, Prozac, and Valium. We drove tobacco executives out of our high schools and stopped them from passing out cigarettes; now the school nurses themselves pass out drugs for the biggest pushers of all, and a second's notice can get you some. We're drugging kids to pay drug companies.