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Medication Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons of
Medication for ADD and ADHD - More Fuel for the Fire
The pros and cons of
medication for ADD or ADHD have been bantered around between
doctors, parents and teachers for decades. One study shows the
pros of medication for ADD or ADHD. The next study highlights
the cons of medication for ADD or ADHD.
Here's yet another study that is sure to fuel the flames of the
ADHD medication debate.
A Finnish study followed 450 Finnish children from birth through
the teen years, originally to track the evolution of primary
symptoms as a child ages. An interesting discovery emerged when
American researchers compare the findings from Finland with
studies of ADHD Americans.
UCLA researchers found that, by the time children are in their
late teens, those who took drugs for Attention Deficit seemed to
fare as well as those who did not use ADHD drugs.
In the United States about 60 percent of children diagnosed with
ADHD are medicated at some point. In Finland, medication is
rarely prescribed to treat ADHD. Yet, by the time they reach 16
to 18 years old, the medicated American population of ADHD
children looks very similar to the non-medicated Finland
population of ADHD children.
“We really need to look at how effective, really, is medication
alone in long-term prevention,” said UCLA psychiatry professor
Susan Smalley, who co-authored the study. “Here we have two
different cultures and two different approaches to treatment,
yet at the time of adolescence, there are few differences in the
presentation and problems associated with ADHD.”
This study that was published in the “Journal of the American
Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry” December 2007 issue.
“We know medication is very effective in the short-term,” said
Smalley. “But the study raises important questions concerning
the long-term efficacy of ADHD treatment.”
Perhaps if the ADHD medication debate moved from the pros and
cons of medication for ADD or ADHD to a more refined debate on
the short-term versus long-term benefits of ADHD medication, the
discussion would end peaceably with both sides agreeing.
A recent National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) showed that
ADHD medications do provide short-term benefits. This study also
found the lack of long-term benefits, while also confirming that
ADHD drugs can stunt growth.
This study of almost 600 children found that children medicated
for ADHD symptoms functioned better at home and school at the
end of 14 months than those who received behavioral therapy or
no treatment. However, there was little difference between the
medications ADHD group and the non-medicated groups after three years.
Smalley’s study, along with the National Institutes of Health
study both show little long-term benefit to using drug therapy
to treat ADHD. The results are these two studies are causing
experts to question current treatment protocols. Some experts
now say stimulant drugs should not be considered the mainstay of
treatment for hyperactivity disorders while calling for a new
approach to treating ADHD. Some suggest that ADHD is best
treated by strengthening weaknesses in underlying cognitive
skills instead of focusing on medicating the behavioral symptoms
So, let’s settle the Pros and Cons of Medication for ADD or ADHD
debate once and for all;
for ADD or ADHD provide short-term benefits.
for ADD or ADHD do not provide long-term benefits.
These studies should
put parents at ease when faced with the ADHD drug decision. Your
child will not be slated for ruin in their adult years if you
choose not to medicate. In fact, he will likely fare as well as
his medicated peers by the time he reaches adolescence. And, he
will likely do better at home and in school in the short-term if
he is medicated.
With this information in hand, parents can decide if the risks
and side effects of ADHD drugs outweigh short-term benefits.
For lasting improvement, many doctors advocate finding the
underlying causes for Attention Deficit Disorder symptoms and
dealing with those first before rushing into a course of ADHD
medication. Behavioral therapy, emotional counseling, a healthy
and nutritional supplements like
can all effectively diminish the symptoms of Attention