Is ADHD Overmedicated?

You may have noticed that the Edge Foundation has never taken a position about whether or not to use of medication (ex. Ritalin, Adderall etc.) in treating ADHD symptoms. The reason for this is simple: we believe that whether or not you take medication is a personal decision that each family must make after consulting with a qualified doctor. It is not our place, nor the place of people who aren’t living with your ADHD to have any say in the matter.

Yet, there are plenty of vocal opponents to ADHD medication. You don’t have to look far to hear the criticism that we are overmedicating our children in this society. We say to them, walk a mile in ADHD shoes before you start to criticize. Judith Warner has done just that.

Author discovers over medication is a misconception

When best-selling author Judith Warner landed a book deal, she believed that American children were overmedicated. Surprise – turns out she was wrong! What she discovered instead was that this common misconception couldn’t be farther from the truth. “Not only has Warner never met a parent who lunged for the medicine cabinet to dope up their kids, but some fought the medication route as long as they could, to the detriment of their child,” says Kirkus Reviews, Dec 01, 2009.

Warner’s book, We’ve Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication, ended up being a thoughtful exploration of how we can help our children live successful lives using all of the tools we have at our disposal – including medication. We hope Warner’s book will help assuage the shame, fear, guilt and embarrassment felt among many people who have decided to use medications as part of their ADHD treatment plan.

Medication doesn’t cure ADHD

And we also want to underline the importance of understanding that medication is not a cure for ADHD. “Medication should be viewed as a useful tool to help individuals with AD/HD make positive changes in their lives as a part of a multi-modal approach which should include positive behavioral management and supports such as ADHD coaching,” says Edge Foundation Executive Director, Robert Tudisco. Tudisco is much more concerned about the diversion of AD/HD medication to individuals who have not been prescribed to use them by a doctor such as sharing them with friends to help them pull an all-nighter, or failing to safeguard prescribed medication that is stolen on campus and either sold or taken by individuals without medical supervision. He is currently working on an article on the subject to be published in Attention Magazine later this year.

The important thing for parents and students alike to know is the best person who can know whether or not medications are for you, is you (along with your physician’s guidance.) And as for those who are misinformed, operating under popular misconceptions, or trying to sell a product, we encourage you to get the facts from a qualified physician and point them in the direction of Warner’s book.

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3 Responses

  1. Stephanie Sarkis PhD

    Thank you for an insightful and helpful article. I have provided the link on my blog.

    • Peggy -- Edge Foundation blogger

      Glad you found the post helpful. Let us know if there is any other topic you’d like to see us weigh in on.