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Culture & Religion

The Truth About Adderall & Ritalin

No study has found any long-term benefit of attention-deficit medication on academic performance, peer relationships or behavior problems, the very things we would most want to improve.

What’s the Latest Development?

Stimulant drugs like Ritalin and Adderall do not address the roots of the problems they claim to solve and claims about their effectiveness are based on bad science, says child psychologist L. Alan Sroufe. Since 1975, Sroufe has studied the development of hundreds of children to determine whether academic and behavioral problems were purely biological, i.e. born into the brain of infants, or the results of poor environments. His conclusion is that medicating children does not solve the deeper causes of their antisocial behavior.

What’s the Big Idea?

Stimulants will be used to treat over three million children this year who have trouble focusing. According to Sroufe, dependency on these drugs, both in terms of a physical addiction and societal crutch, is unacceptable. There will never be, nor should there be, a single solution to problems facing so many children, he says. We must treat children as people, not as wrinkles that can be ironed out with a pill. Praising biochemical solutions to societal problems sets a bad precedent and keeps us from understanding complexities.

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