The critical issue looks at the use of stimulants in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children with ADHD exhibit hyperactivity, hostility, inattentiveness, defiance, inattentiveness and resistance. The stimulants in question affect the behavior of the children, making them more docile. The use of these drugs has repercussions, both physical and psychological. However, the companies manufacturing and marketing the drugs seem to disagree (Breggin, 2002).
The yes side of the critical issue makes it clear that the drugs being used to control ADHD are harmful as they affect the normal growth patterns of children.
This is because they interfere with the hormones that regulate growth. The children have been observed to gain less weight and even height that they are supposed to. This side of the critical issue also brings out the fact that the drugs are addictive and may cause dependence in children.
This is shown by the fact that a child’s behavior worsens when he misses his medication. The child then exhibits withdrawal symptoms similar to those of a person abusing a drug like cocaine (Breggin, 2002) The no side of the critical issue brings out the fact that the stimulants in deed affect the brain functions. They act on the brain regions whose under activity brings about ADHD. This side also shows the fact that the effect of stimulants in the patient is short term, hence the need to keep using more of the stimulant. This is exemplified by the use of insulin for the treatment of diabetes (Barkley, 2000).
The Yes side has the opinion that the use of stimulants may result in psychological problems that the child did not have initially. They also hold the opinion that the companies manufacturing and marketing the drugs do not tell people the truth as it is supposed to be.
They instead make the side effects appear inconsequential. On the other hand, the no side has the opinion that the drugs are indeed necessary in regulation of the child’s behavior, academic performance and social relations. They also think that the claims of the stimulants affecting growth in children are just myths (Breggin, 2002).
The pro side shows that use of stimulants affects how the brain functions and that the drugs may cause dependence. They use the documented cases as evidence that the drugs may result in psychological as well as physical problems. The weakness in their argument is that the symptoms which they claim are due to cessation of stimulant use may actually be symptoms of the problem itself (ADHD). The no side shows that the drugs are essential for children with ADHD to live a normal life. This is because they correct the deficiencies in the brain.
The major weakness is the claim that stunted growth as a result of the stimulant use is a myth (Barkley, 2000).
I agree with the author of the yes side. The use of these drugs really does affect the functions of the brain and may result in psychosis.
Parents should use natural methods like giving the children a balanced diet and mineral supplements as opposed to the drugs. The drugs may cause retardation in a child who would otherwise have grown into a healthy adult (Breggin, 2002).
Contemporary research supports the no side. There were studies conducted in hospitals in Massachusetts and Detroit to show that the stimulant use did not cause dependence. Other tests revealed that symptoms like anxiousness, loss of appetite, insomnia and irritability are due to ADHD and not the drugs (Barkley, 2000).
Although yes and no sides do not seem to agree, it is clear that the stimulants affect the normal functioning of the body.
This begins with the brain functions and may end up in malfunctions of the heart or even addiction. The growth of the child is interfered with and this influences the kind of person that child will grow up into (Breggin, 2002).
Barkley, R. A. (2000).
Taking charge of ADHD: The complete, authoritative guide. Surrey, Guildford. Breggin, P. R.
(2002). The Ritalin fact book: What your doctor won’t tell you about ADHD and stimulant drugs. New York, Perseus.