The Daily Gamecock

ADHD medication trend harmful

Medication misuse result of parents, educators

As a nation we have always been susceptible to the latest trend. We feel that because options are available we are obligated to utilize new technology. However, in the case of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication, the public should rethink its overwhelming support of the drug’s mass prescription.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 6.4 million children ages 4 through 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD at some point in their lives. This is a 41-percent rise over the past decade. This over-diagnosis can be accredited to many things, such as the ease with which someone can legally obtain the drug. And while there are countless brands in the public conscious, as well as hundreds of others, the blame should not solely be on the pharmaceutical companies; their job is to pander to the public and provide what we are so desperately willing to pay for.

Instead, we should scrutinize why today’s parents — who see anything below an “A” on their third-grader’s report card as a death sentence — have been scared into medicating their children. These “helicopter” parents are often so afraid of allowing their children to be childlike, they shelter them through medication. Unfortunately, their growing concern for making sure their child gets the most out of their education has escalated to the point of drugging their children — even when they do not need external help. Their decision to put a child on ADHD medication could have unwarranted side effects.

In addition, our education system needs to aid in the condemning of this trend. The culture of standardized testing has perpetuated a model of fitting everyone into the same mold so that any child who may be more creative or artistically oriented must be reshaped to fit their liking.
I am well aware of the great positive effects these drugs can have. A child who may be unable to focus in a classroom and is disruptive should be able to take the medication and give his attention to his or her studies. But parents manipulating the system into give their kids an “edge” need to be held accountable; their negligence does not come without a cost.

Ultimately, parents and educators should not jump at the mildest of symptoms in children and assume they are headed down a path of ineptitude. We need to understand that the consumers of these drugs are children, and it’s completely natural for their attention to occasionally wander.
A child should not be diagnosed with a condition simply because he or she is a little more excitable than most. When we can accept that we cannot judge children like adults, we can create a brighter future.