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In my daily work, I meet families worried about children who have difficulty maintaining their attention, are very busy, disturb the class and make it difficult for the teachers. Many come "pre-diagnosed" from TDHA. However, not all fussy kids are kids with ADHD and, on the other hand, not everyone needs medication, even despite having been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and / or Hyperactivity.
If you have had access to an assessment questionnaire for the diagnosis of ADHD, you will have noticed that most of the assessments are based on the observation of behavioral traits of children, regardless of their suffering, personal or family history, etc.
You may be familiar with the Conners scale, which has a version designed for parents and another version for teachers. It is striking that, in the first case, he constantly emphasizes the same, minimally varying the expression used. We refer to phrases like "is always moving or acts as if driven by a motor", "tireless or too active", "tireless in the sense of not being still", and so on.
We can meet opposite answers about the same child even between the pair of parents. How reliable or reliable does that give? If a mother / father is worried about her child, it is easier for her to see his problem behaviors than if she is not distressed by him. Another question I ask myself is: what does “too active” or “more moved than normal” mean? What is normal? What is the line that determines whether it is active or not? How do you infer that it is not for something specific?
It is almost impossible, in my view, that after passing this questionnaire do not consider that your child is hyperactive. Where is the possibility of understanding that both hyperactivity and attention deficit can be symptoms of another problem and not isolated symptoms that suddenly occur for their own sake?
The answer, if we want to find it, is in the child. In his story, in his relationships, in his experiences, in what is happening around him ... And sometimes, we forget that he has the answers.
As parents, full of anguish, I understand what can calm have a diagnosis. Suddenly they give you the solution to THE PROBLEM.
The point is that maybe the child is not the problem. But they give you an answer before other questions can be asked. They also give you a way to "fix" it. A pill. And the child calms down. They don't call you from school anymore. He's not so bad at home anymore. Everything is easier.
And all this, happening in a social moment, in which we live in a hurry, there is hardly any space in which to play or enjoy the children. If you are lucky enough to have a job, you may not have the afternoon to share with them, and the time that remains is barely available for homework, bathing and going to bed.
I understand that we are in the ideal conditions to continue to medicate children. So we don't have time to wonder what else could be happening.
But I would like parents to know that methylphenadate (Ritalin, concerta, etc.) is a psychostimulant. The DEA and other counterparts classify methylphenidate and amphetamine in the same category as methamphetamine, cocaine, and the more potent opiates and barbiturates, a category that only includes drugs with greater potential for addiction and abuse.
They all affect the same areas of the brain and the same neurotransmitters. They disrupt growth by suppressing appetite and by disrupting growth hormone production; they affect the cardiovascular system and commonly produce adverse mental effects, including depression. All this coupled with the lack of information on the long-term effects of methylphenadate.
The situation is difficult and the conditions are good to keep it that way. But the things can change.
There are professionals who consider other possibilities and only prescribe medication for ADHD when it is necessary to contain the child's impulsivity / activity if it is interfering in their daily life, temporarily and always together with other psychological, social and educational interventions.
There are families who do not know all the information in relation to the possible adverse effects of the medication, and it is necessary to be aware. With all this, at least I find psychostimulatory challenge to change the situation. Don't you think it's worth continuing to walk?
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