Ritalin Use, Then Abuse?

Ritalin Use, Then Abuse?
Posted by FoM on August 03, 1999 at 11:42:30 PT
No, Says a New Study of ADD Patients 
Source: ABC News
Chicago,— Hyperactive boys treated with drugs such as Ritalin were much less likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs as teen-agers than similar boys who had not been treated, researchers say.
Some experts not involved in the study said it was flawed and too small to reach meaningful conclusions.   But authors of the study — which involved 212 boys, including 75 with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD — said the findings should help allay concerns that giving children potentially addictive drugs such as Ritalin may promote harmful habits later.   An estimated 3 million school-age children have ADHD, and as many as half may be taking Ritalin or other stimulants, past research indicates. No Prime Directive?“There has been a mythology that the use of these medications could ‘prime’ children to become addicts in the future or could develop ‘a culture of drug taking,”‘ said Dr. Joseph Biederman of Massachusetts General Hospital, lead author of the study. It is published in the August issue of Pediatrics’ “electronic pages,” an Internet extension of the journal published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.   “We believe that children with ADHD who are medically treated will have fewer problems resulting from their disorder and more successful lives, probably giving them fewer reasons to experiment with substance abuse,” he said.   Ritalin acts on dopamine, a brain chemical that helps regulate thinking. It is believed to calm hyperactivity by helping children’s brains disregard distracting stimuli, such as classroom noise, so they can focus on learning. Part of Previous StudyThe subjects for the research were part of a previous study of families with an ADHD child and families with no ADHD children. The children and their mothers were interviewed on three occasions — when they entered the study, one year later and four years after enrollment.   The authors studied 56 ADHD patients who were on medication, 19 ADHD patients not on medication and 137 patients without the disorder.   At the study’s end, 75 percent of the unmedicated ADHD subjects had substance abuse disorders, compared with 25 percent of the medicated subjects. Abused substances included alcohol, marijuana, hallucinogens, cocaine and other stimulants. Eighteen percent of the non-ADHD subjects were substance abusers.   A critic of the study, psychologist Nadine Lambert of the University of California at Berkeley, said it was too small to show significant differences in rates of drug abuse.   Her own research involving more than 200 ADHD subjects tracked for more than 20 years shows that those who took stimulant medication were more likely to be cocaine and tobacco abusers as adults than non-medicated subjects, she said.  Lambert said she is not opposed to treating ADHD youngsters with stimulants because the benefits have been shown clearly, but she believes there are risks and they should be acknowledged. By Brenda C. ColemanThe Associated PressAug. 3, 1999 Copyright 1999 The Associated Press
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on August 03, 1999 at 16:34:14 PT:
Crossing the Line to Addiction
Here's another interesting article on addiction.I know you are right and I can't believe the article either.This is from PBS's Web Site:Close To Home the Line to Addiction:How and When Does It Happen? Compared to a normal brain, the brain of a cocaine abuser shows reduced metabolic activity, shown in these PET scans in the warmer colors.   "No one becomes addicted the first time they try a drug," says George Koob, M.D., a professor in the neuropharmacology department at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Although there are some cases where a person's reaction to first use is so positive that they immediately begin to abuse a drug, Koob says most addiction has a subtler start. It usually doesn't take place until the person has been using chronically. The person has become an addict when his or her brain has literally been changed by this chronic use of the drug.  Many substances and activities, from food to sex, exert control over human behavior by motivating us to indulge in them. But addictive drugs, such as alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, and heroin, can affect the structure and function of the brain -- and hence our motivations -- in long-lasting ways. They can actually alter and "usurp," in one scientist's term, the "circuits" in the brain that are involved in the control of emotions and motivation, impairing an addicted person's will. "What addiction really is, is a result of brain changes that over time get translated into behavior changes," says National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) director Alan Leshner, Ph.D.If a person uses drugs, at a high enough dose, frequently enough and for a long period of time, these drugs change the way the brain works. "You change the way nerve cells communicate in such a way that you develop this compulsive, out-of-control use despite knowing that all kinds of terrible things can happen to you, and despite even experiencing many of those things," says National Institute of Mental Health director Steven Hyman, M.D. Click the link to read the whole article.Thanks Jean!
Crossing the Line to Addiction: How Does It Happen?
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Comment #1 posted by Jeaneous on August 03, 1999 at 15:23:07 PT:
RE: Medicating children
Using medications such as Ritalin to make children become zombies no the teacher will not have to deal with an active or even over active child is teaching them that taking a pill solves all their problems.I have a friend that medicated her son with Ritalin for years. Now that same boy at the age of 17 has overdosed on crack, is an alcoholic, is violent and out of control. He did not finish school and has been in trouble with the law already.Here is an article that brings the issue of medicating children and just what these medicines are derived from. It deals mostly with the new idea of giving children prozac and other anti-depressants. It's from the Art Bell show but the woman who wrote this book has some very insightful information. Like why kids kill... like in Columbine. It brings alot of issues to light.
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