ADHD and Addiction: The True Story
Why is it that parents PRETEND to have their child’s best interest at heart when they discuss their reluctance to start the child on medication for their ADD or ADHD? Knowledge is power and unfortunately for many parents with ADD children they would have to be classified as “weak”. Parents look to all sorts of sources of information from Chiropractors to alternative medicine specialists to herbalists to anyone who shares a common opinion about how an ADD child should be cared for. The problem is that they have the process backwards. You don’t formulate an opinion based on a lack of knowledge and then seek out people who share your thoughts. Instead you should thoroughly research all the information available and then rely on credible experts in the field to guide you and your child through the best treatment options available.
A family recently told me that they would not start their 9 year old son on medication for his ADHD because the medication would eventually lead to him becoming an addict. When asked where they obtained this information about the link between ADHD medications and addiction I was told that it was from a book written by a chiropractor. A CHIROPRACTOR!! To the best of my knowledge Chiropractors are not trained in the treatment of mood disorders and if they were they are not licensed to prescribe medication. So is it any surprise that they would object to medication. The problem with that thinking is that they couldn’t be farther from the truth and they are creating a situation where rather than helping a child they are instead setting that child up for a life time of problems. This is what happens when you try to extend your influence outside the realm of your qualifications.
The truth is simply this: every piece of reputable medical literature in the recent past tells us completely opposite what the Chiropractor had to say. Early intervention with medication in the ADD or ADHD brain helps to prevent addiction while late intervention makes a child more susceptible to addiction. the brain is an organ in many ways similar to other organs in that if you allow it to go untreated irreparable damage will occur. Everyone thinks that they can control their brain. That is true if you need to scratch your head. It is not true if you want to control the deeper centers of your brain that are responsible for behavioral disorders like ADD and ADHD. Only medications in combination with behavioral therapy and ADHD coaching have been shown to fix that.
Finally, let me share a thought with you on dosing. Once a decision has been made to start medication that medication must be given at the appropriate dose. The appropriate dose is defined as that dose at which the behavioral problem has been completely better. It not fair to a child to let them taste what it feels like to be “normal” for a couple hours rather than a whole day. If you had pneumonia you would never tell the doctor to give you enough antibiotic to make you some better. You want to be totally better. The same principle applies to ADD treatment. Take the right does of medicine to get completely better. Less medication is not a good thing if it doesn’t work. Use the right dose.
People for whatever reason easily develop opinions about the field of medicine. Leave in the hands of the fight experts and just be a parent. This will lead to what parents really should care the most about; the best outcome for their child.