If you are a parent to an ADHDer like I am, then I’m sure that by now many of you will have heard of, or read the opinion piece (and I stress that it is his opinion) published in the New York Times last Sunday, by L. Alan Sroufe titled Ritalin Gone Wrong.
You may even have had it sent to you by friends and/ or family who are trying to help by “proving” that medicating ADHDers is the wrong thing to do because the New York Times said so. I can all but guarantee that something along these lines will be featured in the YOU magazine some time soon- it is South Africa’s favourite medical journal after all.
Hot on the article’s heels was a piece by Karin J Dell’Antonia titled If Ritalin Has ‘Gone Wrong,’ What’s the Right Way to Cope?, another piece titled Who caused the ADHD? You did, Mom! by Joyce Slaton, Dr. Ned Hallowell’s Response to NY Times Piece “Ritalin Gone Wrong.” (I personally have great respect for Dr Ned Hallowell) and Why “Ritalin Gone Wrong” Is Wrong by Dr. Harold Koplewicz.
Yes- he makes some valid points, and yes- I know medication is not the whole or the only answer for ADHDers… But Sroufe’s piece made me very heart sore because it is exactly what the nay-sayers are looking for. Its exactly the kind of thing that will get thrown in the faces of parents who are trying to share their treatment strategies with friends and family. What it boils down to is that he says medication hasn’t been studied enough and he blames ADHD on bad parenting. WTH!?! I KNOW I am not a bad parent! What makes me even more sad is that the exceptionally well written rebuttal pieces I have cited above will not get nearly as much attention!
Feel free to forward them to people who think Sroufe’s opinion is the be all and end all.
What happens of course is that people reading the opinion of someone who is against medication for ADHD will not know about the angst and stress that us ADHDer parents have gone through in trying EVERYTHING before we decide to medicate our children! They will not take into account that we do not make this decision lightly and that we spend an eternity second guessing ourselves and wondering if we made the right decision.
I implore you, as parents who are doing everything they possibly can to help their child cope at school, to remember that you are doing everything you can and everything you believe is right to try and help your child. Read all the articles so that you know what is going on. Use them to strengthen your decisions- for or against medication- and continue doing the best you can.