17 Oct 2012
Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) say they feel that medication helps them make better decisions.
In a study conducted by Dr Ilina Singh from Kings College London, children said they did not feel drugs such as Ritalin turned them into ‘robots’ but helped clear their heads enabling them to control their behaviour.
The prescription of stimulants to manage hyperactive, aggressive or impulsive behaviour has caused controversy for many years, with critics arguing that ADHD requires psychological therapy rather than drugs. The ADHD Voices study based on interviews with over 150 families is the first piece of research that has asked children how they feel.
Dr Singh said:
"ADHD is a very emotive subject, which inspires passionate debate. Everyone seems to have an opinion about the condition, what causes it, and how to deal with children with ADHD, but the voices of these children are rarely listened to. Who better to tell us what ADHD is like and how medication affects them than the children themselves?"
Glenn, a 10 year old boy who uses medicine to control his ADHD says:
"If you're driving in a car, and there's two different ways, and you usually always go this way and then one day you want to go the other way, but the ADHD acts as a blocker, so you can't."[The medicine] opens the blocker so that you can go the right way.”
Despite the results of the study suggesting that the assumed harms of stimulant medication are unfounded, Dr Singh was keen to see research into meditation and other alternatives for children. The report also included a series of recommendations for how parents, doctors and teachers can help children cope with and better understand the condition, and begin to tackle the stigma that currently exists around it.