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Are young children early on exposed to psychotropic medications due to lack of medical attention? Do millions of children in these countries really have ADD or ADHD? These questions arise all over North America, Great Britain, and Australia. Drugging of children at young ages is the result of self-diagnoses, teacher diagnoses, and lack of medical care and treatment for children with the “disease” of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
In the documentary The Drugging of our Children, Gary Null, Forever Living Products, 2005, DVD Web, brings about the argument. Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s children began to be put on many different drugs for their behavior in school, the main drug being Ritalin. In the documentary, Null speaks out to parents of children that are on medication by interviewing many different parents, physicians, and education committees about the use of Ritalin and other psychotropic medications in young children.
All of these things that are being evaluated of the child’s behavior is at school, and is compared to the expected behavior of that particular teacher’s classroom. The film goes on explain how teachers diagnose those more challenging students with either ADD or ADHD and have them forced to put their kid on a medication to “cure” their so called disease. After showing each case and their stories, the film also reflects the long term effects of the medications also. The process of diagnosing a child with ADD or ADHD starts in the school environment.
Teachers early on look for flaws in students in regards to classroom disruption. There is a list of nine elements including: can’t sit in seat, fidgets, jumping out of chair, doesn’t wait his turn, blurts out answer before question is finished being asked, careless mistakes in schoolwork etc. If the teacher can identify at least six out of the nine characteristics, then she has the authority to tell the parent that their child will be sent to a special needs school program. They will also tell parents that their child needs to be medicated for this disease.
Dr. James Schaller of the Medical College of Pennsylvania (Life Script; James Louis Schaller, MD) believes that one must rule everything out first and then see the actual problem before considering medication. It is common in this day and age for people to accuse the hyperactive child of their parents not knowing how to raise or control them. Dr. Michael D. Fraser states that parenting style is not a cause of ADD and ADHD but that it’s hereditary and can even have to do with things like low birth weight, diet, and allergies.
Needleman stated that, “It has also been claimed that exposure to lead can cause delinquent behavior in children”. The number one symptom of ADD or ADHD is “Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat”, stated by Peter Breggin, MD. Null only gets facts and stories from people that have been negatively affected by the use of psychotropic medications and doctors that are against the use of them. The audience is only able to wrap the mind around tragic situations that’ll lead to agreement with the argument presented. It was observed that as children got older, school shootings became more common.
The cause of this was claimed to be that children now days had easier access to guns in the home. Researchers looked further into this answering their own questions like “Weren’t guns easy to access in the 1950’s and 1960’s? ” In fact, yes, it was just as easy, if not easier for children to get their hands on guns then also. Physicians looked further into the children committing these acts. Miguel Humara, Ph. D states that, “The most effective form of treatment for ADD and ADHD are cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychotropic medication”.
All of the children featured in the film had a history of being on some sort of psychotropic medication, the most common being Ritalin. These drugs are most commonly meant for people ages eighteen years or older, but doctors were being lazy and just prescribing these drugs to small children also. Comparing an eighteen year old on Ritalin to a seven year old on it, they had different side effects. While the eighteen year old was experiencing headache and vomiting, the seven year old was hallucinating and unconsciously doing violent acts.
Obvious to viewers that these had long term consequences to younger aged children. This information makes sense and is valid from people with first-hand experience, but what about the people with no horrendous side effects? What about the doctors that do rule out everything before trying out medicine? These things should have also been addressed throughout the film for accurate accusation. The argument is strong and makes the audience think about medicating young children and is definitely persuasive in making them agree.
This argument makes the audience think more in depth of the side effects of medication on young children in both their short term and long term effects. Null, throughout the entire film, speaks to the audience through the credibility of doctors, educators, and parents that have lived through experiences. This is an effective way to grab the attention of the audience with real life stories of victims. It makes the audience feel as if they know the victim and can have sympathy for their experience and therefore be able to agree with the argument, making the argument effective.
In reality, young children are going to be a bit hyper and squirmy in their childhood and shouldn’t be look at as diseased or troubled. They need time to grow up and understand acceptable behavior. Though teachers and parents quickly make the assumption that there is something wrong, doctors need to be the ones to make the ultimate decision. Therefore, drugging of young children is the result of self-diagnoses, teacher diagnoses, and lack of medical attention and care for those with ADD and ADHD.