Ritalin Gone Wrong(New York Times, January 28, 2012) is an OpEd piece in which Dr. Sroufe contends that attention-deficit drugs only increase concentration short term. He discusses the history of medical theory on ADHD from the 1960s to today. He notes that the very real possibility that ADHD is affected by experiences in childhood. He refers his own study of 200 children followed from pregnancy through adolescence. He determined that ADHD was predictable by environment, not infant temperament at birth (which would imply an inborn deficiency) or neurological anomalies at birth.
He proposes that each child be treated individually, something one would hope would happen in our health care system. He expresses concern that children given medication are made to feel deficient and that society’s view is all problems can be fixed with a pill.
L. Alan Sroufe is a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development.
The responses to Dr. Sroufe’s OpEd piece are well worth reading. Check our ADHD Resources pagefor links.