During the 1990s, I lived in Eastern Europe in a country coming out of the long grip of the USSR (United Soviet Socialist Republic). One word pretty much described the society: devastation.
Poverty was everywhere and people were coping however possible. Public alcoholism was rampant, and a huge portion of the population was taking prescribed and illicit medication. People were sedated and apathetic. It was a tragic situation to see.
But we have seen a significant increase in the use of pharmaceutical use in this country in recent years. Perhaps most alarming is the wholesale medication of school-aged children. Would it be fair to say that we are dumbing down education for a dumbed-down student community? Something about that formula doesn’t point to success and achievement or a bright future.
In an article posted in Esquire on March 27, 2014, titled Drugging of the American Boy, the author states: "By the time they reach high school, nearly 20 percent of all American boys will be diagnosed with ADHD...If you have a son who has been diagnosed, it's more than likely that he has been prescribed a stimulant....[which are classified as] Schedule II drugs, defined as having a 'high potential for abuse' and 'wish use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.'"
The article then lists several debilitating or lifethreatening side effects of these stimultants and continues,
“Now imagine that [your son] is suffering like this because of a mistake. Because a doctor examined him for twelve minutes, looked at a questionnaire on which you had checked some boxes, listened to your brief and vague report that he seemed to have trouble sitting still in kindergarten, made a diagnosis for a disorder the boy doesn't have and wrote a prescription for a powerful drug he doesn't need.”
Though the article was written a number of years ago, it is still a good read for any parent concerned about the well-being of their child.
Some children may be benefitted from limited and controlled medical support, but it is concerning that, too often, medication is used to subdue healthy, active children so that they are easier to manage at school... and sometimes even at home. When schools get paid more for children with special diagnoses, too many children simply serve the system rather than the system serving and protecting them.
Several years ago, we were told that one of our children had symptoms of ADHD. He was an energetic, curious, bright child who became bored quickly if he was not being challenged mentally. The school felt that he needed to be medicated to assist him in learning. We refused. Years later, after graduating early, he went into the Marine Corps where he served with distinction. Testing during that time revealed that he had an IQ of 132. He now serves as a state representative at 30 years of age.
Parents, I hope you will think about your responsibility to your child’s well-being. It is not in their best interest to be dumbed down for most of their formative years. It could set them back in immeasurable ways. Further, medical records can follow a child into adulthood and the labor force, not to mention their own psychological health.
Are there healthy options? Absolutely.