UMass Amherst


Ritalin Gone Wrong

Administrative: Are drugs like Ritalin and Adderall really helping children? Should we really keep expanding the number of prescriptions filled?

Posted on: Feb 1, 2012

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L. Alan Sroufe, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Minnesota's Institute of Child Development, expresses his concern about children's use of A.D.D drugs in a recent New York Times article. Three million children in the U.S take drugs for problems in focusing- a twentyfold increase in the past thirty years! Parents should be aware that attention-deficit drugs increase concentration in the short-term, but neither improve school achievement nor reduce behavior problems in the long run. To date, no study has found any long-term benefit of attention-deficit medication on academic performance, peer relationships or behavior problems, the very things we would most want to improve as caregivers. Profound research in behavioral neuroscience in recent years found clear evidence that the developing brain is shaped by experience. Continuing research is being conducted to determine whether children who have problems with attention, self-regulation, and behavior are caused because of some aspect present at birth, or early experiences in childhood.

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