by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths
Dixie Yid posted an article compiling a series of articles and info from Rabbi Horrowitz on ADD/ADHD and medication. Here's some interesting info they missed...
Risperdal is an adult anti-psychotic medication for adult schizophrenia that started being given to children diagnosed with ADD, ADHD with "overbearing" behavior or having overbearing behavior alone. Overbearing behavior being horrible "syndromes" such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disorder.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder is defined as "child is aggressive and tends to _bother_ others, or argues with adults, refuses to listen, is angry or resentful".
Conduct Disorder is defined as someone who "tends to break the rules, such as stays out at night after parent says come in, skips school, lies to get something or avoid work, or more seriously has stolen, bullied, or done anything else 'bad'."
"Over 5% of children have ODD, and over 6-10% of boys and 2-9% of girls have CD."
The primary drug of choice for these horrible conditions affecting 15% of children is ... Risperdal.
Recently the NY Times reported that US Congressional Investigators found that Johnson & Johnson, the drug company who developed Risperdal and marketed it for children "paid the doctor $1.4 million dollars" and "funded a research center for $1 million". The scientific research on Risperdal was NOT, it turns out, written by independent doctors, but rather "was drafted by the company and given to the doctor to sign — as if he were the author".
You'll surely recognize the behaviors above as normal for children in troubled and difficult circumstances as well as some normal childhood and adolescent behaviors (not ones we want children to have, but ones that do occur within normal situations as well). Today, thanks to the wonders of the drug companies, we can merely give our children these "very serious psychotropic brain altering medications" and the behaviors will magically go away.
No need to actually address the problems, nor to teach our children to improve their midos (attributes). Just pop a pill and make it all better.
I am certain having written this some irate parent is going to comment about how their absolutely uncontrollable child turned around their life with this medication. Thankfully, for your child there was this medication, and for a few others who truly have brain function issues that put them outside the bounds of normal societal operation. But 15% ??? That's 1 in 7 children who, per the drug company, NEED this medication.
In the average US yeshiva, 15% of the student body is psychotropicly medicated. There is no doubt we have defined many normal childhood behaviors as abnormal and avoid solving many real situational problems by just giving feeding our children a few happy pills.
Harsh, yes. True, also yes. We don't need to work on discipline anymore, just drug 'em. We don't need to pay attention to their problems anymore, just medicate 'em.
I'd like to focus on the last line of Rabbi Horowitz's article... "And along with all the challenges come opportunities. ADD/ADHD kids and adults are generally charming, outgoing, intelligent and ready for action. Their drive for excitement and stimulation, if channeled correctly, can produce high degrees of success later in life – in the communal arena, in business, and in other areas that require quick thinking, quick action and creativity. ADD/ADHD adults are often the ones that can run full steam ahead and still have enough energy to walk (or rather sprint) a few miles at the end of the day."
Indeed. Lets eliminate the outgoing, intelligent, DRIVEN people. The ones who invent, create businesses, open yeshivot, build shuls, do outreach, who spearhead the path. Then we can happily all be mediocre together.
BTW, I thought one of the whole points of Torah was to work on our midos, to overcome and improve the negative aspects of our natures and transform that ENERGY to a drive towards HASHEM. No need anymore, pop a pill and make the negative go away. So there's no drive towards Hashem, it's the least price we can pay for a quiet classroom. Thank you Johnson & Johnson, no need for this Tanya or Likutei Mohoran anymore.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
// 12/07/2008 //