RITALIN AND ADDICTIONS

Recently I was presented with a study from NIDA director Alan I. Leshner concluding that children on Ritalin would experience less likelihood of drug abuse in the future. First, it is necessary to reiterate the fact that ADHD is a questionable diagnosis and that the pathology of it has not been delineated in the scientific literature. This is confirmed by the following statements.

"...common assumptions about ADHD include that it is clearly distinguishable from normal behavior, constitutes a neuordevelopmental (brain) disability, is relatively uninfluenced by the environment (home, school)...all of these assumptions...must be challenged because of the lack of empirical support and the strength of contrary evidence...what is now described in the US as ADHD is a set of normal behavioral variations..This discrepancy leaves the validity (of ADHD) in doubt." Dr. William Carey, MD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

"we have do not have an independent, valid test for ADHD, and there are no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction...and finally, after years of clinical research and experience with ADHD, our knowledge about the cause or causes of ADHD remains speculative." - United States National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference on ADHD, 1998

"The diagnosis of ADD is entirely subjective.... There is no test. It is just down to interpretation. Maybe a child blurts out in class or doesn’t sit still. The lines between an ADD sufferer and a healthy exuberant kid can be very blurred."- Dr. Joe Kosterich, Federal Chair of the Australian Medical Association

"the exact etiology of ADHD is unknown."- US Surgeon General's Report There is questionable evidence whether Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is in fact a bonafide disease. Further, it has been disclosed in studies of amphetamine treatments (such as Ritalin), that chronic Ritalin-amphetamine exposure causes brain atrophy (shrinkage).

On December 24, 1994, Paul Leber, of the Food and Drug Administration wrote, "... as yet, no distinctive pathophysiology for [A.D.H.D.] as a disorder has been delineated."

On October 25, 1995, Gene R. Haislip of the Drug Enforcement Administration replied, "We are also unaware that A.D.H.D. has been validated as a biologic/organic syndrome or disease."

On March 7, 1998, James M. Swanson, University of California acknowledged, "I would like to have an objective diagnosis for the disorder (A.D.H.D.). Right now psychiatric diagnosis is completely subjective."

On May 13, 1998, F. Xavier Castellanos (National Institute of Mental Health) wrote, "I agree that we have not yet met the burden of demonstrating the specific pathophysiology that we believe underlies this condition."

On August 5, 1998, William B. Carey, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania, responded, "There are no such articles constituting proof that A.D.H.D. is a disease or syndrome."

Now, in dealing with Leshner's study, one must realize that there are many conflicting studies and that there has not always been honesty employed in the studies, some of which have received direct funding from the pharmaceutical companies. Take for example the study presented by James Swanson at the Consensus Development Conference on ADHD in 1998. He concluded that the brains of children were ADHD were smaller in size. The problem was that a colleague challenged him on the fact that of all those who showed brain atrophy, they ALL had received treatment with psychostimulants. The conference concluded, " there are no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction." This was later edited out of the final report. Now, it is important to note that the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1995 concluded, "the possibility of drug abuse as a consequence of methylphenidate treatment." Also, a study by Nadine Lambert, Professor of Cognitiion and Development and Director of the School Psychology Program at the University of California at Berkeley concluded that there is a significant correlation between stimulant treatment in childhood and later drug abuse. Stimulant treatment in childhood increased 'lifetime use of cocaine and stimulants." 1