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Attention Deficit Disorder and Ritalin (updated April 2000)

What can you tell me about the use of Ritalin and other medications in the treatment of ADD? What are some alternatives to medication?

No cure or "quick fix" exists to treat AD/HD. The symptoms, however, can be managed through a combination of efforts. Management approaches need to be designed to assist the child behaviorally, educationally, psychologically, and, in many instances, pharmacologically. Medication has proven effective for many children with AD/HD. Most experts agree, however, that medication should never be the only treatment used. Many parents and teachers have heard that mega-vitamins, chiropractic scalp massage, visual/ocular motor training, biofeedback, allergy treatments, and diets are useful treatments for AD/HD. However, these treatments are often experimental and advocates, parents need to become informed consumers and exercise caution when considering such treatments. (From NICHCY's briefing paper on ADD.)

Following are links to related ERIC Digests, minibibliographies, frequently asked questions (FAQs), Internet resources, and Internet discussion groups, as well as selected citations from the ERIC database and the search terms we used to find the citations.


You can search the ERIC database yourself on the Internet through either of the following web sites:

ERIC Citations

The full text of ERIC documents (for example, EDxxxxxx) is available:

  • In microfiche collections worldwide; to find your nearest ERIC Resource Collection, point your web browser to: http://ericae.net/derc.htm.
  • For a fee through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS): http://edrs.com, service@edrs.com, or 1.800.443.ERIC. (no longer available)

The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:

ERIC Search Terms Used

attention deficit disorder

AND

drug therapy OR stimulants

EJ553515 CG551129
Stimulant Treatment of Elementary School Children: Implications for School Counselors.
Bramlett, Ronald K.; Nelson, Patricia; Reeves, Betty
Elementary School Guidance & Counseling, v31 n4 p243-50 Apr 1997
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); RESEARCH REPORT (143)
Determines the percentage of elementary children in the United States who are currently receiving stimulant medication at school. Forty-six states and 246,707 children were represented in the survey. Approximately 3% of children were receiving stimulant medication at school with Ritalin the stimulant most widely used. Explores assessment issues and treatment options.
Descriptors: *Attention Deficit Disorders; *Drug Therapy; Elementary Education; *Elementary School Students; Pupil Personnel Services; School Counselors; *Stimulants Identifiers: Frequency Data; Ritalin

EJ549107 EC616951
Medications in the Classroom: A Hard Pill to Swallow?
Howell, Kenneth W.; And Others
TEACHING Exceptional Children, v29 n6 p58-61 Jul-Aug 1997
ISSN: 0040-0599
Document Type: NON-CLASSROOM MATERIAL (055); JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Addresses classroom management concerning use of stimulant medication (STM) for students with attention-related difficulties. Identifies difficulties of noncompliance and misuse. Details ten guidelines for obtaining optimal benefit of STM are detailed and including ensure that the decision to use medication is made appropriately, promote student responsibility for behavior, and monitor.
Descriptors: *Attention Deficit Disorders; Compliance (Psychology); *Drug Therapy; Elementary Secondary Education; Parent Teacher Cooperation; *Stimulants; Teacher Role

EJ552061 EC617151
Practical Guidelines for Monitoring Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
Katisyannis, Antonis; Landrum, Timothy J.; Vinton, Lori
Preventing School Failure, v41 n3 p132-36 Spr 1997
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); POSITION PAPER (120); PROJECTDESCRIPTION (141)
Target Audience: Practitioners
First identifies salient features of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and then offers a model for diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of students with ADHD. The model assumes cooperation of parent, teacher, and physician, and data-based decisions concerning use and ongoing monitoring of stimulant medication or other home/school-based interventions.
Descriptors: *Attention Deficit Disorders; Clinical Diagnosis; Decision Making; *Drug Therapy; *Hyperactivity; *Integrated Services; Intervention; *Models; Stimulants; Student Characteristics

EJ548402 UD520040
Ritalin: Miracle Drug or Cop-Out?
Livingston, Ken
Public Interest, n127 p3-18 Spr 1997
ISSN: 0033-3557
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); POSITION PAPER (120)
Provides the pros and cons for the use of Ritalin in today's classrooms. Discusses the causes and diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), what Ritalin does to the brain, why ADHD appears to be so frequently diagnosed, Ritalin's affect on school performance, and the notion that current educational policies contribute to Ritalin usage.
Descriptors: Attention Deficit Disorders; *Behavior Change; Behavior Problems; *Child Behavior; Child Psychology; *Drug Therapy; Educational Policy; Elementary Education; Elementary School Students; *Etiology; Pharmacology; Psychological Evaluation; School Choice Identifiers: *Ritalin

EJ547381 EC616414
The Effects of Self-Monitoring on Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Who Are Receiving Pharmacological Interventions.
Mathes, Mickie Y.; Bender, William N.
Remedial and Special Education, v18 n2 p121-28 Mar-Apr 1997
ISSN: 0741-9325
Document Type: JOURNAL ARTICLE (080); RESEARCH REPORT (143)
A study of three elementary school boys (ages 8-11) with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, who were already receiving pharmacological treatment, investigated the effects of using a self-monitoring procedure to enhance their on-task behavior. Results found all three subjects increased in on-task behaviors when self-monitoring was used.
Descriptors: *Attention Deficit Disorders; *Behavior Change; *Drug Therapy; Elementary Education; *Hyperactivity; *Outcomes of Treatment; Performance; Program Effectiveness; *Self Management

EJ542035 SP525990
Educating Children with Attention Deficit Disorder.
Schiller, Ellen; And Others
Our Children, v22 n2 p32-33 Nov-Dec 1996
ISSN: 1083-3080
Document Type: NON-CLASSROOM MATERIAL (055); JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
Target Audience: Parents
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is recognized as the most common neurobehavioral disorder in American children. The paper examines how to obtain a proper diagnosis for children with ADD, how medication for ADD affects children, how children with ADD can be properly served in public schools, and where to go for help.
Descriptors: *Attention Deficit Disorders; Behavior Disorders; *Clinical Diagnosis; *Drug Therapy; Elementary School Students; Elementary Secondary Education; *Hyperactivity; Public Schools; *Regular and Special Education Relationship; Secondary School Students

Additional Materials
Armstrong, Thomas
The Myth of the A.D.D. Child: 50 Ways To Improve Your Child's Behavior and Attention Span without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion.
1995; 302p.
ISBN-0-525-93841-9
Available from: Dutton Publishers, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
This book asserts that children who experience attention or behavior problems are fully intact, whole, healthy human beings, not children suffering from a medical disorder; that Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is often misdiagnosed; and that Ritalin, a drug commonly used in the treatment of ADD, is widely overprescribed. Part 1 argues that ADD is a construct invented in psychological laboratories given life by the psychological, educational, and pharmaceutical communities. It examines the specious nature of ADD and provides a number of alternative explanations for why children might have the behavior or attention problems that experts currently link to ADD. It addresses the benefits and drawbacks of the use of medication and a wide range of non-drug alternatives to control ADD. Part 2 presents 50 practical strategies for parents to help their children discover their true nature and achieve success in life, by improving their behavior and attention span. These strategies focus on proper diet, limiting television and video games, developing interests, channeling creative energy, physical relaxation techniques, positive role models, school placement options, family relationships, social skill development, self-esteem, rules, feedback, and behavior management.
Descriptors: Attention Deficit Disorders; Educational Strategies; Drug Therapy; Behavior Modification; Child Rearing; Misconceptions; Parent Child Relationship; Disability Identification; Role Models; Self Esteem; Interpersonal Competence; Student Placement; Coping; Elementary Secondary Education; Behavior Problems; Attention Span; Intervention
Identifiers: Ritalin

Crook, William G.
Help for the Hyperactive Child. A Good-Sense Guide for Parents of Children with Hyperactivity, Attention Deficits and Other Behavior and Learning Problems.
ISBN-0-933478-18-6
1991; 245p.
Available from: Professional Books, PO Box 3246, Jackson, TN 38302
This guide for parents focuses on treating hyperactivity and attention deficit disorders, as well as related behavior and learning problems, through allergy detection, nutritional changes, and avoidance of environmental toxins, rather than drug treatment. After special introductory chapters addressed to parents and to teachers and other professionals involved with the child, the first section gives an overview of the recommended approach, including: dietary changes, good nutrition and nutritional supplements, food allergies, lifestyle changes, control of candida, psychological support and discipline, and helping the child succeed in school. The second section gives more detailed information on similar topics, including hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder, allergies and dietary changes, television and other aspects of the child's environment, yeast infections, ear infections, and vitamins. The third section focuses on helpful hints and recipes for cleaning up the diet, how to manage dietary changes within the family environment, elimination diets, and the yeast connection.
Descriptors: Hyperactivity; Attention Deficit Disorders; Learning Problems; Behavior Problems; Allergy; Physical Environment; Food; Dietetics; Nutrition; Parenting Skills; Individual Needs; Behavior Change

Available from your local book store or library:

Ritalin is Not the Answer: A Drug-Free, Practical Program for Children Diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, David B. Stein, Ph.D. Jossey-Bass Publishers, 350 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104. 888.378.2537. http://www.josseybass.com

Running on Ritalin: A Physician Reflects on Children, Society, and Performance in a Pill, Lawrence H. Diller, MD. Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036. 800.726.0600. www.randomhouse.com
 

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