Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most common developmental psychiatric disorder in the world, affecting 3-5% of children. Yet ADHD is also one of the most controversial disorders in terms of how it is diagnosed, what causes it, and in particular, how it is treated.
Stimulant drugs such as Ritalin are now commonly prescribed to many children presenting with ADHD. A quick search on the web will reveal a plethora of literature and opinions from scientists, teachers and parents on the use of stimulants; some reports even suggest prescribing has quadrupled over the last decade. However, treatment with Ritalin remains controversial, with some raising concerns about the impact of the treatment on developing brains or suggesting bad behaviour is being medicalised. But what do the children who take stimulants think about the medication and how it affects them?
We hosted Dr Ilina Singh, who has interviewed 151 children in the UK and the US about their experiences of ADHD and taking stimulants.
The result of her research is the VOICES (voices on identity, childhood, ethics and stimulants) report: a comprehensive brochure and DVD of animations designed to help parents, teachers, and especially children, learn about ADHD and stimulant medication. Importantly, all the materials are based on her interviews with the children themselves.
Dr Ilina Singh – Reader in Bioethics & Society in social science health and medicine the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.