No child should be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and medicated because it is cheaper or more convenient than providing adequate social or educational resources, a report has said this week.
‘Voices On Identity, Childhood, Ethics and Stimulants: Children join the debate’ is a Wellcome Trust-funded research project that looks at children’s experiences with ADHD diagnosis and drug treatments. Researchers interviewed over 150 children aged between nine and 14 in the United States and United Kingdom to form the report.
It found children should be seen as ‘developing moral agents’ who want to be in control of their behaviour and take responsibility for their behaviour. The report also found that stimulant medication such as Ritalin does not compromise children’s moral development and can in fact support it.
ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed child psychiatric disorder in the world. ADHD is more common in boys than in girls and affects 1-2 children in every 100 in the UK. Psychostimulants such as Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall or Vyvanse are incresingly used as treatments for ADHD.
The report concludes that ethical solutions to children’s behavioural difficulties address the biological and social dimensions of the difficulties. Ethical treatments to ADHD support the child as a team member with a voice in the decision making around their medication.
The report includes a 17 minute animated film, ‘ADHD and Me’, with the interviews with the children and is available here.
‘Voices On Identity, Childhood, Ethics and Stimulants: Children join the debate’ is available here.
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