Information About Medications
Use to Treat ADHD
Talking Back to
by Peter K. Breggin, M.D.
For the purpose of alerting the public to
the dangers of stimulant drugs, this appendix to Talking Back to Ritalin by Peter
R. Breggin, M.D. may be reprinted without permission in unlimited numbers provided that no
fee is charged for the materials and that no profit is made from the distribution. The
source must be identified and the material must be reproduced in its entirety,
including this page.
Talking Back to Ritalin by Peter
Breggin, M.D. is published by Common Courage Press, P.O. Box 702, Monroe, Maine 04951.
Several million children are being treated
with Ritalin and other stimulants on the grounds that they have attention
deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and suffer from inattention, hyperactivity, or
impulsivity. The stimulants include:
-- Ritalin (methylphenidate)
-- Dexedrine and DextroStat
(dextroamphetamine or d-amphetamine)
-- Adderall (d-amphetamine and amphetamine
-- Desoxyn and Gradumet (methamphetamine)
-- Cylert (pemoline)
Except for Cylert, all of the above drugs
have nearly identical effects and side effects. Ritalin and the amphetamines can for most
purposes be considered one type of drug.
The number of children being drugged has
escalated several-fold in the last few years.
Ritalin and amphetamine have almost
identical adverse effects on the brain, mind and behavior, including the production of
drug-induced behavioral disorders, psychosis, mania, drug abuse, and addiction.
Ritalin and amphetamine frequently cause
the very same problems they are supposed to treatinattention, hyperactivity, and
A large percentage of children become
robotic, lethargic, depressed, or withdrawn on stimulants.
Ritalin can cause permanent neurological
tics including Tourettes syndrome.
Ritalin can retard growth in children by
disrupting the cycles of growth hormone released by the pituitary gland.
The recent finding that Ritalin can cause
cancer in some animals was not taken seriously enough by the drug company or the FDA.
Ritalin routinely causes gross
malfunctions in the brain of the child. There is research evidence from a few controlled
scientific studies that Ritalin can cause shrinkage (atrophy) or other permanent physical
abnormalities in the brain.
Withdrawal from Ritalin can cause
emotional suffering, including depression, exhaustion, and suicide. This can make children
seem psychiatrically disturbed and lead mistakenly to increased doses of medication.
Ritalin is addictive and can become a
gateway drug to other addictions. It is a common drug of abuse among children and adults.
ADHD and Ritalin are American and
Canadian medical fads. The U.S. uses 90% of the worlds Ritalin. CibaGeneva
Pharmaceuticals (also known as Ciba-Geigy Corporation), a division of Novartis, is the
manufacturer of Ritalin. It is trying to expand the Ritalin marker to Europe and the rest
of the world.
Ritalin "works" by producing
malfunctions in the brain rather than by improving brain function. This is the only way it
Short-term, Ritalin suppresses creative,
spontaneous and autonomous activity in children, making them more docile and obedient, and
more willing to comply with rote, boring tasks, such as classroom school work and
Short-term, Ritalin has no positive
effect on a childs psychology or on academic performance and achievement. This is
confirmed by innumerable studies and by many professional reviews of the literature,
Longer-term, beyond several weeks,
Ritalin has no positive effects on any aspect of a childs life,
Labeling children with ADHD and treating
them with Ritalin can keep them out of the armed services, limit their future career
choices, and stigmatize them for life. It can ruin their own self-image, subtly demoralize
them, and discourage them from reaching their full potential.
There is no solid evidence that ADHD is a
genuine disorder or disease of any kind.
There is a great deal of research to
confirm that environmental problems cause ADHD-like symptoms.
A very small number of children may
suffer ADHD-like symptoms because of physical disorders, such as lead poisoning, drug
intoxication, exhaustion, and head injury. Physical causes may be more common among poor
communities in the United States.
There is no proof of any physical
abnormalities in the brains or bodies of children who are routinely labeled ADHD. They do
not have known biochemical imbalances or "crossed wires,"
ADHD is a controversial diagnosis with
little or no scientific or medical basis. A parent, teacher, or doctor can feel in good
company when utterly dismissing the diagnosis and refusing to apply it to children
Ciba spends millions of dollars to sell
parent groups and doctors on the idea of using Ritalin. Ciba helps to support the parent
group, CH.A.D.D., and organized psychiatry.
The U.S. Department of Education and the
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) push Ritalin as vigorously as the manufacturer
of the drug, often in even more glowing terms than the drug company could get away
Our society has institutionalized drug
abuse among our children. Worse yet, we abuse our children with drugs rather than making
the effort to find better ways to meet their needs. In the long run, we are giving our
children a very bad lessonthat drugs are the answer to emotional problems. We are
encouraging a generation of youngsters to grow up relying on psychiatric drugs rather than
on themselves and other human resources.
The material in this summary is documented
with citations to scientific literature in Talking Back to Ritalin. The book
also describes non-drug approaches to helping children diagnosed ADHD through identifying
and meeting the basic needs of children, and through improvements in school and family
If you want to support efforts to stop the
psychiatric drugging of children, and to receive a newsletter, we invite you to
join the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology,
4628 Chestnut Street, Bethesda, MD 20814. Visit our web site at www.breggin.com and www.icspp.org.