Ritalin & Other Attention-Improving Drugs
Ritalin and other attention-improving drugs can work in the short term, for approximately the first 4-8 weeks. But studies show that over longer periods of time neither how well students do in school or how well they behave is any different from those who did not take medication. Not a single study to date demonstrates long-term effectiveness after three years of taking ADD drugs. People develop a tolerance to the drug and its effectiveness decreases.
And we still don’t know the long-term effects of using these medications. There are concerns about stunted growth, increased depression and anxiety, and the additional strain on the heart with long-term usage.
There is a very interesting (and hopefully widely read) article on this subject, which appeared a few weeks ago in the New York Times. Dr. Sroufe, who has been studying ADD at the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Child Development for many years, says that most of the articles and studies on ADD medications focus on the short-term benefit. The lackluster results from medication over the long-term are much less appreciated. If the wider public were more aware of the limitations of this class of medication, there would be a lot less enthusiasm for putting children on such medication.
“Ritalin Gone Wrong” By L. Alan Sroufe – Published: January 28, 2012