Friday, July 13, 2012

In Ritalin Nation, Dr. Richard DeGrandpre delves into "America's obsession with performance and quick satisfaction and the country's reliance on Ritalin as a performance-enhancing drug". This book literally explained the common denominator as to why parents feel that their children need to be on this drug and what it does to improve the everyday lives of their children. Ritalin, which is a psychostimulant, helps with the epidemic of attention deficit disorder or ADD. 
Throughout this book, Dr. DeGrandpre expresses how he feels that this obsession may be hurting the kids in this country, by not actually looking into the symptoms of what truly is part of ADD and what people want to believe can be part of it. The book gave great insight and it is truly amazing to think of all the stuff parents will do to get this drug for their children because they feel it will help them throughout their school time and lives. 


  1. Does this book raise more questions about ADHD than it answers? Assume these are the most common symptoms of ADHD:
    Problems paying attention or following directions,
    Talking very quickly and non-stop,
    Needing to be very physical and constantly moving,
    Frequently interrupting others' activities and conversations,
    Acting or speaking out of turn,
    Frequent careless errors or forgetfulness,
    Lack of organization,
    Inability to focus on the task at hand,
    Frequently losing personal items, whether it’s a school book or a favorite toy.
    Each of the common symptoms shown above are so generalized that perhaps every human in the modern world could at one point in their lives have them either individually or all at the same time. ADHD could be the evidence of a culturally created disease. Perhaps the “problem children” have negative behavioral manifestations that are the result of the changing family structure in American and other societies (i.e., in America; increase in single parents, increased divorce rate, increasing poverty, etc.). These children may not have a disease; surely some may have ADHD but not all that are diagnosed with it have it). Maybe these children have behavioral problems as a result of changing parental skills and the educational system need to adjust accordingly. Additional sociological research into this social phenomenon is surely warranted. Is it ethical to medicate these children with a stimulant to adjust their behavior so that they conform to the baseline standard established in our educational system when most children were raised by two parents? When American researchers looked for the presence of ADHD globally– researchers found ADHD but in lesser numbers. This evidence seeking activity reveals that we are pursuing to support our claims that the disease exists and is found elsewhere in the world. Is ADHD found primarily in children of dysfunctional families and what is a dysfunctional family anyway? I would hope that the disease is not a result of pharmaceutical companies’ capitalistic marketing strategies and political lobbying efforts.

  2. This book sounds pretty interesting. I think that society, not just parents, have an extreme obsession with pharmaceuticals. People are so willing to put anything into their body without even questioning the side effects and symptoms, its completely mind boggling. I agree with the author's stance that ritalin may indeed be hurting children more than helping them.