Topics: Sociology, Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Methylphenidate Pages: 11 (3684 words) Published: September 7, 2013
Is there a Sociological Correlation
Between ADHD and Ritalin in School Age Children?
Literature Review
Jane Doe

Submitted to XYZ
Professor of Sociology, MCC
This study focuses on the increasing diagnosis of Attention deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD] in children today and, the use of Ritalin for its treatment. Through a literature review with a focus on various guidelines used to diagnose ADHD the study will show a relation between ADHD and, its diagnosis in school age children with relation to changing family structure and, society. Casual factors like parents, educators and, technological innovations will be identified in relation to the increasing diagnosis of ADHD. Using peer reviews to validate the casual socio-cultural factors to the increasing diagnosis of ADHD and use of Ritalin; this paper will show that sociological changes rather than biological findings are a major contributor to the diagnosis of the disease.

Is there a Sociological Correlation between ADHD and Ritalin in School Age Children? Introduction
The past few decades have made society fast paced and, complex. The family structure has changed beyond recognition. Rising divorce rates, a growing number of single parent homes and, foster care families have created a void for children, as they struggle to come to terms with the disconnection between themselves and, the adults in their lives. Economic conditions that force budget cuts in school; creating a scarcity of resources for students is further aggravating the situation. Technological innovation has brought on a new trend of communication which is impersonal, causing children to be left alone more. These socio-cultural stressors are causing stress in the children, leading to a misdiagnosis of ADHD. The facts is sociological factors have given rise to an alarming trend of an increase in the number of children being diagnosed with ADHD and, treated with the drug Ritalin. Children are being diagnosed with deviant and, hyperactive behavior. The treatment favored is medication, rather than behavioral intervention, so as to deter the unacceptable behavior. Parents find it more satisfying and, acceptable to believe their children have a medical problem, rather than finding an underlying cause of deviance. The current decade has seen the highest rate of use of Ritalin, without long term studies to assess the problem or find the underlying causes for the existence of the problem. The problem is millions of children within the US are being prescribed psychotropic drugs, with the drug of choice being Ritalin. The increase can be seen in comparison to the fact that in 1970, only about 150,000 students took Ritalin. The seriousness of the problem should be considered when we realize that Ritalin is classified as a Class II substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency- in the same class as cocaine. It has been estimated by the American Academy of Pediatrics that about 3.8 million school children, most of them males, are diagnosed with ADHD and, treated with Ritalin. This number does not include preschoolers between the ages 2 and 4 [Zito, 2000]. Advocates of the disease suggests that children once prescribed with Ritalin focus better and, deal better with the symptoms of ADHD. However, the side effects of the drug have yet, to be determined after long and short term usage. Is prescribing Ritalin the answer? There was a report in the Washington Times Insight Magazine which linked high school shootings to the use of psychotropic drugs like Ritalin and Prozac. It gave a couple of examples one of which was: The shooting spree of Springfield, Oregon in 1998, where a 14-year-old Kip Kinkle being treated with Ritalin and, Prozac killed his parents, two students and, injured 22 others. So the question we have to ask: Is Ritalin helping children with ADHD or are we treating a disease with a drug which is more dangerous than the disease? [Zito, 2000] Then we come to the next scenario....

References: American Psychiatric Association [1994] Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition, revised (DSM-III-R), Washington, D.C.
Armstrong, T. [1995] The Myth of the A.D.D. Child, Dutton, New York.
Biederman J, et al [1998] Diagnostic continuity between child and adolescent ADHD: findings from a longitudinal clinical sample. Journal American Academy Child Adolescent Psychiatry 37:305-13.
DeGrandpre, R. [1999] Ritalin Nation, W.W. Norton & Co., New York.
Olfman, S [2003] All Work and No Play…How Educational Reforms Are Harming Our Preschoolers. Westport Ct.: Praeger, 2003. Retrieved:
Stein, M.T [2001] Challenging Case: Family relationships and Issues. ADHD, Divorces and Parental Disagreement about the Diagnosis and Treatment. Pediatrics: 867-872
Suriano, Robyn, “As kids get put on pills, critics fret,” Orlando Sentinel, Nov. 26, 2001.
Taylor, J.F. [1994] Helping Your Hyperactive/Attention Deficit Child, Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA.
Zito, J.M, [2000] “Trends in the Prescribing of Psychotropic Medications to Preschoolers,” Journal of the American Medical Association. Vol. 283, No. 8, pp. 1025-30.
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