Kids with ADHD Say Stimulant Drugs are Effective

December 4, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. stimulant (n.) [stim-yuh-luh nt] – drugs, food or drink that increase the activity of a person
Example: He takes stimulants to stay awake and be able to do his work.

2. hyperactivity (n.) [hahy-per-ak-tiv-i-tee] – condition characterized by being too active
Example: Children with hyperactivity disorder find it hard to sit still.

3. attention span (n.) [uh-ten-shuh n; uh-ten-shuhn span] – the length of time a person can focus on a particular subject
Example: She cannot concentrate on the professor’s lecture because she has low attention span

4. impulsive (adj.) [im-puhl-siv] – done without careful thinking
Example Impulsive buying of clothes and shoes may lead to debts.

5. ethical (adj.) [eth-i-kuh l] – in harmony with the principles of being right or wrong
Example: Experimenting on animals has ethical issues. 

Read the text below.

A new research reveals that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) generally feel the positive effects of stimulant drugs.

ADHD is one of the most common mental disorders among the children in US, affecting an average of 9 percent of children aged five to seventeen each year. In Britain, around 5-10% of children have ADHD. Those with ADHD suffer from low attention span, hyperactivity and difficulty in controlling aggressive behavior.

Without regular treatment and medication, children with ADHD can be disruptive in school and may engage in impulsive behaviors. One popular drug used to treat ADHD is Ritalin, sold by Swiss company Novartis.

However, many people have ethical problems with giving stimulant drugs to children, saying these drugs turn children into “robots.” Critics say the drugs reduce children’s ability to think such that they will just accept control from others.

But Ilina Singh, a biomedical ethicist from King's College London, says it is better to ask the children themselves about how medication affects them.

In her study, she interviewed children from 151 families in the UK and in the US.

The results of the study showed that the negative claims about the stimulant drugs may not be true. The children said that the medications not only help control their behaviors but also help them make better decisions.

According to Singh, experts often debate on how to properly treat ADHD, but the opinions of children who have ADHD are ignored. Singh adds that the research does not promote drugs, but offers another way of looking at stimulant drugs and their effects on children.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         If the children say the drugs are effective, do you think this is enough to continue giving them stimulants? Why or why not?
·         What do you think is more important, the point of view of patients, or the point of view of doctors and experts? Why?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think ethical standards are important in medical practice?
·         What do you think will happen if doctors ignore ethical standards when treating patients?


December 4, 2012