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Dr. Hallowell on ADHD, Audra McDonald & Time Magazine

The recent exchange between Tony winner Audra McDonald, who thanked her parents for not medicating their hyperactive child, and Belinda Luscombe, editor-at-large of Time Magazine, whose child was helped by medication, prompts me to summarize my philosophy as a doctor who’s been treating ADHD for over 30 years, and as a man who has the condition himself: Use whatever works, as long as it’s safe and it’s legal.

Thankfully, we have many tools in our toolbox, from physical exercise, to nutritional interventions, to meditation, to coaching, and yes, to medication, as well as a host of newly developing alternative treatments.

It’s best to avoid polarizing positions, as there is no one right way.  Happily, there are many right ways.  When people ask me if I “believe in” medication, my reply is that medication is not a religious principle. It is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of science, of evidence, weighing each decision on a case-by-case basis.

I see people who have ADHD as being blessed with Ferrari engines for brains, but equipped only with bicycle brakes.  The goal is to strengthen those brakes so these kids–and adults, like me, who have it–can become the champions they have it in them to become.

We have many ways to strengthen those brakes.  So, as long as what you use is safe and legal, use whatever works for you or your child!

Have you been following the discussion surrounding medication and ADHD by Audra McDonald and Belinda Luscombe? As someone who has ADHD and is also a parent to children with ADHD, I know intimately well the struggles families can face. Each child and patient is different—medication is the solution for some, while others like Audra can benefit from alternative methods. In the end we must remember, ADHD is not something to be feared—once harnessed it can be a powerful tool for success! http://ti.me/SwA7I5

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