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Dr Hallowell ADHD and mental and cognitive health

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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

Dr. Hallowell’s response to NY Times article on abuse of stimulant meds…

Dr. Hallowell’s Response to New York Times commentary on the abuse of stimulant medications by students who are trying to use the drugs to boost their grades.   Click here for link to article.

I don’t understand why what is arguably the top paper in the country has such a bias against the use of stimulant medication (this is not the first time the paper has attacked stimulants in an unbalanced way). Sure, some students who do not have ADHD find ways to get stimulants to improve their grades. But that is only one part of the story.

The rest of the story is that these medications, which when used properly are among the safest and most effective medications we have, have changed the lives dramatically for the better of millions of children and adults who have ADHD.

When used properly, these medications are as effective as eyeglasses. Not a cure to be sure, any more than eyeglasses are, but a very safe and effective means to improve focus. What’s wrong with that? Would the good people at the NY Times prefer that students with ADHD be forced to squint harder, rather than be able to get their equivalent of eyeglasses? The Times’s position offers a classic example of what one man called “psychopharmacological Calvinism.”

Of course, I favor the proper use of stimulant medication, which means doing all we can to make sure stimulants are prescribed properly and not misused. But it is wrong only to cite and deplore the misuse, while ignoring the tremendous amount of good these medications do every day around the world. They turn failing students into successful students, and underachieving adults into people who soar to the top and contribute mightily to the well being of this world.

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