Have you read this article from The Huffington Post about ADHD? There is a Dr. L Alan Sroufe, a psychology professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota, who stated in an op-ed piece in The New York Times not only that too many kids are on drugs for ADHD, but that they would never have ADHD if their parents had not "derailed" them psychologically!
<excuse me while I clear my throat for a rant>
To this Dr. Sroufe:
I can assure you that my son was not only born with ADHD, along with Autism and sensory issues, but that the only thing I have ever done to alter his psychological state is to do everything I can to get him help, find treatments, go to dr. after dr, until I got diagnoses, answers, and strategies that we can use. He has been getting therapy of one kind or another since he was 4. No matter what therapy we have used, none have changed the fact that he is severely ADHD.
I understand your argument that there are people taking these drugs that shouldn't. But that is not MY fault as a mom! MY child needs it, and to punish or criticize mom's like me out there is like YOU being criticized because one psychologist sucked! If you don't want people who don't need ADHD to have it, then your complaint needs to go to the dr.'s prescribing it. Last I checked, these drugs are not available over the counter. In fact, I have a conference every 3 months with my son's dr. just to get the prescriptions that he writes 3 months at a time. My insurance will only let me fill a prescription every 28 days. I find it impossible to "abuse" this medication for my son unless I was given a prescription that was not needed!
I have a very good relationship with my son's dr. and he communicates regularly with me and our psychologist. Every medication that my son has taken is started at the lowest dose and monitored closely. We have had very few changes in medication, and I credit his dr. for helping me with that. Our dr. truly knows us...likewise, our psychologist truly knows us. Not just one child, but all the children in our house, she knows about interactions, she knows about school, she knows about family dynamics.
This is a much different situation than you describe in your study of women in poverty who have children. Those children are born into an environment where the world is already against them. But to say that those 50% of children with psychiatric issues are not warranted for medication must be false. There is no doubt that half of these children will experience anxiety, depression...that is not the mother's fault.
What would help our children with ADHD and the parents who are doing their best for them, is for dr.'s like you to shut up about it being our fault! We hear that all the time...at restaurants, at grocery stores, in church. Just shut up! Do you have a child with ADHD? Have you ever truly tried to care for a child with ADHD? If you had, you would understand the helplessness a parent feels when seeing their child have a meltdown, knowing that their child is feeling so out of control and their child can't stop. Why would you not want to help a child who feels so desperate? Children don't TRY to misbehave...their misbehavior is a way to show you that something is not right within them. You admit that ADHD has to do with the way a brain is wired...did I wire my son's brain? Well, I'm ADD too, so did MY mom do this to me? I don't think so. Next thing you know, people will be blaming God!
Do more research Dr. Sroufe. Do a home visit with a child that has ADHD. Ask that child's parents when certain behaviors started, how they noticed it, how much work was involved in getting that diagnosis of ADHD. Ask them how many phone calls to the dr. office, to the insurance company, to the teachers at school were involved. Ask them what life is like at their house, whether their child is medicated or not...life is not easy with ADHD. Ask them how medicine affects their child...does it work? how long have they been on it? My son has been on the same medication for 6 years and I wouldn't trade that decision for anything.
For MY son, medication is the only thing that helps. We do therapies for sensory issues and for his autism. Every child is different and not every child can take the same medication. That's because everyone's body is different, their brain is different, so the reactions will be different. Whether you think medication for ADHD is right or wrong for your child, surely we can agree that parents should not be blamed for a child's diagnosis of ADHD!!!