Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Ritalin Use on the Rise in Israeli Children

ADD and ADHD misdiagnosis in children has medication use on the rise

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: August 14th, 2014 in Health » Israel

According to a report from Jerusalem Online, there’s been a disturbing 20% increase in the number of children between the ages of 5 to 12 who are taking Ritalin. According to their website, more than 40% of people have been diagnosed with ADD (attention deficit disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and as a result Ritalin, and other central nervous system stimulants, are in higher demand.

Ritalin, which affects chemicals in the brain associated with impulse control and concentration, saw a 46% increase in use with children aged 5-12 in 2013 alone, according to Jerusalem Online. Many parents see the drug as a quick fix to their child’s lack of concentration and seek the diagnosis of ADD or ADHD as opposed to considering other problems their child may be facing.

According to Dr. Michael Davidovich, Child Development Manager of Maccabi Health, as reported by Jerusalem Online, anxiety disorders and learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dyscalculia can all be mistaken for ADD. As such, children who don’t need Ritalin are taking the drug and possibly making their issues worse.

Dr. Davidovich explains that, “if the child does not receive a response to the problem of anxiety, for example, and will not receive psychological treatment, Ritalin will not improve his performance, and can even increase his anxiety.”

Parents with children who suffer from ADD and ADHD should also be aware that medication is only a piece of the solution. Therapy, counseling, and a lifestyle change are all part of helping to treat attention deficit disorder and those considering medicating their children may want to consider other solutions first.

Although the drug can change lives for the better it, like all medication, it comes with a long list of side effects to consider beforehand.

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