Ritalin Skepticism – A Personal Account

Ritalin: the Drug of Choice?

Ritalin: the Drug of Choice?

By: Racheli Reckles

The invention of Penicillin was heralded as nothing short of a miraculous life-saver against infections. Nowadays, penicillin-based medicines are the go-to antibiotic to deal with systemic infections. Along with its rising popularity have come the ever-increasing abuse of antibiotics. This is in part, I believe, due to a mental phenomenon that modern medicine has created, called “Lazy Patient-itis.”

Instead of using the internet to research natural-based cures for non-life-threatening illnesses, the masses prefer to use it to pollute their brains with horrifying and perverse images of ISIS-sponsored beheadings or see who can speak the most lashon hara on Facebook. Most of us these days run to the doctor diety in the hopes for a quick and easy fix, instead of taking responsibility for our health.

In my opinion, we are seeing the same phenomenon happening with Ritalin and other Schedule II narcotics, in the same class as cocaine, morphine, and amphetamines. Instead of dealing with the issue in a less comfortable way that could ultimately lead to a healthy, balanced, well-functioning humanbeing, many rely on the strictly medical route to resolve the ever-increasing phenomenon of ADHD. This reliance may not exclusively result from a search for a convenient solution; it may result from peer pressure, lack of knowledge, pressure from the pediatrician, and/or self-induced or mother-in-law-induced guilt.

I’m going to share with you my experience, in the hopes that you, as parents, will strongly reconsider the treatment modality you currently have your children on. I am not in any way suggesting that you do what I did, nor am I in any way belittling or minimizing the extent of your child’s issue. The ultimate solutions are for you to decide, using your G-d given innate wisdom, Google, and lots of personal prayer. At the very least, you should be aware that there are options, and don’t let anyone force you into doing anything that goes against your innate wisdom.

Over the past four years, every one of my son’s teachers tried to coerce me to give my son Ritalin. I stubbornly refused, knowing instinctively that it was a matter of foreign environment, not understanding the language, and all of the mental and emotional adjustments that come with moving to a foreign country, that were at the root of his inability to sit still and pay attention in class.

The questions that kept me from giving in were: “What will happen to him when he goes off the Ritalin? How will he be able to stay on the same level of functioning? What if he develops a mental crutch, believing that he can only do well in school if he takes the Ritalin? What if he gets a depression from this drug?”

No one could answer my questions. Finally, by the end of last year, I caved in to the principal’s pressure and agreed to do a psycho-didactic evaluation, which would clarify the problem for me.

We did the evaluation, and I honestly can’t remember a thing the psychologist said, other than – you guessed it – “He needs Ritalin.” He painted such a picture that I was overcome with guilt for having refused it for so many years. When I understood that my son was really suffering in school, I realized I had no choice but to start him on this drug.

The results were immediate, but it didn’t fix everything. For several months I gave him the Ritalin, and dealt with several side effects, such as lack of appetite and difficulty falling asleep. Not a good combination, in my opinion.

One thing led to another, and by a crazy incidence of Divine intervention, we suddenly found ourselves in yet another school. Immediately I realized that this school had a very challenging curriculum, and I wondered if my kids would be able to keep up.

Within a few months, after keeping close tabs on my son’s progress, I decided to stop the Ritalin. I encouraged my son and told him that he didn’t need it; that he could do just fine on his own. It took a few starts and stops, but when I saw that the teacher didn’t give me a substantially different report, I decided to stop it altogether. Amazingly, my son has been performing on the same level as he was previously.

This confirmed a few suspicions:

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From Breslev Israel, here.

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