The difficult decision to medicate ADHD or not

As big decisions go, how to treat a child diagnosed with ADHD is an exceptionally hard one.

recently found myself at a brunch where every single parent had at least one school-aged child who had been diagnosed with—or was being assessed for—attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD. All but one of these kids were boys, and none of them seemed to me to be particularly “difficult” that Sunday morning. Watching them tumble like a pack of puppies, I wondered aloud if it’s right that we label and medicate kids who, to my (admittedly untrained) eye, look perfectly normal—the picture of robust physical and mental health.

Well, let’s just say I didn’t realize that, by dropping this comment over my Bloody Caesar, I was unknowingly poking an extremely overheated hornet’s nest. For the rest of the day, I listened to parent after parent talk passionately about the reason why they did—or did not—choose to medicate their kids as a result of their condition. All of the arguments these parents presented were utterly compelling and heartbreaking, and in none of the cases was it an easy decision. I found myself identifying with each agonized parent I spoke to, even when they were completely at odds with one another. As big decisions go, how to treat a child diagnosed with ADHD is an exceptionally hard one.

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