ADHD and the medications prescribed for it are a topic that interests more than 5,000,000-people across the United States.

The National Alliance on Mental Health reported over 1000 patients with ADHD who committed suicide in 2010. But consumers will not find suicide listed on the Food and Drug Administration’s labeling for ADHD medications.

The FDA website does note the possible onset of new symptoms after taking such medications.

“Treatment-emergent psychotic or manic symptoms, e.g. hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania in patients without a history of psychotic illness or mania may caused by stimulants at usual doses,” the FDA website reported.

Still, the $247 billion business of mental health pharmaceutist produces medications like Concerta, Focalin, Strattera, Metadate, Daytrana, and Ritalin.

Pam Nwanguma, a retired Texas educator of 36 years, has seen the effects ADHD medication in junior high and high school students.

“I have had a child whose grandfather whooped the ADHD out of him,” said Nwanguma. “But I have [also] seen the positive effects [of medications] on children,”

According to Nwanguma, the grandfather was a disciplinarian with consistent expectations.

“It was amazing.” Nwanguma said. “Before the end of the year, this child was a model student.”

No one can know the logic behind this grandfather’s decision to take his grandson off ADHD medications. But Nwanguma believes that proper testing could be useful tool in ADHD detection and proper management. Sometimes, she observed, it’s a matter of structure in the home.

Lauren Johnson, a Texas educator, believes medications such as those mentioned above can benefit people diagnosed with ADHD.

“I think medication works,” said Johnson. “In one of my classes, a student was off her meds. [The parents] kept her off until [the next] progress report. She [the student] started taking medicine again [because] her grades had fallen from As to Fs.”

But Johnson has also experienced parents and students who prefer alternative treatments for ADHD.

“One [parent] does a holistic approach with her daughter,” Johnson said. “She swears by it.”

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Paula Justice

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