Articles of Interest:
An AD/HD Mother's Resolutions
Study to examine use of ritalin on young children
WSB-Channel 2 News Interview with Carol Sadler, Volunteer CHADD Coordinator
By Diana Davis, Channel 2 Action News health reporter
May 9, 2002 -- Ritalin. The very mention of this medication is enough to raise controversy. Today the American Medical Association announced a new nationwide study on the use of Ritalin in very young children -- those between three and five-and-a-half years old. For kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), problems can already be turning up. If they have not been treated, it can cause a lifetime of trouble.
Yet, experts are understandably concerned about using powerful drugs like Ritalin in children under the age of five. That's the reason for the new study.
She's now a model mom and community volunteer, working on a project to save native Georgia plants. But from the time she was a toddler, 41-year-old Carol Sadler of Woodstock had serious learning and behavior problems. They only got worse. "I remember having a lot of trouble in school," she said. "I seemed to stay in trouble a lot."
It was ADHD, but it went undiagnosed and untreated until Carol's own daughter developed the same problems. "Looking at my daughter, we really had a lot of problems with her when she was three, four years old, and of course I didn't know at that time what it was," Sadler said.
The child psychiatrist who helped the Sadler's sees it all the time. "They'll say the kid was experiencing problems from the first time they brought him home from the hospital," said Dr. Michael Banov. "Irritable, colicky babies -- kind of hyperactive, restless babies. But, of course, there are so many babies who are born like that and perfectly normal you can't really diagnose something at that young an age."
But missing the diagnosis or lack of proper treatment can cause a lifetime of problems like Carol's. That's why a team of Columbia University psychiatrists together with the National Institute of Mental Health and the American Medical Association have just started a national study to test the safety and effectiveness of Ritalin to treat very young kids with ADHD. "And, of course, what the AMA is recommending and what we currently recommend is that medication only be used at this very young age for extreme cases that are very severe," said Dr. Banov.
Experts say many children improve without medication when both parents and children get training on how to improve behavior.
Originally appeared online at http://www.accessatlanta.com/ (no longer available)