Essay on Methylphenidate: Calming Chaos or Cultural Genocide?

Essay on Methylphenidate: Calming Chaos or Cultural Genocide?

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Methylphenidate: Calming Chaos or Cultural Genocide?

Energetic, rowdy, animated. These adjectives, often used in describing the routines and milieu of the child, are now not as accurate as they once were. Words such as focused, calm, and attentive can be applied more readily. The differentiating characteristic between these two groups—methylphenidate.

A central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, methylphenidate—more commonly known as Ritalin—is drug prescribed in the treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) ((1)). AD/HD, by definition, is "developmentally inappropriate behavior, including poor attention skills, impulsivity, and hyperactivity" sustained for more than 6 months, appearing usually during childhood2 ((2)). Figures estimate an approximate 3-5% of children are affected by the disorder. Differing views, however, exist about the legitimacy of the majority of these diagnoses. In light of this, the object of this assessment is to examine the bodily and societal implications of methylphenidate.

The need for Ritalin and other CNS stimulants arises from a decreased amount of dopamine—a hormone closely linked to the motivational process((3)). A deficiency of this hormone can lead to difficulty in focusing and agitated behavior, among other traits1 ((1)). Methylphenidate, serving as a stimulant, augments the release of this hormone. The resulting state is similar to that after caffeine, on a milder scale, or amphetamines1 ((1)). This attribute can lead to the somewhat addictive nature of the drug.

"Ritalin, Ritalin, seizure drugs, Ritalin. So goes the rhythm of noontime for Mary Jane Kemper, nurse at Donald McKay School in East Boston, as she trots her tray of brown plastic vials and paper water...

... middle of paper ...


3) For School Nurses, More Than Tending the Sick, New York Times,

4) Wonder Drug Misused,

5) Statistics confirm rise in childhood ADHD and medication use, Education-World statistical information,

6) Medications Reduce Incidence of Substance Abuse Among AD/HD Patients, NIDA journal article,

7) Ritalin Abuse Spreads to Adults The Gazette (Montreal),

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