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THE LEN LESSER REPORT  

THE LEN LESSER REPORT

 

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ADHD DRUG PRESCRIPTIONS TO ADD SUICIDE RISK WARNINGS

The CBC recently ran the story that: "drugs to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Drugs will come with stronger and clearer warnings on the risks of suicidal thoughts and behaviour according to Health Canada."

"The new warnings are based on reports of suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempts and a very small number of cases, completed suicide."

"There is little evidence to establish that these drugs cause suicidal thoughts and behaviour but it is possible that they may contribute to the risk."

"The ADHD drugs are available by prescription only for adults and children over the age of six years."

" It is the view of Health Canada that the benefits of these drugs in the effective management of ADHD continue to outweigh their risks."

What are the parents of children to do with the warnings of the possible suicide death of their children? It has been my experience of working with thousands of high school age students that the vast majority of those who were labeled as hyperactive were boys whose designation started when they were in the early years of elementary school.

Their teachers for the most part were women who have a distinctly female concept of acceptable behavior in their classes. Check it out there are very, very few male teachers in front of the classes in grades K-6.

Young girls for the most part are more then willing to sit quietly in class and read while the boys are wired to be constantly on the move. The female teachers are naturally inclined to not enjoy the rambunctious boys who can disrupt the placid tone of their classes.

Recently one of my mothers called that her sonís grade two teacher, "Miss Proper" called to complain that her son had stolen cookies from her desk. She wanted a promise of change from the errant student asap or an appointment to the family physician was in order to receive a prescription.

As a history teacher of thirty grade 10 Technical boys I found that they hated to sit still in their seats for 90 long minutes. On Fridays when they had finished their work we would go out to the football field to throw the ball around for 20 minutes.

My nick name was "twenty-five": swearing or late for my class the students would be obliged to do 25 push ups which usually solved the problems. When I was late I too dropped to the floor. At the end of the term most of my toned, tough kids could easily do fifty push ups. The anxiety and anger disappeared and the students after some sweat were more relaxed and ready to learn.

Over my three decades of counselling it is very interesting to find that the vast majority of ADHD students were males. Interesting that young male students can sit still for many hours watching video games with no attention deficit symptoms.

Over my many years of working with thousands of students I recommended only two who would benefit from medications. Rick, who I affectionately nicknamed "the road runner", who suffered from Thyroid problems was helped by his medication. He could easily collect the absentee slips from three floors of the school to the main office in 7 minutes.

Ali who when he visited my office to chat could not sit down, not that he did not want to; it was an impossible challenge that the prescription pills did not help.

Health Canada recommends that: "parents monitor their children and report any distressing thoughts or feelings to your doctor. This applies even after ADHD therapy has stopped"

Parents and their doctors in my opinion are the best qualified to ascertain if their children are hyperactive or just busy needing positive ways to burn off their extra energy. With the new warnings for the prescriptions it is wise for the parents to be cautious at the long range effects of their childrenís health with the use of ADHD medications.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com