After years of behavioral problems my 9-year-old son was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed medication. The change in him has been remarkable and his father and I are so relieved because previously he was extremely hyper, could not focus in school, and prone to tantrums.
One of my friends from college (dropped out junior year) noted his change in behavior so I told her about his diagnosis and medication. She was appalled and ever since then has been sending me link after link about how kids are over-diagnosed and medicated for what she calls a “problem that is really just boys being boys.”
I love this gal but I am not interested in her opinion, especially since she is on about five different medications for depression, anxiety, sleeping problems, etc.
How do I tell her to bugger off without actually telling her to bugger off?
Dear Med Mom:
The irony of getting medical advice from a pill-popping college dropout is about as thick as Joe Columbo being shot at the Italian Unity Day Rally or notoriously divisive divorce lawyer Jody Stahancyk starting a “non-profit” called “Child Centered Solutions.”
I agree with your friend that there may be a disturbing trend of prescribing stimulants to boys after slapping a label of ADHD on them. However, I don’t know you or your child and I have no background in medicine. Therefore, I would never be so rude as to assume this is the case for your son.
Because I am on deadline for another article for Venus Williams (yay, me!) I am going to cut to the chase and give you text to copy and paste into your reply email the next time your friend sends you a link like this: Poor Kids on ADHD Drugs.
“Dear Uneducated Addict:
You and I have been friends for a long time, so I gave you the benefit of the doubt when you first began criticizing the choices my husband and I made with our doctor concerning Little Timmy. However, after repeated emails from you on the subject, it’s time for me to voice my reaction:
Whether or not millions of kids are over-diagnosed has nothing to do with Little Timmy’s diagnosis which we believe was absolutely correct. That belief is reinforced daily by the overwhelmingly positive changes in his behavior, his schoolwork and his relationships with others.
I would never presume to push upon you my opinions about the myriad of medications you take daily so please respect my boundaries and leave this be. We will continue to rely on our doctor and our observation of our child to guide our decisions.
I trust this will be the last we communicate on this issue. Now when can you pull yourself out of your Xanax-induced coma and meet me for lunch?
Speaking of that, have you read this: Xanax is Dangerous!
Love, Med Mom.”
In the future I would refrain from sharing your son’s personal medical information with others who do not have an absolute need to know. He may be young but I feel you are violating his privacy by blabbing about his diagnosis.
By the way, for a comprehensive look at this issue, check out this article. ADHD Over-diagnosis and Over-prescribing