- Paperback: 404 pages
- Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (May 4, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553379062
- ISBN-13: 978-0553379068
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,124,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Running on Ritalin: A Physician Reflects on Children, Society, and Performance in a Pill Paperback – May 4, 1999
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"A vitally important topic--and a constructive, hopeful message."
--Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.
"Running on Ritalin describes in vivid detail the performance pressures on America's children, their parents, and teachers that result too often in a prescription for Ritalin--and nothing else."
--Ramon C. Cortines, Executive Director, Pew Network for Standards-Based Reform at Stanford University
"No parent who has ever considered medication use for their child should make the decision without first reading Running on Ritalin."
--Stanley Turecki, M.D., author of The Difficult Child and Normal Children Have Problems, Too
"Balanced and thoughtful, yet it sounds a powerful alarm."
From the Hardcover edition.
From the Inside Flap
In a book as provocative and newsworthy as "Listening to Prozac and "Driven to Distraction, a physician speaks out on America's epidemic level of diagnoses for attention deficit disorder, and on the drug that has become almost a symbol of our times: Ritalin.
In 1997 alone, nearly five million people in the United States were prescribed Ritalin--most of them young children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Use of this drug, which is a stimulant related to amphetamine, has increased by 700 percent since 1990. And this phenomenon appears to be uniquely American: 90 percent of the world's Ritalin is used here. Is this a cause for alarm--or simply the case of an effective treatment meeting a newly discovered need? Important medical advance--or drug of abuse, as some critics claim?
Lawrence Diller has written the definitive book about this crucial debate--evenhanded, wide-ranging, and intimate in its knowledge of families, schools, and the pressures of our speeded-up society. As a pediatrician and family therapist, he has evaluated hundreds of children, adolescents, and adults for ADD, and he offers crucial information and treatment options for anyone struggling with this problem.
"Running on Ritalin also throws a spotlight on some of our most fundamental values and goals. What does Ritalin say about the old conundrums of nature vs. nurture, free will vs. responsibility? Is ADD a disability that entitles us to special treatment? If our best is not good enough, can we find motivation and success in a pill? Is there still a place for childhood in the performance-driven America of the late nineties?
"From the Hardcover edition.
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Homework burden cutting into your videogame time?
Can't sit in your chair during school?
Talk back to your parents?
Rough play with your pre-school friends?
Zone out and play with a toy too long ?
Stick out from the herd ?
After all of the well-written prose, this book is just an attempt to legitimize the increased prevalence of Ritalin. Modern psychiatry is about writing life-long prescriptions, and now they have a way to start as early as age five. Now, if only there were prescription for those pre-school years ...
But the book also prompted me to look up the word "prolix" in the dictionary: this book's prolixity could, unfortunately, actually be some kind of hidden test for the reader's limits of attention.
The publisher stumbled. "Running on Ritaling" too often strolls, and should have been goosed--its arguments should have been sped to the reader -- through both editing and layout.
Its arguments are, in brief, and working from the memory of a voracious reader who ended up only skimming much of the latter part of the book: o ADD is probably overdiagnosed in children, since ADD is ill-defined and since conflict between children and some adults who are important in their lives is common. o Ritalin is used too much, too often. o ADD-type personalities respond to both chemicals (typically) and to environment. (Always, in all ways? Certain: it is big sea in which these fish swim always.) o Be SURE to modify environment to help shape behavior. o Environment: home and school; behavior of mom and dad and teacher. o Chemicals MAY be used, but START there only in severe cases. o Many cases are presented, and many suggestions for changing environment are made in the course of the narrative.
OK. Agreed, already.
By way of contrast: for concise, readily-used, detailed, and tested techniques for changing the environment of children see, however, Russell Barkley's "Taking Charge of ADHD," which was released at about the same time. I suspect that Diller is probably more unfair to Barkley than Barkley is responsible for ignoring concerns such as Diller's. Just a guess. They BOTH seem pretty caught up in beating their drums--and sometimes leave the reader needing a good laugh.
I did feel that the book could have been quite a bit shorter, as the author seemed to repeat himself quite a bit.