Vol. 14, No. 11, September 17, 2001

 The Use of Ritalin in Our Society

Program Chair Jenny Andrews announced that the previously scheduled program had to cancel, but she was happy to introduce Dr. Peter Stadelman, Chiropractor, and one of the newest members of the BBRC. Peter was educated in Minnesota before setting up his practice in Bellevue about five years ago. He chose to discuss the use of Ritalin as it relates to the children in our community, to present facts about the drug, and ask some questions.

“What if Albert Einstein was on Ritalin?” Dr. Stadelman pointed out that many successful and famous people, including Winston Churchill, were diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorders, and many youngsters today are prescribed Ritalin. “Wally is still on Ritalin,” said a voice from the audience.

“We are the leaders of our families” said Dr. Stadelman. “We should know more about ADD as it’s prescribed for children. Ritalin is a stimulant. It has many severe side effects, including stunting of growth, insomnia, skin rashes, and loss of appetite. Of course, not all side effects occur in all children, but there is evidence that the drug makes changes in a child’s chemistry. It’s a highly addictive drug.”

The State of Washington classifies Ritalin as a “Schedule 2 stimulant,” classified along with cocaine and morphine. Dr. Stadelman asked, “Where are we going with the use of Ritalin? $80 million is spent annually on the drug. Once off Ritalin, they may go on other drugs, because of its addiction. This causes anxiety, stress.”

What often follows is criminal behavior. “There are lots of questions we should be asking. Ritalin is a relatively new drug. There are no hard-core diagnostic standards. Schools may even suggest using the drug. There are a whole host of alternatives. Pursuing vigorous health and wellness alternatives is one way to lessen the use of Ritalin. People are looking for different ways to cope with their children’s hyperactivity.”

Peter closed by saying, “The body knows how to run itself. The trick is to remove the interference. For kids, diet plays a role in their health. Use of antibiotics can be an interference; so can air pollution and family dynamics. Pressure the weight of a dime on nerves can change the body’s function.” Peter used the illustration of rubber bands placed on each table. Wrapping the bands around a finger quickly cuts off the supply of blood to the tip. This, he says, is how wrongfully placed pressure can bring about illness, stress, and strange behavior.

The Doctor said to “make your best choice for that child. Make more informed choices and allow kids more options. Find out about ALL the alternatives available. For his presentation, Peter is gifted with 600 pounds of food dedicated in his name to Rotary First Harvest.