The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Studies find natural fixes for ADHD to replace use of prescription drugs

For years I have heard countless of students struggling with A.D.H.D.

The first time I witnessed the psychiatric illness was in one of my elementary school classes.

A boy in my homeroom could never sit still. He would rapidly tap his pencil, feet or desk to temporarily stimulate him. If he couldn’t find anything that captured his attention, he would run around the class or openly tell us his stream of conscious thoughts with his mouth running 40 mph.

He became the class clown. He would entertain the class with jokes or absurd actions. The teacher could never reign him in, so she let him be.

Halfway through the year our beloved class clown had left. Gone was the quirky, hyperactive kid who loved to make his peers laugh; a new student had replaced him.

This student was intensely focused and quiet. His mind seemed to be working at full capacity for multiple hours. He was extremely concentrated and rarely conversed with others unless his work was complete.

Ironically enough, the new student was actually our loved troublemaker, but he was now taking Ritalin for his disorder.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is currently the most prevalent psychiatric illness in young people in the U.S. It affects 11 percent of the population, ranging from ages 4-17.

Within the past ten years, treatment and prescription for A.D.H.D. has increased so sharply people fail to realize the seriousness of the disease.

The majority of Americans believe that people who have A.D.H.D. lack focus and attention so they “act out” or engage in impulsive behavior.

However, the reason behind these actions is that the brain is hard-wired for novelty-seeking traits that challenge the brain since everyday life is under-stimulating or uninteresting.

Psychostimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin have been most commonly used to help patients with A.D.H.D. treat their symptoms.

A.D.H.D. patients are introduced to prescription drugs at a very young age and develop a high tolerance for these drugs as they grow older, requiring higher and higher doses.

This large intake of prescription drugs tend to lead to addictive behaviors later on.

For instance, there are a few cases in which alcohol, stronger drugs or sex have acted as vices to stimulate their minds once medicine isn’t an effective option.

Problems of A.D.H.D. do not stop as a child. As an adult, many people have trouble in their careers. In desk jobs, patients cannot be confined to a cubicle and focus on a medial task; they tend to multitask and listen to music and text during work in order to prevent activities from becoming monotonous.

Doctors have found natural ways to fix this attention disorder.

They found that hobbies or tasks patients enjoy doing activate their dopamine receptors which allow them to focus on one specific thing and concentrate without the use of drugs.

For example, a patient of M.D. Richard A. Friedman found that by quitting a desk job and creating a start-up company he was able to relieve himself of his A.D.H.D. symptoms by changing conditions of his work environment and becoming proactive.

Another example of a patient was a woman who could never seem to focus or sit still- she went throughout her life until middle age on high doses of psychostimulants and became depressed.

However, she picked up painting as a pastime and became significantly happier and was able to sit down for hours at a time and paint.

By being able to take a break or paint before engaging in a time-consuming task, she was better able to complete it without having to multitask or not finishing at all.

These natural solutions prove to eliminate symptoms of A.D.H.D. in most cases.

By finding hobbies or passions, these people are able to pursue a career that makes them happy without having their disorder hinder them.

The medical community should invest in trying to actively solve patients’ disorders without high doses of psychostimulants that have negative health impacts in their future.

Doctors should also find more creative ways and work with accommodating educational programs to help young patients be able to learn at school without having to start them on Adderall or Ritalin.

School programs have started to integrate hands-on programs to allow experience-seeking kids to succeed. They cut down classroom sizes and emphasize active learning by being more tactile and crafty also integrating self-paced computer assignments.

The gradual development for natural and creative solutions for A.D.H.D. will benefit young patients across the country.

Students will no longer need expensive and health-damaging prescription drugs that will lead to depression, alcoholism or drug abuse later on in life.

By dealing with a problem proactively at an early age, this will allow patients to grow up in a positive environment that helps them succeed without heavily relying on psychostimulants.

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