Ritalin Nation: Rapid-Fire Culture and the Transformation of Human Consciousness

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Overview

In this illuminating investigation of the epidemic of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and its most widely prescribed treatment, the powerful psychostimulant Ritalin, psychologist Richard DeGrandpre sounds a warning: we may well be failing our children by treating symptoms and not causes with a quick-fix and ultimately unsatisfactory solution.
Drawing on the latest findings from developmental, psychobiological, and social scientific research, DeGrandpre "criticizes America's ...

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Overview

In this illuminating investigation of the epidemic of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and its most widely prescribed treatment, the powerful psychostimulant Ritalin, psychologist Richard DeGrandpre sounds a warning: we may well be failing our children by treating symptoms and not causes with a quick-fix and ultimately unsatisfactory solution.
Drawing on the latest findings from developmental, psychobiological, and social scientific research, DeGrandpre "criticizes America's obsession with performance and quick satisfaction and the country's reliance on Ritalin [as] a performance-enhancing drug" (Natural Health). He cautions that our society-wide rush to more, and faster, stimulation leaves children especially vulnerable to "sensory addictions." Ritalin Nation exposes the shortsightedness of mere biological explanations of ADD and offers some practical guidelines for cultivating a less-hurried existence and promoting a saner, safer community for our children.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393320251
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2000
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard DeGrandpre, Ph.D. is visiting professor of psychology at St. Michael's College in Vermont.

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Table of Contents

Preface
The Hurried Society and Its Experience
Great Misadventures in Time
Speed and Its Transformation of Human
Consciousness
Sensory Addictions: How Culture Manufactures
Disease
Generation Rx
Deliberate Living: Because Patience Comes to Those Who Wait
Notes
Index
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2006

    Excellent commentary on society But he gets the science wrong

    Ritalin Nation makes some excellent commentaries about modern society but really misses the boat when it comes to the science of the brain. The author, DeGrandpre, begins by talking about how we live in a much faster-paced society than our ancestors. Because of this, he says kids and adults have ¿sensory addictions.¿ People no longer slow down they always want to newest thing, like the newest video game, fastest car and latest TV. People no longer know how to be satisfied by what they have. In the old days, people had much stronger ties to communities and their families than they do now. The stronger ties and slower ties to the community have decreased the rate of schizophrenia, suicide and depression in the Mennonite, Quaker and Amish communities. We need to start ¿deliberate living.¿ We need an expectation of an improved living and a means to deliver it. In today¿s society, people are always rushing even so, they always seem to have so much more to do. People need to stop wanting so much. We need to put our kids first and our money second. This advice, IMHO, is excellent. People do need to slow down, figure out what is important, put kids first, and learn to enjoy life rather than rush, rush, rush. However, DeGrandpre gets it completely wrong when it comes to the science of the brain. He claims that ADHD is just a cultural problem. While there is no doubt that cultural changes influence ADHD, and, in many cases, make it worse, the scientific data that ADHD is a brain disease is overwhelming. In 1997, about the time DeGrandpre must have been working on the book, it was well described in the scientific literature that people who have ADHD have problems with their prefrontal cortex. In addition, the scientific literature describes how Ritalin and other ADHD drugs work on the dopamine and other systems involved in attention. He also describes how Ritalin, when taken with the same routes of administration as amphetamine and cocaine, it behaves the same way in the brain. While this is true, the fact is that Ritalin has different effects on the brain precisely because it is taken orally and not snorted or via IV injection. For someone who claims to be a psychopharmacologist, he really got this one wrong. Because Ritalin is taken orally, it takes about 20 to 40 minutes for the drug to work and lasts about 3 or 4 hours. It takes seconds for amphetamines to start working and the effect lasts minutes. It is these time differences that make Ritalin very different from cocaine and amphetamines. DrGrandpre¿s comments about society are excellent. The life-style changes he recommends would benefit most families. I highly recommend them. However, he totally gets it wrong when it comes to science. I can recommend the book for its discussion on culture. But I can¿t recommend it because it gets the science so wrong.

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