Thursday, September 23, 2010

Calvin on Ritalin

I am a great fan of Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. If you have never read this amazing comic strip I urge you to at least Google a few strips or rent a copy at your local library. It's amazing.

Hobbes is Calvin's imaginary best friend and just happens to be a tiger. Calvin has an incredible imagination which makes it hard for him to stay focused in the mundane world. I mean who wants to go to school when you could be exploring space and fighting evil aliens or dinosaurs, right? Together they get into trouble, have amazing adventures, talk about life, hate/love girls and are simply hilarious in their social satire. Seriously it's a must read.

While going through my endless list of blogs that I follow (there are so many awesome ones out there it's hard to keep up) I found this comic strip that really rang true. I don't know if Bill Watterson is the true author of this strip as neither I or my Wolfman has seen it in the anthology but it makes a good point.

The pill Calvin is most likely referring too is Ritalin or methylphenidate. This is a common pill taken to control hyperactivity and help with impulse control. It's a central nervous system stimulant used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among other things.

As a camp counselor, I have dealt with kids on Ritalin and kids that are taken off Ritalin for the summer. From what I've seen, Ritalin, slows these kids down a great deal; some become lethargic. Hyperactive kids are a handful (I had 10 of them at one time) and I understand the need of calming them down in the context of school but it's still a sad state of affairs.

These graphs provided by and show the alarming rise of Ritalin use not only in the US but across the world. In 2000, one out of every 8 children in the US was taking Ritalin. What does this tell us? That something is wrong with our children? Or that something is wrong with the system? Do all these kids really need to be on Ritalin or are there alternatives that have not been explored because of time or monetary limitations? So many questions left unanswered.

These graphs only show the rise in Ritalin intake in the population but there are other drugs out there like Adderall and Vyvanse that are used to treat ADHD.

What is your take on pills?
If you are in contact with Ritalin, do you continue the treatment during the summer months?

Isn't that food for thought. Who said comic books weren't thought inducing.

Take care!

References: Ritalin. [On line] Adderal.[on line]


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