After reading the selected critical issue, use the following questions to analyze the issue.

1. What are at least two facts presented by each side of the critical issue? Pro – There were more than a dozen reports of cardiac arrest or heart failure between 1985 and 1997 due to Ritalin use. – In one study, Ritalin use reduced the expected monthly weight gain by 25%. Con

– Stimulants have proven to be effective in improving behavior, school work and social adjustment from 50% to 95%. – For 30% to 45% of children with ADHD, the use of stimulants will improve their behavior but not be normalized.

2. What are at least two opinions presented by each side of the critical issue? Pro

– Children taking stimulants frequently become very depressed or suicidal. – Stimulants can cause a variety of mental abnormalities. Con – It is a myth that the use of stimulants stunts a child’s growth. – There is no research to prove that children taking stimulants are at more of risk for abusing other drugs during their teenage years.

3. What are some of the strengths associated with the Pro side of the issue? What are some of the weaknesses? – The Pro side has a large amount of scientific data and several studies to help support their argument for the negative side effects of stimulant use. The Pro side is very convincing using the many data tables to depict the harm that stimulants can cause to children. They use several different sources to support their argument. – The Pro side does not explore the other side of the argument whatsoever. While they have a substantive amount of data, it is not compared to the number of children who experienced no negative side effects while using stimulants. This would have caused their percentages and numbers to be much smaller.

4. What are some of the strengths associated with the Con side of the issue? What are some of the weaknesses? – The Con side effectively argues that Ritalin and other stimulants are very useful in treating and normalizing children with ADHD. The Con side also explores the other side of the argument by admitting that some children do experience negative side effects. An entire section of the argument is dedicated to discussing the side effects of stimulants. The Con side of the argument is supported by a great deal of research and data. – Weaknesses of the Con side include not using cited sources to support his argument other than his own.

5. How credible were the authors of each argument? Explain your answer. Physician, Peter R. Breggin, was convincing in his argument that stimulants are harmful to children and is overused. He used several sources and data from other research teams to support his argument. Psychologist and ADHD researcher, Russell A. Barkley is very convincing in his argument that Ritalin and other stimulants are important parts of intervention for children with ADHD. It is apparent that he accomplished extensive research to write his book and present this argument.

6. Based on the statements presented in this critical issue, which author do you agree with? Why? This is a difficult question to answer. While I know there are many side effects associated with the use of stimulants, I have witnessed the more positive aspects of using these drugs. Barkley’s extensive research and presentation of his findings is very convincing. That partnered with real life experience using these stimulants, causes me to agree with Barkley.

7. Which side of this critical issue does contemporary research support? Please provide specific examples in your response. The Pro side is more supported in contemporary research. Pro: There are several articles and journals that I have found that support the Pro side of this argument. Ritalin is thought of as the “quick fix” for ADHD. Because it is an amphetamine, Ritalin has a high rate of abuse and concerns some parents, teachers and physicians. Some say that they feel pressured to give or recommend medication to children before they can perform a thorough evaluation of a student. There is also a concern that Ritalin is being prescribed to children too young to solve normal behavioral problems (Huber, 2002).

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