BBC OnePanorama


Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 11:20 GMT
What you've said
Craig and his dad at a theme park
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where there are several threads from parents of children with ADHD.

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Read Shelley Jofre's response to your comments

There is absolutely no proven biological cause for ADHD but the use of drugs is based on the misconception that organic causes of the condition can be fixed by the drugs. The frightening truth is that ADHD drugs have harmed and killed many children.
In a similar scandal to the Seroxat issue that was raised by Panorama , The MHRA will not allow data relating to the known risk of suicide for children on the ADHD drug Strattera to be revealed.
I think this is outrageous !
Tom Davies, Berkshire

I was very disappointed that a programme such as panorama could portray a condition in such a biased way, it did nothing but scaremonger. I have a child who has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and aspergers syndrome, my decision to try medication was made based on academic and statistical information as well as opinions from experts and people with personal experience. Unfortunately, some people may not know where to get such information and base their decisions on one sided tripe doled out by people that should know better. When I discussed medication with a child psychiatrist possible side affects were highlighted, as was the fact that it was not a cure. It was also made abundantly clear that medication was only part of treatment as was behaviour management and involvement from services. It was never claimed, at any point, that Ritalin would be a miracle cure. Shame on you BBC.
lynn bellingham, Glasgow Scotland

I was pleased to see the folly of routine drug prescriptions exposed but disappointed not to hear any positive coverage of treatments that really DO work. The Autism Research Institute has been investigating drug-free interventions for years that are healing children across the autistic spectrum every day all over the world. Being drug-free, these interventions receive little or no research funding and are dismissed by the medical profession (who, themselves, are in the pockets of the big pharma companies). I would love to see Panorama cover the scandal of the millions of autistic children who could be recovered if only doctors would listen.
Tim Collins, Stoke, UK

At the time the MTA study was published there were plenty of people pointing out the problems with the study. The main stream psychiatry profession completely ignored them. A lesson from this affair is that the general public, and the media, should be much more sceptical of psychiatric researchers when they discuss "the latest study."
Jonathan Leo, USA

Firstly I think Craig needs to be taken of his medication if its not working, he needs to know that his parents are there for him and needs a lot of support and therapy to help him with his ADHD he is crying out for help in the only way he knows how, he has built up a lot of anxiety and anger because he has never had any boundaries.
I have a child that is ADHD and had been on the 36mg concerta until I took her of it as I found she was too much into herself and too quiet, she was of it for 4 months but noticed her concentration was very poor and her homework was impossible for her to complete, both my husband and myself discussed this and thought it better to give a trial run on the new 27mg that had just came out ,six weeks in and she is completing her homework and her schooling has come on her behaviour can be managed. I would love for her to be able to do without medication as I'm not a great lover of medication long term but where would I go and what help would I get for her.
School and parents need to be able to work together using school/home programme and use the classroom assistants for what they are employed for and not for every other job what the school gives them. Children need to be listened to as well and not ignored.
catherine mcardle, belfast

Ill-informed, one sided rubbish. Thousands of published papers over the last 20 years showing clear benefits of methylphenidate and the program chose to talk about one piece of research and speak to a couple of families. Did the same program maker do a piece on MMR?
Anthony Crabb, Dorking, Surrey

I didn't like the tone & implication behind the repeated comment about the number of prescriptions being written by GPs for Ritalin and other drugs. I am a GP, I do prescribe Ritalin but only on the advice of a child psychiatrist or paediatrician after they have carried out their assessments. The implication of the presenter was that GPs are haphazardly prescribing these drugs when there isn't necessarily evidence to support them ie. yet more GP bashing by the media that we are not doing our job properly & just clearing our consulting rooms by prescribing expensive, possibly ineffective & harmful drugs. These is not my experience at all amongst the hardworking, dedicated GP community that I know. In my experience ADHD is often about parenting issues, in my area there are no parenting courses currently available, there are few options for managing these often very challenging youngsters. It is frustrating & as GPs we try our best to support these families. Please stop running us down all the time.
Rachel Firth, Amersham, Bucks

My eldest son was diagnosed with ADHD from the age of 7 and was prescribed Ritalin. I felt the programme was very negative in relation to medication. My son has found that using Ritalin has helped him learn in the mainstream education system and achieve academic results. He has also grown into a well balanced young person with very good communication and social skills. He is 18 now and in his first year at Southampton University. He continues to take Concerta because he feels it benefits him whilst studying.
The Panorama programme did mention, but did not put much emphasis on Craig's early attachment difficulties within his family which possibly may be the main underlying cause of his oppositional and anti social behaviours. Attachment difficulties and other trauma's a child experiences often can present behaviours similar to ADHD. In these circumstances a better initial assessment with details of family history may shed light on negative behaviours that can better be addressed within a therapeutic environment.
Ms Chamberlain, Brighton

I was very disappointed with the show. My son has adhd and asd and he has been on medication since he was six and it has been a great help as he has just sat his 11 plus and with out the medication there would of been no way he could of done that. Their hasn't been any problem with his height as one of the doctors said in the show. My daughter of six also has adhd and is not on medication yet but when it comes to her taking it there wont be a problem as it has worked for my son. It would of been nice to see someone that is on medication and doing ok as you gave was the bad things about taking the medication, what about the children who do take it and are happy and doing well at school. I hope the programme has put any parents of putting their child on medication.
lynn, gillingham kent

A very good programme with many similarities to my own son and the problems he has dealt with in his life coping with ADHD or not!!. School would not allow him to attend if he did not take his Ritalin and I now know that Ritalin was a waste of time. He is now 23 unemployed, depressed and dependant on cannabis, his excuse being that cannabis keeps him level. We have been to the GP who referred him to a psychiatrist who would not help him until he has come off the cannabis. I am frightened for his future as he is a lonely young man who doesn't know where his life is going or what the future holds. The only friends he has are other users of cannabis and drugs. Where is the help out there when they reach adulthood?????? He was discharged at 16 as he didn't come under children's services anymore.
These people who blame bad parents can look at our family and see that his older brother is courting, purchasing his own home, is a warehouse manager and 24 years old. I empathise with all parents of children with ADHD and truly believe it is a problem that is not being dealt with as the Dr said if it was cancer it gets dealt with by the NHS, why not ADHD???? it is still an illness is it not??????
Anyway thank you for giving me the change to vent some of my frustrations even though I know you are unable to help.
A very frustrated and weary mother.
PS Has there been any studies done in the correlation between cannabis/illegal drug use and ADHD sufferers???
Mrs Rice, Brighouse. UK

Why can't we just call this condition what it is - naughtiness. Did you not notice the similarity in that both children featured lost their fathers influence early in their development? By 14 it is very late to start dealing with unacceptable behaviour which has not been corrected earlier, but as the programme showed, these kids need help (including an understanding of boundaries and consequences of bad behaviour), NOT drugs.
John Howell, Swansea UK

How much research has been done on what happens to ADHD people in adulthood, much is said about children, but life is tough for partners who are with sufferers of this condition, perhaps a programme on adults would be beneficial to a lot of people
Barbara Padley, Market Harborough, England

Shocked and very disturbed at the programme as no reporting on those who may have experienced a positive slant on the use of the medication was provided. I really hope there is a positive side as I am now in confusion and totally scared by what your reporting disclosed. A balanced view was not presented which may create alarmist reactions. Our eight year old has been on the said medication since March this year - the difference in her attention at school, her interactions and general behaviour is dramatic. Before starting the tablets she said 'oh, I hope this works Mummy'. So now takes it gladly as she really understands and appreciates the difference it has made to the quality of her life. I can say without doubt that it has improved things immensely, and made a huge difference also to our lives and her ability to actually learn, make friends and enjoy school.
We are now left in a dilemma - are we now causing her major problems in the future? Was it wrong for her consultant t to prescribe them? Why were no British consultants interviewed? Was this drug introduced solely on the research undertaken in the USA? I thought we had British Standards and testing? I feel the one sided reporting of this programme may have caused untold damage to those parents who actually found the use of this medication made everyone's life better. We obviously now have to review and see the doctor ASAP - as I imagine many others in our position will now be doing.
Thank you for not only making us have to go back to square one, but also having to live with the knowledge that we may have caused untold damage to our precious child!
ruth gould, Liverpool UK

My son was diagnosed at 5 and is now 13. He is on concerta, was on Ritalin, I know he would struggle without the tablets, relationships would be extremely difficult, and he would find it impossible to remain in mainstream school. He is doing really well, loves school and has relatively good self-esteem and confidence. However life is always a roller coaster with him, and needs constant work and dedication. It is extremely difficult to remain calm, but remaining calm, and a hug and kiss morning and night ensure no matter what he is loved, and we try to work together, and not against each other. I am a single parent, and I don't always do things right, but it is important to help and support and constantly, gently remind him to stop and think about things, and praise him and enjoy it when he is settled. I cant imagine what his life would be like, without his medication.
Sonya Slaine, cookstown

What a shocking indictment of the British NHS. I have an ADHD child and drug only treatment has never been recommended by any doctor I have consulted or literature I have read in 17 years. ¿Drugs only' are just not effective, drugs help a child control their behaviour so that the Behavioural Management Techniques can be learnt, not magically make the child well behaved.
What the programme has showed is that the NHS and many doctors are woefully ignorant of the condition, as are the majority of teachers in the British education system. The only people who suffer are the children and parents with little or no support, compare this to the amount of support provided by the US medical and education establishments, where ADHD is much more understood.
Sue Laverick, Spain

Whilst clinical psychologists are very useful in the diagnosis and management of ADHD as well as other difficulties they can not prescribe medications. People need to be aware that there are many inaccuracies in the comments made about this programme, adding to the confusion and poor advice
N, London

A very informative programme, sat crying for the family, hoping that my child does not go down that track. My son was on Ritalin for about 5 years, is now on atomoxetine(strattera). We now when he has not taken medication, he is more difficult with his behaviour, run riot around the house and generally disrupts everything. He attends a special school and they are very supportive. His specialist is very good so cannot fault her, but he has recently been diagnosed with epilepsy, could this be a lasting result of taking Ritalin or a condition that was miss diagnosed earlier on . Hope that other people leave comments on conditions their child have developed after coming off Ritalin.
allison bird, wolverhampton, england

My son has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and ASD and I agree with Panorama that giving them drugs is a waste of time they need support and educating on how to deal with the problem, and as parents how to learn to diffuse a child before it escalates. I have been asked on numerous occasions to put my son on Ritalin (he's6) and I have flatly refused, I will never go down this route.
Karen Bassett, Birmingham

Medication is only one part of the help that should be offered to children like Craig. Counselling, therapies such as speech therapy, anger management etc AND, above all else, support for the parents all play a major part in providing a cohesive package of support.
My son has ADHD/Aspergers and is doing reasonably well due to a combination of the above.
Frustratingly, I had to learn about the condition myself and use that as leverage to obtain the necessary help (and to tailor my parenting approach to help him). Children like Craig have been let down by a system which DOES NOT make such a tailored package of support available. This failure is much more responsible for letting these children down - it is a very simplistic and ignorant approach to simply blame the medication.
Graham Ferguson, East Lothian

It is important to point out that Ritalin (Methyl-phenihydrate) is NOT a trycilic/SSRI type medication and is NOT addictive at regular dosage levels.
Children can easily stop taking Ritalin without the scary withdrawal symptoms mentioned by the well-meaning Euphoria.
My son does not take Ritalin at weekends or during school holidays as it is not needed. He suffer NO ill-effects.
Graham Ferguson, East Lothian

I congratulate the Panorama Team on this programme. I have an adopted four year old child with disorganised attachment disorder which only came to light a year after he was placed with us.
These children appear to have almost the same problems, disruptive, can be very hyper aroused, aggressive, poor concentration skills and unpredictable behaviour. We have just requested a day report book from school because in our own case it is crucial what maybe happening at school or via versa has a direct correlation as to how the day will unfold. Often children maybe being misdiagnosed with ADHD at present rather than an attachment issue when in fact it maybe due to a change in their family and home situation which may not have been taken into consideration. I would have liked to know about what work they do on the summer camp of Professor Pelham as it would certainly help us!
Katherine Bowen, Tenby

I was extremely shocked that such a supposedly factual program could broadcast such a sensitive and real condition to lots of families in such a biased, basic, and unfactual way. Ritalin and similar medications are not prescribed by GPs but by Clinical psychologists after months, and sometimes years of assessment and intervention. Drugs have never been sold as a cure or a solution, but as something to use in conjunction to other therapies. ADHD is a chemical imbalance in the brain, drugs help the chemical imbalance, when the subject is then focused it is only at that point that behavioural strategies can be truly taught and absorbed.
All you have done is fuelled the already raging fire about the 'realness' of ADHD - ADHD is real - there are families out there suffering, and drug intervention has saved many of these. I hope any pray that you have not scared off a load of vulnerable, (and in need of real help and advice), parents who will now fail to give their children the essential help they need. I just thank my lucky stars that I am one of the parents who has invested years and money to truly understand ADHD, Medication and other therapies and see your program for what it is - negative media hype - ignoring the bigger picture to boost ratings.
Hazel, South London

I watched last night's Panorama with interest. I work within a Child Development Centre and we have a high proportion of children who are diagnosed with ADHD. Whilst medication has its place in the treatment of this syndrome, so also has professional behavioural management support and psychological treatment. Craig was clearly crying out for professional psychological assessment and support but we simply do not have sufficient psychologists/psychiatrists to support all these children. I do not feel this aspect of ADHD treatment was put across during the programme, simply medication and drugs. Both have their place in management of this syndrome.
Pippa Russell, Shoreham by Sea, West Sussex

This recent programme really got to me as a mother of a son who is nine with adhd. I totally agree that medication is only the start of helping children cope with adhd and there is not enough behaviour therapy to help them deal with there adhd ,the meds only control there hyperactivity how they learn and process there behaviour is totally different to how others do ,to me the psychologist, docs etc have always looked at adhd as a behaviour problem that the parents should deal with. If all adhd children were given behaviour therapy from when they were first started displaying symptoms it would make it a hell of a lot easier for the child to cope with adhd .
mrs hopper, south shields uk

I noted on the programme that Craig was drinking Coca Cola and that diet which is crucial in cases like this was not mentioned on the programme. Coca Cola is a chemical drink and if he has a leaky gut those chemicals will go straight to his brain. A combination of a diet with the advice of a biomedical clinician together with therapy would help Craig more than anything else.
Eugenie C Smith (Mrs), Essex, United Kingdom

I was really interested to see the one activity Craig taking part in on the your Panorama programme on ADHD was fishing. I head up a national charity 'Get Hooked on Fishing' where we deliver training programmes for young people using fishing as the focus of our activities. We have a lot of anecdotal evidence of youngsters who can't be still for 5 minutes spending hours on a bankside fishing suggesting that it is an excellent engagement tool for youngsters with ADHD. We have started to log the evidence more formally and are working in partnership with a social research company - Substance Coop to provide the evaluation we need to prove its impact.
Anne Moyle, Northumberland, England

I am yet again feeling in despair by media pouring scorn on this terrible disability. Where do we as a family go now. Thank god we chose to view your programme before letting our 11 yr old watch. It is no wonder children are being driven to suicide with a society that keeps discrediting their affliction. The frustration I feel as a parent is nothing to what a person with ADHD feels. I felt you needed to back up this programme with anything else we need to do to help our kids get the help and understanding they need. My son is a star, he attends an amazing state school on Derbyshire, I am very proud of him. I want society to understand also.
Clare Vickers, Ripley Derby

This was an interesting programme, I am currently studying Childhood Studies and my personal subject interest is ADHD and the cause and effect of Ritalin. I found the evidence regarding the ongoing use of Ritalin interesting and I have to say hardly surprising. A family member has been diagnosed with ADHD and has never had Ritalin due to the fact that he was diagnosed at the age of 16 and therefore to old to receive medication. The tactics our family have used to control his outbursts of anger are to remain calm and let him believe he has control. In the main this has worked and he has significantly calmed since we have used these tactics and ensure we listen to how he is feeling and read his moods. This report was good although biased to the young girl who seemed to control her own life and when she came off the medication. Well done to her. But what I would like to know is how is Panorama going to help Craig and his family after this report and what will you do to help Craig gain control of his life again? Good Luck to Craig and his family. A sympathetic viewer.
Emily Pugh, Glosssop, England

I found this programme really disappointing. I think it was far too one-sided, mostly focusing on the negative aspects of Ritalin/Concerta. I think it was just scare-mongering and not helpful at all. The only thing i found of use was hearing that NICE are working on guidelines for the management of ADHD. I am a parent of a 9 year old with ADHD (and also Autism)and Concerta has meant that he can focus at school and actually learn. Surely this will benefit him in the long run? Without Concerta he cannot sit still or focus long enough to learn ANYTHING at school and he is a highly intelligent child. ADHD causes the child to be impulsive, posing a risk of danger to themselves and others. Concerta helps to control this impulsiveness. Overall, i think this programme was a complete waste of time. It was all based on the "research" of ONE American Doctor, with whom i would love to challenge to "cure" my son without the need for medication.
helen coates, welwyn garden city, herts

my son got diagnosed 2yrs ago, and on medication, i find it has improved him and is a lot better at school, yes i didn't want him to take the med but if it weren't for the med he wouldn't be in his school today and wouldn't get the support he needs, I do feel that the tablets are effective for him and as for a.d.h.d not being real i suffered for years, without help, and people saying that i was naughty, or my parents were not a good role model. I think parents could do with a lot more help to understand and have a lot more support for the child and the family as a unit, as the other children suffer as well
nicola, swansea

"What children need is our understanding. What they don't need is to be drugged." So a child with Meningitis needs understanding not drugs, then? Many medical conditions must be treated by drugs if there is to be any hope of success. That includes medical conditions of the brain.
Andrew Shore, Salisbury, Wiltshire

I am 33. I suffer from ADDHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Aspergers Syndrome. I have never had any medication for any of my disabilities. The only thing I have done every day since I was 22 is Tai Chi. I am now a Chartered Accountant. There is definitely a link between Tai Chi and the various difficulties I have. Medication is not the best course of action.
Ben Lee, Birmingham. west Midlands

A very good programme about Craig with adhd . is was well researched by the programme makers i have got a son who has adhd and that is exactly how my son behaves
suzanne osborne, swansea

ADHD makes people "zombified" eh? ADHD makes people not themselves? I was diagnosed age 6 and I've been waiting YEARS for somebody to say something like that on national TV. Well done, Yaz, very well done indeed.
Ian Hare, Wilmslow, UK

While watching a programme that brings ADHD to the attention of the general public I do have a problem with watching the children drinking full sugar drinks straight from the litre coca cola bottle! I was a problem child yet have a child who is well behaved, nice, polite, above average at school and well adjusted child you could meet, and all this from a single parent, myself. I was a problem child due to rubbish that I was allowed to eat and drink, our bodies are not designed to process the sugars and fats that today's children enjoy. They do not need them, they causes false highs and lows. Why are these issues not addressed? I have raised my son on a diet filled with healthy eating, with some sugar and the occasional fizzy drink, he doesn't know any different.. he certainly does not feel left out and prefers water to pop, multi grain bread to white and swears by asparagus and artichokes. I would love to see a programme that takes children with ADHD and provides a better diet just to see if it works¿. Even for one of them. Thank you for reading, Rachel
Rachel Graham, Nottingham UK

I sympathise with the parents i have 2 children with ADHD 1 is 24 and the other is 13 and it is very hard to get any help from anywhere because they state "It's a mental health issue" and that medication is the best form of treatment.
Ms Susan Round, Welling Kent

I had been taking Ritalin (concerta and equsim) and it has turned my life around, i sometimes feel that people get away with stuff because of Adhd when you just need to be treated like everyone else
Adam , Surrey

These were not run of the mill ADHD cases, surely? And what was Craig doing drinking Coca Cola??? That is a definite NO!!!!
russ hurley, hereford

Shockingly lazy journalism. The evidence we were given was from one study and the case histories of two young people for whom (it seemed to me) ADHD was the least of their problems. Both had family/emotional difficulties when they were at a very vulnerable age and there was little said about the schools the older girl had gone to. My son has ADHD and is on Ritalin but this has never been sold to me as a miracle cure. I have always been to that is one of many strategies that should be used to help my son. Yet again Panorama has sensationalised and simplified a very complex issue.

You misrepresented the truth by stating that thousands of medications for ADHD are prescribed by GPs. They are not. They are prescribed by Child Psychiatrists and ISSUED thereafter by GPs. There is a big difference between these statements as according to your version, it is GP's responsibility that ADHD is overpresribed and even over diagnosed. You see, many times I have told families that their child has not ADHD and I offered them a referral to parenting skill courses but when they are eventually seen by a psychiatrist, they get labelled as ADHD and given methylphenidate. It is a pity that you only focused on the drugs used and nil else such as the diagnosis itself, what would take to change the present system etc. I can guess that you will get a large amount of nasty messages from angry parents. You must admit that thirty minutes is nothing to tackle this subject. Good luck
GP, Dr Herrero, doncaster, uk

This programme is a true reflection of how life is for ADHD kids, their families and teachers in the UK. There is no support from the NHS in the form of any type of therapy or advice. I had to seek advice from a charitable organisation, even the local education authority recommended this organisation!
The local authority also informed one of his teachers that 'as soon as they start taking the tablets it will all go away' when he sought advice. Its a shambles - i teach in a school for 14 -16 yr old who are classed as having emotional and behavioural difficulties and guess that the majority of them would be classed as having ADHD and receive no help or advice. You might want to ask the teacher training agency how much time is spent in teacher training on managing behaviour.
Susan Halton, Westhoughton, UK

Thank you very much for covering this subject matter. My sister who lives in Canada has a 10 year old son who has been diagnosed with ADHD. The doctors want to prescribe drugs but my sister is adamant against it. Because she is of the opinion that drugs must only be the absolute last resort. I have sent her the link to this programme and hope it helps her get an understanding of what other countries are doing about their hyperactive children. Additionally I am approaching 50 and had always said I would change my career to something more altruistic. After watching this programme I am considering becoming a psychologist that specialises in working with children.
So keep up the good work:-)
Sincerely, Kimikawa
Kimikawa De Castro, London

It seems to me that all people with mental illness of any kind ADHD or Depression, to name a few are just given Drugs as a kind of so called fix. when nearly everyone needs proper emotional and behaviour therapy and help but there are not enough people willing to help and we can't find the money to fund this kind of help. so people get palmed of with drugs and left to it. lots of people then spend there entire lives as kind of emotionless numb drugged zombies. it's a great shame it's happening to people at younger ages like poor Craig. The whole system needs rethinking, Britain is a very depressed country thousands here suffering and the figures are rising. I don't think that any government or medical body will address this or even attempt to do anything about it. The lucky few will get the help they need.
Jessica Mackie, Corsham England

Tonight's programme (12/11/07) really enforced the view that myself and my Husband already had with regards to my Stepson being prescribed medication for his behaviour. We are already of the opinion that despite his Mother bleating to the Doctor that she can't control my Stepsons behaviour, the main concern is really about how he's parented. Her parenting skills are (for want of better words) non existent. In our home my Stepson is a fantastic, caring, polite and well behaved little boy, yet whilst in his Mothers care he's like a totally different child who swears, has outbursts of emotional and physical anger and he physically pushes his Mother about.
We have always given clear boundaries and guidelines as to what behaviour is acceptable and what behaviour is not and we strongly believe that those boundaries and guidelines are respected hugely by my Stepson in our home. We're not perfect parents but we do know that all children need to have consistency, boundaries/guidelines and some firmness in their lives to help keep them on the straight and narrow and they need to made aware that there will always be consequences in life for bad behaviour. My Stepson has actually called me a 'cool step mum' because I tell him off when it's needed and when asked how he worked that out his reply was " I know you tell me off because you care about me and you want me to learn right from wrong". Those words from the mouth of a 10 year old little boy whose Mother and Doctor deem that the most appropriate way of `controlling` him is to give medication instead of correct advice and parenting skills. No wonder the Health Care system never seems to have enough money when so much is being wasted on drugging kids with no real need for it.
Lisa, Dorset , England

What a brilliant programme it confirmed everything we had thought about the medication and related well to our family life. We will now be taking steps to fight to get our son the behaviour / anger management he needs to live an independent and happy adult life.
Georgina Deviell, Sittingbourne Kent

I have a son with ADHD for whom I have sought medical and psychiatric support. The combination I fought to receive has greatly benefited my son, our family and his school environment. I feel this help should be offered to all families, not only those who can forcefully articulate their needs.
Alison Scott, Lancaster UK

I am 40 years old one of the first diagnosed cases of ADHD in the UK at the age of 8 i saw specialist after doctor at GOSH and was in the lancet more times then i had hot dinner
I had no medication EVER also i was NOT naughty or disruptive or prone to temper tantrums
My cerebral fluid ran 6x faster through my spine then that of an ordinary child I was measured poked tested
I feel ADHD is to freely diagnosed now parents lose control the child knows by having a tantrum he gets his own way so the circle builds until the child has no boundaries I still have ADHD i cope i would not have drugs my 3 sons have ADHD they are bright alert kids very clever and i know how to channel there extra energy
Parents need to take a look at their skills before filling kids with mind altering medication
Andrea Abbott, Braintree

I spent the evening watching the Panorama programme on ADHD and it was one of the most infuriating 30 minutes I have spent in a long time. The programme concentrated too much on the oppositional behaviour of one child and did not give a broad understanding of the condition, the associated disorders and the accepted range of procedures available to assist parents and the children. It added no educational benefit and only served to reinforce prejudices that already exist both nationally and internationally.
Apart from a brief viewing of the US management school there was no detailed explanation of the support available or the management practices that can assist with an ADHD child; practises such as diet management or provision of good and regular structure.
As a parent of an ADHD son, who can be a challenge and an immense pleasure, I feel that your programme was ill judged and an uneducated and misdirected report.
Pip Tonkins, Camberley, Surrey

OK, you have done it again....our 16 year old ADHD son is absolutely furious with your programme. He was diagnosed when he was 6 years old. He has been the route of controlled medication and still takes Strattera the last one available to him (not a controlled substance). He is well adjusted, extremely intelligent and just like other teenagers, sometimes a lot easier. The child Craig on the programme needs to have his diet sorted, the first thing our son said when he was watching was "he's drinking coke, what do they expect!!". We discovered the hard way that all additives and colours need to be excluded from the diet - it doesn't cure but it sure helps with the behaviour. As does a support network from the local child and adolescent Psy clinic. They too have been absolutely brilliant. When will you guys get it right and look at the children as a whole and not just the mouthy, obnoxious out of control ones - Channel 4 did this years ago with Kid in the Corner. They got 4 A4 pages off me for that one! Try looking at a broader spectrum of ADHD kids and then report on that, probably not as sensational but it will be more factual!
Angry mum of ADHD teenager, Oxford, Oxon

I thought that the programme was good because it raised awareness to an important issue. The only criticism I have is that, at the end, Jeremy said "A.D.H.D. child". This is insulting, I believe, to people who have A.D.H.D. I feel that he should have said "a child with A.D.H.D." or "a child who suffers from A.D.H.D.", as this implies that A.D.H.D is not the main feature of the person. They are children who have a condition, not conditions which have a personality. I am fortunate enough to not suffer from A.D.H.D., but I felt strongly about making this point: a condition doesn't define a person.
sarah Naismith, Glasgow, Scotland

To be fair medication works for sum people and not for others fort it was a bit against medication but for sum people medication mite be the only avenue as for it not working it works for me how ever I also believe that medication is the only ANSER COS ITS NOT
Gary sendall, wirral merseyside

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on tonight's programme. I feel compelled to state the obvious and the obvious is there is no such thing as a chemical solution (Ritalin) to a spiritual problem. Quite simply these children present themselves with emotional difficulties and the so called misinformed professionals have made a generation of addicts. I am convinced that a simple 12 step programme as practised in Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous which is spiritual by nature offers a real solution to anybody who wants to get better from a grave emotional behaviour and/or mental disorder. I have the disease of addiction and I recognise the symptoms in each and every one of the children featured tonight. I have recovered from ADHD through the working and practising of the 12 steps in my life and so have many 1000's of my friends. I am available to offer direction should this be required.
david leven, Stanmore, Middlesex

It comes as no surprise that long term use of any drug didn't solve the problem that it was originally prescribed for. It was also no surprise that the girl featured in this evening's programme actually faired better without the medication.
Drugs have their uses but here was another example of how useless and often how harmful they actually are in the treatment of chronic conditions.
It may interest the makers of this programme to know that I have a young colleague (early 20's) who is taking around 25 pills a day to manage a condition called Lupus. Needless to say some of these pills are prescribed not for the condition itself but to counteract the side affects of some of the original medications. I also have a friend of 24 years who has been prescribed statins purely as a preventative measure because her father died in his 40's from a heart attack.
A nurse friend of mine's describes GPs as licensed drug pushers and my worry is that she maybe has something there.
Kairin van Sweeden, Tayport, Fife. UK

Whilst I agree that medication doesn't work for some children, and shouldn't be used without other supportive therapy, I have to disagree with most of the Panorama programme. The 16 year old who stopped taking Ritalin and felt better for it was not an unusual case, this is about the age where these drugs should be reviewed and in a lot of cases stopped anyway. As for Craig, the film quite clearly showed him drinking coke and eating chocolate. I know from bitter experience with my own ADHD 11 year old that no matter how well the medication helps her, it can all be undone by eating the wrong foods. She watched the programme with me and was very upset, she is on Concerta and is doing fantastically and has been for four years. She asked me why you didn't show anyone who is doing well on the medication. Its a shame when an 11 year old can clearly see biased reporting.
Saira, Maidstone Kent

Unfortunately, no mention of the children for whom medication has been a lifeline. My son was also on Ritalin for a while, it helped in that it calmed him and enabled him to focus at school. However, he still had outbursts resulting in 40 days exclusion in one school year. He recently started Strattera and is completely different and so far this school year not a single problem, he comes home from school happy now and not frustrated, he is enjoying his education, and we are enjoying him now !!
ADHD Parent, Accrington

I watched your program with great interest. I have two children aged 10 and 8 who have ADAS/ADHS, not quite so problematic as Craig, however they share the same symptoms. They are both prescribed Medicenet retard, 30mg and 20mg, which helps them both considerably, and both children are much better at school. I have found that what they eat and drink reduces the symptoms and helps them to concentrate better. We give them no milk products, a good substitute is soya. I also watched with horror as Craig was drinking coca cola. Sugar based products are not very helpful for children who suffer with ADHS. We try to give our kids fresh food when possible , no dairy or wheat products and only sweet things with cane sugar. They drink plenty of water. To end I would say that it is a perhaps more expensive to feed your children with bio products, however the peace of mind outweighs the financial burden
Stephen Read, Hannover, Germany

I found this programme to be unfair to the true realities of adhd. The boy in the programme was an absolute extreme adhd sufferer and did not portray many of the children suffering from adhd today. Only the extreme was looked at and no other. Also to suggest that no recorded evidence that Ritalin helps is absolute rubbish! My child suffers from adhd and if it had not been for Ritalin he would not be where he is today, from a very naughty unliked child to one who is very well liked by friends, polite, excellent at school and most of all happy for not being in trouble all the time. I feel the show was a scare tactic and should have been investigated further from both sides.
Gemma Merritt, Ilfracombe, Devon England

I am a mother of a 9 year old girl who has adhd, and has been on medication for 3 years. She is doing well at school on her medication and is mostly why i decided to medicate. This programme has worried me a lot.
elaine whitehead, selkirk

Watched the programme with great interest as my 13 year old has been on various forms of Ritalin for 6 years. Can I just say we can definitely see a difference if he missed his meds or is late with it and although he has always had a poor appetite he is currently growing well.
Lorraine, Stroud Glos

Interesting insight into the world of adhd. My 11yr old has this condition and was fascinated about how severe it can be for the child my son has a mild case but has drugs to help him he is doing ok and we are managing his condition
donna, stevenage uk

I have two children with ADHD and ADD I have ADD myself. Both of my children aged 21 and 24 have achieved getting outstanding jobs and both have mortgages on their own we have had our highs and very bad low's. My son started taking Ritalin at 11 and stopped at 16 and started again at 23 and my daughter started taking it at 15 and is still on it. I only need to take Ritalin when things are really bad. Your programme showed negativity about Ritalin it saved our family and for us it was a miracle drug and still is. Education on this problem is well overdue in schools and GP surgeries I managed on my own with my children's problems because of the lack of help. I feel we have gained in life through having this problem and would not want to change the past. My family is a close unit and we have a strong bond.
Kim Smee, Gravesend Kent

I thought the programme was very much the way ADHD really is. My son is 15 and was at a special school which was brilliant for him, but earlier this year he was expelled, because of a sexual incident with another boy, he doesn't understand about his sexuality at all and thinks sex is just something people do and has nothing to do with emotions. Emotions are something that he does not comprehend. The education dept here are useless and have now put him in a school that only provides half a days schooling a day, for kids that basically have nowhere else to go. All the good work that was done at the school with him is now undone and he is like a loose cannon, heading for a life of crime. Where is the help. Virginia Eden
Virginia Eden, Bury St Edmunds, England

I feel for Craig's mum, I have two boys who were diagnosed with ADHD at 5 & 11 (now 20 & 24)you get no support both my boys have criminal records now as no one was willing to help me. so if you manage to get help & support you are very lucky.
Mrs Theresa Wood, Feltham, Middlesex

AT LAST! I've been saying this for years!
Thank you Panorama for making an effort to save these children.
All that needs to be done now is to prove that ADHD doesn't exist. There are a variety of reasons for children's 'bad behaviour'.

I am outraged that the programme on ADHD made it seem as if Doctors are shoving it down peoples' throats - You have to fight to get Ritalin in this country, and it gets harder as you get older. There are only two specialists for adult ADHD in this country that can keep Ritalin prescribed for adults (ADHD is genetic, you do not "grow out of it"), one in Cambridge, and one in London. If even those 55,000 children mentioned maintained their Ritalin into adulthood, each of those specialists would have to treat 22,500 patients a year. Britain is most certainly failing its ADHD citizens, but not at all in the way that was made out.
Julie, London, England

My son has been on different medication for ADHD and has tried many behavioural techniques. Alongside each other my son no longer gets frustrated at himself but can focus more clearly and I no longer find him crying in his room saying he's just a stupid boy!!! I do feel however there is a serious lack of support and knowledge surrounding this area from the NHS and within schools, perhaps if this was improved there would be less reliance on medicating .
Leeann Dunn, Scotland

All this has shown was where meds have not worked. How about showing to a point of where meds have worked, as it has worked very well for my son, only for his schooling. At home my son is not on meds, as i make time to have one to one with my son at home. It was very misleading to the point on tonight show.
Mr D Farrington, banstead

we have just been watching the panorama report on A.D.H.D. our son Adam is 14 and is also A.D.H.D. and takes medication for this condition and we feel that your report only gives one side of using medication for this condition if you come and ask Adam if the medication has helped him you would get a totally different answer to the question than you portrayed in the programme and we feel the program is very one sided and not all A.D.H.D. children are monster who have a devastating effect on family life.
mike fuller, llansantffraid powys

I enjoyed watching this programme. As a pharmacist dealing with these medicines on a daily basis, I believe that the comments made were not entirely accurate. Ritalin and other medicines licensed for the treatment of ADHD are suppose to be used with cognitive behavioural therapies and counselling. There have been numerous studies showing that the use of psychological and pharmaceutical support is far superior to any treatment on its own. I do not recall this being mentioned in the programme. The national institute for clinical excellence has issued guidelines on this- this was not mentioned. I believe that the programme was a little biased.
sharon hughes, amlwch anglesey

I have a 14 year old son who was correctly diagnosed with ADHD earlier this year and is now taking Concerta XL. Having lived with this for 14 years I had by default implemented any behavioural strategies suggested. The medication has made a massive improvement to his life. Unfortunately I felt the Panorama programme showed two real extremes of the illness and completely ignored where the majority of sufferers fall. Clearly this makes better viewing but is not helpful for peoples' perception of the illness. I would not change my son's medication for anything, he is now achieving at school and in his own words "my head feels more still" As the programme touched on, untreated children often go on as adolescents to be in trouble with the police, take drugs, have alcohol problems and as they are thrill seekers many are killed in teenage car crashes. Not for my son thanks.
susan , Uxbridge, UK

As a parent of a child with ADHD I was very disappointed by the Panorama Programme What Next For Craig? Ritalin has been marvellous for my son and has transformed his performance at school. Why were none of the hundreds of psychiatrists successfully prescribing Ritalin interviewed? Up and down the country nervous parents will be wondering whether they should ignore their professional medical advice. This is a desperately serious matter for people like me, but you dealt with it in a biased and sensationalist way.
Tony Warren, England

Whilst watching last night's Panorama, what made me feel very sad is the fact that nothing else was offered to Craig other than Ritalin, from a very early age. Craig came across as a very lost and sad teenager, with little or very low self esteem who was constantly crying out for help, no much difference to when he was 6 years. If intervention had been consistent, instead of moving him from a school he was doing well in, then he may have been off Ritalin by now, hence not lashing out at his teachers, resulting in a court appearance.
Craig is now only getting the help he has been crying out for all these years because he broke the law. That is fundamentally WRONG.
Instead of 'labelling' children with ADHD as 'naughty' and 'bad', we should begin to see them for what they really are; 'Children who are often very intelligent but have difficulty expressing their thoughts clearly in any given social situation. That, to my mind is a disability just like any other, which can only be re-directed through therapeutic intervention and not medication.
Eleanor Jane Roberts, London

I have to say that i am very disappointed with this programme. You have done nothing but promote negative awareness of this condition, and have made it worse for the children and adults who continue to suffer peoples ignorance to this condition. Are you aware that doctors, lawyers, teachers, politicians, social workers have children with adhd who take medication. Why did you focus on the fact that the two children that you featured came from broken homes, ADHD is not down to poverty or broken homes.
I was looking forward to seeing this programme because i had hoped that panorama being the quality programme that i thought it was, would give a balanced view, but you haven't, you have just continued to fuel the fire of ignorance that surrounds this condition.
Michelle, Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

I felt that the programme last night gave a very one sided view about Ritalin. No, it is not the answer to all problems but it has been a life saver for my son. He has counselling and therapy and is so much happier than in the time before he started taking Ritalin when he couldn't understand what was wrong with him. He was very depressed and continually in trouble. At least now his self confidence is greater and he is not floundering at school. One other comment would be that for him Concerta did not work. If I was Craig's parents I would try different medication.
Sara Cocker, Remagen Germany

Whilst I thought this programme was very interesting and informative... And as a parent I have an open mind on this issue... I have a 12 year old son who has been on medication since 4 years old for ADHD. I am disappointed that you failed to show ANY of the 1000,s of success story's of this medication... I feel that you programme was extremely biased and one sided... Whilst the medication is clearly not working for Craig, it does work for many children and as responsible parents we want our children to be able to get a decent quality of education. I feel that a lot of parents due to your programme may now consider stopping medication wrongly, some of our children need this to survive in today's school environment!!! I enjoy your programme but this one disappointed me!
Sarah Boelema, Eastbourne, UK

I found it interesting that Craig was extremely verbally abusive towards his parents but not to the reporter when she spoke to him. He was able to control his temper when he wanted to (on camera anyway). Makes you wonder how much of it has to do with how much you let an ADHD child away with. I can understand that it would be easy to put everything down to the disorder.
Claire, Scotland

Panorama should be ashamed of themselves for showing such a one sided documentary on only 2 children. There are so many positive experiences of children on meds who lead much happier lives on Ritalin and that it worked well for them. Diazepam should never be given to a child with adhd so no wonder he reacted as he did, poor kid. I am very disappointed with the BBC, parents have a hard enough job as it is coping with this condition with out more negative media hype being added to it. You should bow your heads in shame.
Charlene, northants

I am so disappointed with this reporter and the producer of Panorama. This was not investigative journalism as Panorama purports to be; this was sensationalism with no attempt made to offer a balanced view. The facts are that adhd is under recognised in the UK and NICE recommends multimodal treatment of adhd i.e. medication along with behavioural support plus educational support to help the child achieve their potential; the last two are in very short supply if not non existent Nice is drawing up guidelines for those adults who never had their condition recognised in childhood but continue to suffer the consequences of this severely debilitating condition This reporter and the producer should be sacked. We pay our licence fee and expect proper balanced reporting not scaremongering at the expense of those who are unfortunate enough to suffer with this neuro biological condition. Very very poor programme; what are you going to do to redress the balance?
alison murray, newcastle england

I watched with interest the programme last night as I have two boys with adhd on Conserta, from Craigs outbursts and behaviour I saw a child who from my point of was not taking the medication, also downing coke full of sugar and additives could the diet be making his problems worse. I saw a one-sided story of the problems of children with adhd and it made me mad as a parent trying to make things better.
julie jubb, jersey channel islands

Congratulations! Ritalin should not be given to an adult let alone a child. I know I had to come off this type of drug.
If the public saw a real life Tricyclic/SSRI/Benzodiazepine withdrawal they would be appalled. They would never give this to a child. Withdrawal can go on in agony for years. It took me two years of fits ten times a day before life became bearable.
The general public and the doctors seem to think withdrawal is over in 7 to 28 days, The drugs maybe out of your system but the damage they have done to the nerve endings and liver lives on.
I was given this type of drug when my doctors thought I was malingering. They thought I was making up a stomach infection to get attention. Actually I had clostridium difficile. Vancomycin and tricyclics do not mix.
I had to do a major drug withdrawal. The full CT. No child should be put through this. Poor Craig. My heart bleeds for him. Never take a psychotic drug. Never trust your doctor and if you must always ask what the effects of the drug are. Is it addictive and what are the withdrawal effects? These can be horrific.
Only then, when you know all the facts you can make you choice but remember when you are throwing up at 6 am every morning for years that you were warned.
Euphobia, Auckland NZ

Congratulations on yesterday's Panorama programme about ADHD: "What Next for Craig?"
Our family has been similarly misled by doctors' insistence on prescribing psychiatric drugs for another poorly-understood condition: autism.
The ruination of our autistic son's life started in 1992 when he was first prescribed psychiatric drugs in a residential care home at the age of 21.
It has long been our opinion that these drugs caused his deterioration which is seemingly permanent, because after first being prescribed them he became neurologically dependent on mood-altering drugs of one sort or another. He has failed to come off them due to experiencing further deterioration from withdrawals.
This downward cycle of cause and effect has been denied or ignored by all the medical professionals who've had dealings with our son since then. We assumed we would have to wait for another generation to be proved right by all the similar cases that would inevitably appear in time.
Last night's programme discredited the MTA Study into the effectiveness of drugs such as Ritalin, which experts had described as "the best study done on planet earth." Apart from ruining lives, these researchers and their paymasters are preventing honest medical and non-medical progress from taking place.
Mr. and Mrs. D. Kay, London, United Kingdom

Peer calls for ADHD care review
14 Nov 07 |  Health
Panorama: Kids on Pills
01 Oct 00 |  Archive


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