Is Ritalin the new “Mother’s little helper”?

5 05 2013


IN the 1960s and 1970s, Valium (and associated benzodiazepines – benzos) were known as “Mother’s Little Helper”- a drug prescribed to stay at home mothers to help them deal with their lives – fundamentally, a way of sedating them so they would accept a life they were unhappy or bored with.

What a drag it is getting old
Kids are different today,
I hear ev’ry mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill
Theres a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day

(Mother’s Little Helper, Rolling Stones)

By all accounts, it was an epidemic of medico-sanctioned drug abuse. A generation of women rendered passive, incapable of dealing with their dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Stepford wives.

Fast forward to the 1990s and 2000s. the drug de jour is Ritalin and other uppers to deal with ADD. ADHD, adult ADHD, etc.

Now I am not saying these syndromes do not exist. Nor that the drugs don’t work for some people. But then the Valium worked pretty well for women in the 1960s and 1970s.

But the explosion of diagnoses, and of prescriptions makes me suspicious. Are we waiting for someone to write a song about how we medicated our difficult children? What cost will they pay in their adult lives, when they haven’t learned to deal with their concentration, focus and behaviour without medication? What physiological effect will the drugs have one them?

And whose “illness” are we medicating?

For the full Rolling Stones Song, click here: Rolling Stones: Mother’s Little Helper




3 responses

6 05 2013
empty chair (@Janet741)


7 05 2013

I watched a segment on ABC last year about a rural school that had banned all food products containing artificial colours, flavours and preservatives, or lots of sugar. The school canteen was completely healthy and the ban included all food brought to school by the children. Within a week, kids with behaviour problems were quieter and more focussed in class. After a month, they had no kids with behavioural problems. There was also a noticeable improvement in the health of children who had allergic conditions, such as asthma and eczema.

I often wonder if children with behavioural problems are:
1) Being fed rubbish and heavily processed foods their bodies can’t cope with,
2) Are normal boisterous kids whose parents or teachers can’t be bothered coping with, or
3) Have genuine ADD and / or ADHD?

7 05 2013

I do remember a child when we lived in the country who was diagnosed ADHD and seemed to genuinely have some sort of problem – foster child,reduction of abusive home. However I have also seen a program where a woman was trying to get her two year old son diagnosed – all her sons were medicated, none of her daughters were. the little boy see,ed to be behaving like a normal boy (loud, active) and it did seem that she couldn’t cope with little boys. I a, sure there are some where it is genuine, but. Also suspect it is massively over-diagnosed.

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