Medications & Psychiatry

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
Psychiatry Under the InfluenceAlternatives Beyond PsychiatryAmerican MadnessAmerican PsychosisAn Unquiet MindAntipsychiatryBad PharmaBefore ProzacBetter Than ProzacBiological PsychiatryBipolar, Not So MuchBlack Man in a White CoatBlaming the BrainBrain Science and Psychological DisordersBrainwashedClinical Psychopharmacology Made Ridiculously SimpleComfortably NumbCompassion and Healing in Medicine and SocietyComplete Mental HealthConcise Guide to PsychopharmacologyCrackedCritical PsychiatryCultural FormulationDeconstructing PsychosisDemystifying PsychiatryDiagnosing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DisordersDiagnosis: SchizophreniaDiagnostic Issues in Depression and Generalized Anxiety DisorderDimensional Models of Personality DisordersDisordered Personalities and CrimeDoctoring the MindDoctors of DeceptionDrop the Disorder!DruggedDrugs for LifeEmpirical Ethics in PsychiatryEssential PsychopharmacologyEssential Psychopharmacology of Depression and Bipolar DisorderEssentials of Psychiatric DiagnosisEsssential Philosophy of PsychiatryEthics in PsychiatryEvidence-Based Treatment of Personality DysfunctionExercise-Based Interventions for Mental IllnessFinding the Right Psychiatrist:Forces of HabitHandbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for TherapistsHappy Pills in AmericaHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHerbs for the MindHigh PriceHippocrates CriedHistory of Psychiatry and Medical PsychologyHookedHuman TrialsInfectious MadnessInspired SleepIntoxicating MindsIs It Me or My Meds?Let Them Eat ProzacLife-Threatening Effects of Antipsychotic DrugsLitLiving with Bipolar DisorderMad in AmericaMad ScienceMalignant SadnessMedicating ChildrenMedicating Modern AmericaMental Health in Asia and the PacificMind FixersMoments of EngagementMommy I'm Still in HereNatural Healing for DepressionNo One Cares About Crazy PeopleNot CrazyOrdinarily WellOur Daily MedsOverdosed AmericaPathologist of the MindPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPharmaceutical FreedomPharmacracyPharmageddonPharmageddonPhilosophical Issues in PharmaceuticsPoets on ProzacPower HerbsPowerful MedicinesPrescriptions for the MindProfits Before People?Prozac and the New AntidepressantsProzac As a Way of LifeProzac BacklashProzac DiaryProzac on the CouchPsychiatric DiagnosisPsychiatric HegemonyPsychiatrists and Traditional HealersPsychiatry and EmpirePsychiatry and the Business of MadnessPsychiatry as Cognitive NeurosciencePsychiatry at a GlancePsychiatry in PrisonsPsychiatry ReconsideredPsychopathyPsychopharmacology Problem SolvingPsychotropic Drug Prescriber's Survival GuidePsychotropic Drugs And Popular CulturePsychotropic Drugs: Fast FactsRaising Generation RxRe-Visioning PsychiatryRecovery from SchizophreniaReligious and Spiritual Issues in Psychiatric DiagnosisRitalin NationRunning on RitalinRutter's Child and Adolescent PsychiatrySaving NormalSchizophreniaShock TherapyShock TherapyShould I Medicate My Child?ShrinksSide EffectsSometimes Amazing Things HappenStraight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for KidsSuccessful PsychopharmacologySuffer the ChildrenTaking America Off DrugsTalking Back to ProzacTextbook of Cultural PsychiatryThe $800 Million PillThe Age of AnxietyThe Anti-Depressant Fact BookThe Antidepressant EraThe Antidepressant SolutionThe Antidepressant Survival ProgramThe Big FixThe Book of WoeThe Complete Guide to Herbal MedicinesThe Conceptual Evolution of DSM-5The CorrectionsThe Creation of PsychopharmacologyThe Cult of PharmacologyThe Dream DrugstoreThe Emperor's New DrugsThe Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2005The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2006The Making of DSM-III®The Medical Model in Mental HealthThe Medicated ChildThe Medication QuestionThe Merck DruggernautThe Mind/Mood Pill BookThe Natural Pharmacist : Natural Health Bible from the Most Trusted Alternative Health Site in the World The Pill BookThe Pill Book Guide to Natural MedicinesThe PlaceboThe Rise and Fall of the Biopsychosocial ModelThe Sedated SocietyThe Therapist's Guide to PsychopharmacologyThe Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology, Revised EditionThe Truth About the Drug CompaniesThe Use and Misuse of Psychiatric DrugsThe World of CaffeineThomas S. SzaszToxic PsychiatryTrouble in MindTry to RememberTry to RememberTwilight of American SanityUnderstanding Physician-Pharmaceutical Industry InteractionsUnhingedVoluntary MadnessWarning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental HealthWhat Is Mental Illness?What Psychiatry Left Out of the DSM-5What Works for Whom?Will@epicqwest.comWomen, Madness and MedicineYour Drug May Be Your Problem

Related Topics
Running on RitalinReview - Running on Ritalin
A Physician Reflects on Children, Society, and Performance in a Pill
by Lawrence H. Diller
Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1998
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D.
Oct 3rd 2000 (Volume 4, Issue 40)

Lawrence Diller is one of the most eloquent and thoughtful doctors writing for a general readership on the issue of the use of medication for children. His book Running on Ritalin was originally published two years ago. Since then he has written a number of articles for Salon magazine, following up on the latest news concerning Ritalin and the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Although there are news items almost every week concerning Ritalin and ADHD, Diller's book remains highly relevant to the debate, and I recommend it highly.

In the thirteen chapters, Diller sets out the clinical, emotional, scientific, economic, legal and social issues relevant to understanding the rise in the use of Ritalin. Diller's discussion of these issues is both clear and thorough. At the end of the book are 33 pages of notes and references for those who want to research more into the issues raised.

Although there are many complexities in understanding the issues of medicating children, Diller's position is straightforward and plausible. He argues that while he himself often prescribes Ritalin and agrees that it is often appropriate, all too often Ritalin in prescribed without first exploring other options. Often parents, doctors, and teachers talk as if ADHD were simply a brain dysfunction and they prefer to ignore the emotional issues that family members are facing.

There has to be some explanation for the massive rise in the diagnosis of attention deficit and in the use or Ritalin in the last decade. Maybe now more than ever, families face many pressures; children often experience those pressures as much as their parents. But Diller's hypothesis is that more important was the rise in the concept of learning disabilities and the accommodation provided to students labeled as having such disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act has been ruled applicable to ADHD, and also important is Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973. But probably more important is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This act, passed in 1990, mandates that "eligible children receive access to special education and/or related services, and that this education be designed to meet each child's each unique educational needs through and individualized education program, or IEP." (148). Also important was Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Of course, giving people an incentive to be labeled with a disability often means that the rates of diagnosis increase, and it seems this is one reason the rates of ADHD diagnosis have sky-rocketed in the USA.

Of course, every expert will find some details with which to quibble in Diller's book. As an ethicist, I found his discussion of the medical ethics literature on the topic the least satisfying part of the book, but that's because I am already familiar with those issues. With the vast area of other aspects of the Ritalin debate where I am on less familiar ground, Diller is a sure-footed guide. His ability to combine different aspects of the issues, such as the social, medical, and personal, is impressive, and is what gives Running On Ritalin its coherence.

Currently the USA is the main country facing these problem, but other nations are likely to follow. Furthermore, as pharmaceutical companies develop new drugs which can enhance our intellectual and emotional lives, and which can even mold our personalities, we are going to have to look long and hard at what we want to label as disabilities and how much we should use such drugs. Lawrence Diller is one of the best thinkers we have available to encourage and guide the debate.

Relevant Links:

Lawrence Diller Web Site

Salon articles

Just say yes to Ritalin! September 25, 2000

Extreme Ritalin March 31, 2000

Kids on Drugs March 9, 2000

Kids on Drugs II March 10, 2000


Welcome to Metapsychology.

Note that Metapsychology will be moving to a new server in January 2020. We will not put up new reviews during the transition. We thank you for your support and look forward to coming back with a revised format.

We feature over 8300 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than twenty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!

Join our Google Group!

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716