Our society may be highly competitive, but prescribing brain-enhancing medication to healthy children is unethical and doctors must act to protect the most vulnerable.
That’s the crux of the argument put forth in guidelines for doctors released Wednesday by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). The paper discusses the misuse of stimulant medications normally prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as Ritalin and Adderall.
Dr. Michael Goldstein, a pediatric neurologist at Western Neurological Associates in Salt Lake City and former vice president of the AAN, said the article isn’t intended to stop doctors from medicating children with diagnosable learning disorders. It is, however, directed at adolescents who take ADHD and other stimulant medications to boost their brain power or get better grades.
“Taking some child with As and Bs and making it so they get all As, that’s different than a child who’s struggling. If society sees that as acceptable, that’s one issue. If physicians see it as acceptable, that’s another,” he said in an interview with Healthline. “If your child is doing well and you want him to be a star, that troubles me personally and those who wrote this paper.”