ADHD

Under CC license by Flickr user Ian Barbour

Thirty years ago, it was rare for a kid to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Today, about five million children carry that diagnosis -- and more than two million of them are taking the drugs used to treat its symptoms.

Methylphenidate is a pharmaceutical most commonly-prescribed for ADHD. Its most well known trade name is Ritalin. It’s a psycho-stimulant drug that’s also used to manage obsessive-compulsive disorder, narcolepsy, and depression. But, pediatrician Sandy Newmark thinks it’s over-prescribed.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects 8.4 percent of school-age children in the US. If you have ADHD, you already know what that means. It makes you restless. It makes it hard to focus. It makes it hard to stay focused, hard to pay attention, and hard to control your behavior, even if you want to. In 2010, we brought you a whole show focused on ADHD and its effects. We spoke with four San Francisco teenagers living with ADHD about how they managed from day to day.

Life before and after Ritalin

Jul 22, 2013

Throughout her life, Shannon Heffernan had trouble focusing because of ADHD. When she was 23, she realized she couldn’t live that way any more. So, for the first time, she decided to take Ritalin – a well-known pharmaceutical used to manage ADHD. And she decided to record her experience of how the drug might change her. This is her story.

SHANNON HEFFERNAN: Okay it’s 8:15, I’m running late again, I need to be out the door in ten minutes. Shoot, where’s my toothbrush.

That’s the sound of me getting ready in the morning