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Millions of children in North America are diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and treated with pyschostimulants such as methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine, and methamphetamine. These drugs produce a continuum of central nervous system toxicity that begins with increased energy, hyperalertness, and overfocusing on rote activities. It progresses toward obsessive compulsive or perseverance activities, insomnia, agitation, hypomania, mania, and sometimes seizures. They also commonly result in apathy, social withdrawal, emotional depression, and docility. Psychostimulants also cause physical withdrawal, including rebounding and dependence. They inhibit growth, and produce various cerebral dysfunctions, some of which can become irreversible.
The "therapeutic" effects of stimulants are a direct expression of their toxicity. Animal and human research indicates that these drugs often suppress spontaneous and social behaviors while promoting obsessive compulsive behaviors. These adverse drug effects make the psychostimulants seemingly useful for controlling the behavior of children especially in highly structured environments that do not attend to their genuine needs.
Books by Dr. Breggin that address stimulant therapy