Stimulant medications, such as Ritalin and Adderall, are the accepted treatment to stem hyperactivity in children with attention deficit-hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and improve their behavior.
Now a recent review of research by University at Buffalo pediatric psychologists suggests that such medication, or the assumption of medication, may produce a placebo effect — not in the children, but in their teachers, parents or other adults who evaluate them.
A placebo effect is a positive change in symptoms or behavior after a patient receives a “fake” medication or procedure; in other words, the belief can become the medicine. In this case, the review suggested that when caregivers believed their ADHD patients were receiving ADHD medication, they tended to view those children more favorably and treat them more positively, whether or not medication was actually involved.
“The act of administering medication, or thinking a child has received medication, may induce positive expectancies in parents and teachers about the effects of that medication, which may, in turn, influence how parents and teachers evaluate and behave toward children with ADHD,” said UB researcher Daniel A. Waschbusch, Ph.D., lead author of the review. (read the rest here)
Many of us already know how invested some family members can be in our treatment. Now we know it makes them feel better to know we’re being poisoned. So much better they think our behaviors are better even when they’re not.
It’s about feeling like we can do something to change those we care about. Unfortunately it comes with a very dangerous price tag when we’re talking psych meds.