Updated: Sunday, 5th July 2020 @ 5:57am

Manchester ADHD charity claim media lied about medication turning children into ‘zombies’ – new research agrees

Manchester ADHD charity claim media lied about medication turning children into ‘zombies’ – new research agrees

By Oliver Pritchard

A Manchester charity supporting ADHD sufferers is backing a study claiming that medication helps children to concentrate and does not turn them into ‘zombies’.

The study by ADHD Voices (Voices on Identity, Childhood, Ethics and Stimulants) said medication helps children to control their behaviour and make better decisions.

And ADDISS, who support parents, sufferers, teachers and health professionals, said that medication allowed people with ADHD clarity of thought which everyone else took as a luxury.

The charity’s chief executive Andrea Bilbow said: “Children with ADHD can make good decisions, not just bad ones and the medication enables them to be able to make the right ones.

“The media made up all that nonsense about it turning people into ‘zombies’ or that it puts them in a ‘straightjacket’, they made it up because they didn’t understand the condition.

“Maybe years ago when doctors weren’t as well trained they may have over-prescribed medication – but nowadays medication is essential to treatment.

“It gives sufferers clarity of thought to make rational decisions that everyone else takes for granted.”

The project has been led by biomedical ethicist Dr Ilina Singh from King's College London who said: "ADHD is a very emotive subject, which inspires passionate debate.

“Everyone seems to have an opinion about the condition, what causes it, and how to deal with children with ADHD, but the voices of these children are rarely listened to.

"Who better to tell us what ADHD is like and how medication affects them than the children themselves?"

The study, which gives a voice to the children themselves, provides valuable insight into the experiences and the stigma they face.

ADHD is the most common behavioural disorder in the UK and it is estimated that the condition affects up to 5% of school-aged children and young people.

ADHD can be a lifelong condition, and many children continue to have symptoms as a teenager and adult.

It is estimated that more than two out of three children diagnosed with ADHD will still have symptoms as teenagers and more than 60% of them will suffer from the disorder into their adulthood.

It is uncertain whether ADHD can occur in adults without first appearing in childhood.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.