Saturday, August 29, 2009

ADDers: Stimulant Medication and Sports

There was a major article on the front page of the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Sunday, August 23, 2009, reporting on the use of stimulant medication for ADDers in baseball. The two baseball players reportedly have ADHD, and got exempt from the rule that performance-enhancing medications( such as steroids) cannot be used. Hopefully, they were diagnosed by a competent professional as having ADHD and needing stimulant medication. I say this because in the general population, ADHD is an easy diagnosis to get without a thorough evaluation.
There are several concerns that must be addressed:

1. Isn’t stimulant medication, while it may be necessary, still a performance-enhancing drug, giving some players an edge?

2. Stimulant medications have been found to work in non-ADDers. Remember when you crammed for exams and took amphetamines to ward off sleep? Will they give an edge to non-ADD baseball players?

3. There are often serious side effects to stimulant medications, such as increased heart rate. Will such effects be more serious in an already stimulating situation?

4. When parents read this article, given that competition is great in sports, will this influence their desire to seek the ADHD diagnosis to get stimulants only for sports? If an ADHD diagnosis is made, how severe is it? Serious enough to warrant a stimulants for use in competitive sports?Are parents informed of the risks and side effects of stimulants ? Do they get medical tests for possible cardiac problems, since increased heart rate frequently occurs, in addition to growth and appetite issues.

I regret this publication being on the front page of a major newspaper instead of, at the least, burying it in the Sports section.

No comments: