ADHD/ ADHS/ ADS. Ritalin Debatte. Normale hohe Energie oder Krankheit?

ADHD/ ADHD/ ADS/ ADD: What is the difference?

ADHD and ADHD are abbreviations for the same disorder: attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The abbreviation "ADHD" is mainly used in North America and the English -speaking world, while "ADHD" is the more common abbreviation in Europe.

"Ads/ Add", on the other hand, stands for "attention deficit syndrome" and is sometimes used to describe a weakened form of ADHD in which the hyperactive symptoms are not so pronounced. However, ADS/ ADD is not an official term in medical diagnostics of attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorders and is regarded by many experts as an outdated or inaccurate term.

Overall, all of these terms refer to the same basic disorder, which is characterized by symptoms such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Overdiagnosis of ADHD - can you really diagnose ADHD?

There is a debate about whether ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is diagnosed too often. Some argue that there is an overdiagnosis, especially in children, since many of the symptoms can also occur in other diseases or simply with normal behavior within the framework of development. However, others emphasize that ADHD is an actual neurological disorder that occurs in many people and that undersupply can be harmful, since untreated ADHD can lead to problems in school, work and relationships.

It is also important to take into account that the diagnosis of ADHD is a complex process that requires a careful assessment of the symptoms, history and other factors. A precise diagnosis requires that other conditions are excluded and that the symptoms are significant enough to affect daily life.

Despite many years of research, there is no test, no biomarkers that could prove these disorders quickly and without doubt.

Researchers warn of the potential risk of false diagnosis of ADHD. Because there is no clinical marker for this, the disorder diagnosis depends on a behavioral analysis, and sometimes the child's natural restlessness can be misinterpreted as an ADHD symptom. The diagnostic and statistical manual for mental disorders defines the criteria that should be taken into account in order to diagnose a child with ADHD or not. However, what experts see in practice is that these criteria are not always taken into account by practitioners in everyday life.

Symptoms of ADHD

The symptoms of ADHD can vary depending on the person, but they often include:

  • Inattention: Difficulties to focus on a task or activity, follow instructions or observe details, forgetfulness, slight distraction.
  • Hyperactivity: Objective physical movement, fidgeting, walking around, difficulties, sitting calmly, talking without a break.
  • Impulsiveness: Acting before thinking about having difficulties, waiting, difficulties in controlling your own behavior, for example with interruptions, quick answers or quick acting.

What do supporters say?

  • More diagnoses reflect an increased awareness
  • ADHD is a real neurological disorder
  • ADHD is associated with abnormal brain structure and activity

What do skeptics say?

  • Energetic Child + Boring School = ADHD overdiagnosis
  • Children are not made to sit inside for hours.
  • The youngest children in one class tend to be more fidgety - and are more often diagnosed
  • Older students may be looking for stimulating ADHD medication-"Good Grade Pills" (Schwarz, 2012). Parents sometimes too!
  • What are the long -term effects of drug treatment?
  • Why the increase in ADHD diagnoses and medication? 

Neurotransmitter metabolism in the synaptic gap

A dopamine deficiency is responsible for special behaviors, perception and cognitive skills.

In the case of ADHD sufferers there are a higher number of dopamine transporters on the presynapse. This can be attributed to more dopamine from the synaptic gap. This state leads to the fact that not enough dopamine in the synaptic spaLT remains. This is called dopamine deficiency.

The causes of ADHD

The causes of ADHD are not yet fully understood, but there are various factors that can contribute to an ADHD diagnosis:

  • Genetics: ADHD can be inherited. Studies have shown that genes can play a role in the development of ADHD. (Nikolas & Burt, 2010)
  • Brain development: Studies have shown that certain parts of the brain are smaller or less active in people with ADHD than in humans without ADHD.
  • Environmental factors: Difficulties during pregnancy or birth, such as premature birth, low birth weight, alcohol or drug use during pregnancy, can increase the risk of ADHD. Unstructured or stressful environments can also favor ADHD. Van der Bergh and Marcoen (2004) report several long -term consequences of motherly stress, which seem to be associated with a sensitive period during pregnancy. This includes an increased risk of developing ADHD symptoms in childhood and externalizing problems such as outbreaks of anger and anxiety.
  • Chemical imbalances in the brain: ADHD is sometimes associated with a dysfunction of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, especially dopamine and noradrenaline.
  • Lifestyle: An irregular lifestyle, such as poor nutrition, lack of sleep, lack of physical exercise and excessive media consumption, can increase the risk of ADHD.

It is important to note that not all people with these factors develop ADHD and that ADHD usually creates a combination of factors. A “exact” diagnosis can only be made by a specialist for ADHD.


The treatment of ADHD can vary depending on the age, severity of the patient's symptoms and individual needs. In general, the treatment of ADHD includes a combination of drug therapy, behavioral and psychosocial therapy as well as targeted interventions at school or at work.

Medical therapy: Medications are prescribed for ADHD that alleviate symptoms such as impulsiveness, inattention and hyperactivity. The most common drugs used to treat ADHD are stimulants such as methylphenidate (e.g. Ritalin) or amphetamines (e.g. adderall). These drugs work by influencing the activity in the brain and reducing the symptoms of the ADHD.

Ritalin is a prescription drug that is normally prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. As with many other drugs, Ritalin can also be misused, especially from people who have not been prescribed to have better performance in their studies or at work, or because of their use as a leisure drug. This has triggered concern for scientists and relatives around the world. Ritalin's abuse can lead to a number of undesirable effects. The increasing consumption can not only be observed in children, but also in adolescents and adults (in Brazil the increase was 775 % between 2003 and 2012, according to a study by the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro).

Although it has been used since the 1960s, the cellular mechanisms of this substance are still unknown.

Ritalin and cocaine: chemical similarities

Both substances are stimulants and act in a similar way in the brain. Here are some similarities:

  • Mechanism of action: Both Ritalin and cocaine increase the concentration of dopamine in the brain by inhibiting the resumption of dopamine in the nerve cells. As a result, dopamine stays in the synaptic gap longer and increases the signal transmission between the nerve cells.
  • Pharmacological effects: Both substances can trigger euphoria, increased vigilance, increased self -confidence and increased physical performance. You can also suppress appetite and impair sleep.
  • Risks and side effects: Both Ritalin and cocaine can lead to dependency if there is excessive consumption. Both substances can also cause unwanted physical and psychological side effects, such as racing heart, high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia and psychoses.

Although there are similarities between Ritalin and cocaine, there are also important differences between the two substances. Ritalin is a prescription drug used to treat ADHD while cocaine is an illegal drug. Ritalin has a longer half -life than cocaine and therefore looks less strongly and faster than cocaine.

Why is Ritalin prescribed so quickly and so often?

There is also criticism of the frequency with which Ritalin is prescribed. Some argue that it is prescribed too often and that there are better alternative treatment options. Others in question whether ADHD is overdiached and whether Ritalin may be prescribed too quickly and lightly, especially to children and adolescents.

The consumption of methylphenidate in Germany, best known as Ritalin, rose by more than ten times from 1990 to 2000, from 2000 to 2010 again by triple, which is a strong indication of drug and over therapy.

It is therefore important that doctors are careful when prescribing Ritalin and consider alternative treatment options before using a medication.

Ritalin is often prescribed because it is effective in many people with ADHD and in many cases it can lead to a quick, significant improvement in symptoms. Doctors, parents and children want a quick solution. However, it is important to note that Ritalin is a medication with side effects.

Ritalin - effects and long -term consequences

Some of the episodes of Ritalin can be:

  • Children suffer from the most common Loss of appetite and (one) sleep disorders. But it also occurs nausea on, Blood pressure and heart rate increase, The liver is burdened. There is also a risk for Tics, Psychoses or Mental disorders such as depression.
  • Dependency: If Ritalin is taken over a longer period of time, dependency can arise, especially in people who abuse the drug.
  • Growth delay: In children who take Ritalin over a longer period of time, there may be a delay in growth.
  • Mood changes: Ritalin can cause mood changes in some people, especially if the medication is abolished abruptly.
  • Behavioral changes: In some people, Ritalin can lead to changes in behavior, especially with higher doses or with longer intake.
  • According to a Danish study, ADHD medication have a low but statistically relevant one Cardiovascular side effect profile. The working group around Søren Dalsgaard at Aarhus University published the results of its cohort study in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology (  
  • Treatment with methylphenidate, has led to changes in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) Structural changes in the brain indicate. The clinical importance of the findings is unclear.
  • 14.08.2020 - Researchers analyze the effects of Ritalin on the developing brain - UFRGS | Universidade Federal Do Rio Grande Do Sul ( ). In order to imitate the situation of chronic consumption in childhood, scientists injected methylphenidate in rats from 15th to the 45th day of life. This period would correspond in human terms to those of children who would take Ritalin. What have the scientists observed? An increase in inflammatory parameters, changes in the oxidative stress and the amino acid profile and a decrease in the ATP levels - molecule known as the energy currency of the cells, which is responsible for storing energy. In addition, there was a loss of astrocytes and neurons in the hippocampus, a cerebral structure that is an important part of the limbic system (this unit is responsible for emotions and social behavior and takes on a fundamental role in storing short and long-term memory).
  • There are other information on the package insert:Ritalin and depression-what scientists say (

Non-drug treatments for ADHD:

There are different treatments that can be used individually or in combination. Here are some examples:

  1. Behavioral modification: This includes the use of strategies such as positive reinforcements to promote desired behavior, as well as time management and organizational skills to structure everyday life.

  2. Behavioral and psychosocial therapy: A form of psychotherapy that can be helpful for ADHD patients is cognitive behavioral therapy. This focuses on the identification and coping of thoughts and behaviors that make ADHD symptoms worse. Behavioral therapy, family therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy can help reduce ADHD symptoms and teach patients strategies for self -regulation. These therapies can also help to solve problems related to interpersonal relationships and job problems.

  3. Nourishment: A balanced diet can help relieve ADHD symptoms. This includes taking a lot of protein, fiber and healthy fats and avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks.

  4. Movement: Regular movement can help reduce stress and improve the ability to concentrate. Sports such as yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi can be particularly helpful.

  5. Occupational therapy: This type of therapy can help development in everyday life and improve fine motor skills. This can help to organize patients better and do their tasks.

  6. School or workplace interventions: The inclusion of teachers and employers in the treatment of ADHD can help reduce the symptoms and to improve the patient's performance in school or work. For example, schools can create IEPs (individual education plans) to offer the students with additional support and adjustments with ADHD. In the workplace, for example, employers can offer flexible working hours or work adjustments to take into account the patient's symptoms.

It is important to note that non-drug treatments in ADHD are not equally effective for every patient.

Dear "sick" children than unfortunate, overwhelming or non -successful children?

The high Ritalin consumption becomes the topic for the UN. Switzerland is therefore likely to recommend that the UN to establish stricter rules for the Ritalin consumption of children.

The Swiss UN consultant Pascal Rudin criticizes ADHD and her medication:

“So the key question is: What is our understanding of the disorder? It is clear that a child in the school environment can interfere relatively quickly. But that doesn't mean that it has a disorder in the medical sense. The attention deficit syndrome ADHD is defined as a disease, but can hardly be measured medically. So children are stigmatized just because Ritalin works at short notice and is efficient. In this context, the UN should also refer to basic ethical principles: Doctors should treat us, not increase our performance. ”

"Rudin further points out that" Ritalin "is only entitled if you have a real biological-medical basis for the prescription. However, this applies to a maximum of 5% of the children that take appropriate medication today, so that at 95 % of the children- so almost always- these psychotropic drugs are superfluous. "

Many children no longer want to take Ritalin and Co. when they get older. What bothers her the most: that her hunger disappears. And somehow they are not themselves while the medication works. That they can work very focused, but at the same time occur like a machine and hardly perceive what happens around them.

BAG Switzerland also takes the problem seriously and observes the developments related to Ritalin / ADHD:

Developmental psychology has contributed a lot to understanding ADHD in recent years. For example, studies have shown that ADHD symptoms decrease in many children over time, while others have a chronic disorder. There are also indications that certain factors such as family circumstances, genes and environmental conditions can influence the development and progression of ADHD.

We should not forget that our children are developing. Everyone has their own colorful, unique personality, their own pace and needs certain phases in life that play an important role in development. The environment needs the environment to manifest itself. Every development phase has a meaning in and of itself.

Nowadays we just want to be faster and better and perform everywhere. We must not show any weakness or make mistakes. Our children don't. The frustration tolerance is getting smaller, which is why people are looking for faster, simpler solutions. But sometimes painful long -term consequences.

Shouldn't we prefer to reflect and treat our social-family-family everyday pollution? 


Ritalin - Breeding of future addicts? | Paracelsus Recovery (

19.4283 | ADHD. Integrate results of the project to the training in the training | Business | The Swiss Parliament

Schmitz, Felipe; Chao, Moses v.; Wyse, Angela T.S. Methylphenidate age nude top signaling in rat pheochromocytoma cells. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 2018.

CDC, 2019a; Simon et al. 2009; Macdonald et al., 2019; Smith, 2017; Martel et al., 2016; Kofler et al., 2016; Chen, M et al., 2016; Black, 2012; Ellison, 2015; Hales et al., 2018; Sayal et al., 2017; World Federation for Mental Health, 2005; Ball et al., 2019; Hoogman et al., 2015; Nikolas & Burt, 2010; Poelmans et al, 2011; Volkow et al., 2009; Williams et al. 2010; Barbaresi et al., 2007; Cerillo-Urbina et al., 2015; Pelham et al., 2016; Fabiano et al., 2008.

State of research on methylphenidate:

Cochrane Society, an independent, international network of scientists and health professionals, has evaluated a variety of studies on the active ingredient methylphenidate. The scientists also found that a number of the present studies have qualitative defects. In conclusion for systematic overview work, it says: "Due to the quality of the available evidence, we cannot currently say whether methylphenidate improves the life of children and adolescents with ADHD. Methylphenidate is accompanied by a number of less serious side effects such as sleep problems and reduced appetite . Although we have no evidence that the risk of serious side effects is increased, studies with a longer follow -up time are necessary to better assess this risk in people who take methylphenidate over a long period of time. You can find more information at www.

Written by Mara Schär

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