Pros and cons

to ADHD medication

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common disorders diagnosed in children, but do the benefits outweigh the risks for medicating children with this disorder?

ADHD is a developmental disorder that starts in early childhood, usually before age 12. ADHD medicine is effective in helping children focus and stay on task in whatever they do. It also helps in interaction with peers and in building relationships, lowers aggression and helps students take direction.

ADHD medicines are designed to treat and control inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity, but there are many side effects to these medications as well. A lot of ADHD medicines can cause a lack of appetite and weight loss. Some other side effects include increased blood pressure, dizziness and interference with sleep.

Although ADHD medicine does a lot of good, there should be a rigorous selection process for which children need to be on medication based on the severity of their needs. Children with more mild ADHD might not need to have the medication for long, or even at all. Sometimes people manage ADHD through behavioral strategies or diet, which could be used as a substitute for the medication.

Another issue with a child being on medication is the stigma that comes with it. If a teacher or coach knows a child is on medication, would they treat him differently? Would there be a “watch out for this kid” attitude among team members or in the classroom? Would the teacher or coach think every behavior issue is connected to this disorder? Although there are many positive things about medicating a child with ADHD, there also are many negative things. ADHD medication can completely change how a child acts or how he interacts with people, and it is not always the outcome that was imagined in the first place.

Sammy Beitz.

Midlothian.

Gun ownership vs.

safety of citizenry

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Preference for unfettered gun ownership over the safety of its constituents and others says much about the Virginia Republican Party.

Henry S. Chenault Jr.

Mechanicsville.

Social media can fuel

teen depression

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Teen depression has increased drastically over the past five years because of the dramatic increase in the use of technology and social media. Social media plays a major role in the lives of teenagers because “it’s the new thing that everyone is talking about.” Social media either makes a teenager feel powerful or like nothing at all. In other words, social media makes or breaks a kid in today’s world.

Teenagers today use social media to show who’s popular and who is not based on how many “likes” a person can get on a photo. If a teenager does not get as many “likes” as his friends, he might start to feel he is not good enough. Later on, the teenager might start to do drastic things to get just one more “like” than the friends he feels he is competing against. If he fails, his self-esteem starts to decrease, which might affect his views on anything he does. One simple “like” can turn a teenager from being the happiest kid in the world to being the saddest kid around.

Social media gives teens the validation they do not get from themselves. It is just another popularity contest. Kids use social media to determine their friendship with other kids. Social media is taking over the world, and it can lead to taking kids from our world.

Jada Boswell.

Midlothian.

Make it more difficult

to obtain firearms

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I am saddened by the news of the killings in Virginia Beach. I was a Virginia Beach employee for 15 years before I moved to Mechanicsville. I was in the Mental Health Department, so I was only in Building 2 a few times. But I feel solidarity with all city employees.

This might have been a case of “suicide by cop.” It is well known that some suicides are out of anger. Angry suicides are aimed at people who have wronged or ignored the victim — at least in his opinion. And to a certain extent, it works. Suicide leaves friends, family and colleagues hurt, sometimes for many years. In the past, the angry suicide would end there.

But now, with the ready availability of firearms, the angry person can really take it out on those around him. Each of the dozen victims in Virginia Beach has friends and family who are reeling. And the perpetrator is known around the nation, even around the world. His anger has been communicated. And at the same time, the unthinkable becomes a little more thinkable to a few. It is now even more likely that this will be repeated.

It seems there were no classic red flags that would have warned authorities this man was a danger to others. There seems to have been no way for mental health services to gain entry into his life.

The only way to begin to reduce this type of killing is to make firearms more difficult to obtain. If we do take gun control actions, it might take years for the current supply of guns to begin to dwindle, but at some point it will begin to take effect, and these types of massacres will become less frequent. But without such action, these killings will continue, and become even more common.

Bill Butler.

Mechanicsville.

Reader defends

Trump’s record

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

When I read the ad hominem attack against President Trump by correspondent David Gardner, I thought I was reading about President Obama and that the letter was either a typo or confusion.

The “extraordinary failures” of Trump were far exceeded by his predecessor. The nuclearization of Korea is mentioned. Under Obama, Korea strode toward the development of nuclear weapons at its fastest pace in history. While zero progress toward peace in the Middle East occurred under President Obama, the U.S. stabilization and strengthening of its alliance with Israel have reduced the chances of a hot conflagration under Trump.

Gardner’s accusation that Trump has failed to produce any significant domestic legislation is laughable. Aside from and in spite of being hampered by a do-nothing obstructionist Congress determined to produce administrative failure, the Tax Reduction Act has done more to help everyday citizens than any Obama legislation.

Trump is accused of doing nothing on immigration except hurting children. That does not merit any effort at refutation.

The Trump economic successes are attacked using factless statements. Inarguably, every impartial metric shows an economy on fire benefiting every segment of society.

The parting shot at Trump questions his intelligence. Gardner must know more than the Wharton School admissions committee and faculty, which conferred to Trump a bachelor’s degree in economics. Attacking the messenger when you are so wrong on the message is understandable. Obviously, he was conflating the failures of Obama with the successes of Trump.

Max Maizels.

Richmond.

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