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DRUGS SAVED MY SON.

HYPERACTIVE children are being given powerful drugs to tame their wild mood swings and help them cope with life.

Over 6,000 youngsters now take tranquilisers, including Ritalin, to calm them down. Experts estimate that as many as three per cent of schoolchildren suffer from hyperactivity and 90 per cent of them will end up taking Ritalin.

Many parents are suspicious of such drug treatment, but they do work, according to mum Andrea Bilbow. Her son Joe has suffered since birth from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

"It wasn't naughtiness, his brain was simply in overdrive," says Andrea, 40. "It was very frustrating for us and upsetting for him." Joe, who is now 11, has taken Ritalin since the age of six to stabilise his condition.

And Andrea, who runs The ADHD Support Group, is convinced Ritalin is a breakthrough for young sufferers. "Ritalin is far safer than antibiotics or paracetamol. Joe has been on medication for five years and if he stopped tomorrow he would be back to square one," she says.

But Jean Robb, who runs the Successful Learning Centre in West Kirkby, Wirral, on Merseyside is opposed to the use of drugs.

"We are probably all suffering from a chemical imbalance of some sort, but the key is to teach youngsters to control these moods rather than dishing out drugs," she says.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 1, 1998
Words:224
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