Why I’m Upset at Netflix’s New Documentary “Take Your Pills”

5 · 05 · 21

Controversy sells, and the media knows it. So a lot of what we see, read about, and hear about ADHD and ADHD treatment either misrepresents the facts or is flat-out meant to scare us.

Netflix’s new documentary “Take Your Pills” (interview w/producers: https://youtu.be/L-cq_HKdQwc) is no exception. This is why I’m upset: Despite bringing up many legitimate concerns, the film contributes to the confusion, stigma and fear around stimulant medication — many of the experts included either don’t have a background in research, directly benefit from spreading fear & misinformation about ADHD treatment, or speak on subjects outside their area of expertise.

This is a problem, because — as this study found (https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cap.2012.0087) — “Inaccurate and sensationalized media reports surrounding ADHD and its treatments [have] a major impact on parental decision making” when it comes to treatment.

Fortunately, a TON of research has been done on stimulant medications, so you and your doctor can decide what’s right for you or your child based on facts, not fear.

This is Dr. Hallowell’s full response to “Take Your Pills:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6hhH8zkFfM&feature=youtu.be
Dr. Hallowell is a psychiatrist and leading ADHD expert who’s written over 20 books on ADHD, including “Driven to Distraction” and “Delivered From Distraction” and is finishing up his memoir, which you can pre-order here: http://www.drhallowell.com/free-sample-chapter-dr-hallowells-memoir/

Remember, documentaries aren’t peer-reviewed. And not all research studies are created equal.

Here’s a guide to understanding research studies:
http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-ADHD/About-ADHD/The-Science-of-ADHD/Understanding-Research-Studies.aspx

Here are some reliable sources of information about ADHD and ADHD treatment:
ADHD facts: https://add.org/adhd-facts/
What we know about the long-term effects of ADHD medication: https://childmind.org/article/know-long-term-effects-adhd-medications/
Why dosage matters: https://childmind.org/article/is-your-child-getting-the-right-medication-dose/
Types of ADHD medication: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/treatments-approaches/medications/types-of-adhd-medications
Why stimulants help ADHD (Sci Show, includes research):

“Getting Ahead of ADHD” by Dr. Joel T. Nigg (fantastic book on treating childhood ADHD, includes non-medication options & talks about meds starting p224): https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Ahead-ADHD-Next-Generation-Treatments/dp/1462524931/ref=mt_paperback?_encoding=UTF8&me=
The difference between the effect of amphetamines & methamphetamines: http://www.jbc.org/content/284/5/2978.full.pdf
What actually causes addiction? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao8L-0nSYzg
And here is a systematic review that includes 69 recent (2011-2016) studies related to ADHD treatment: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0098860/

Citations:

Kemper, A. R., Maslow, G. R., Hill, S., Namdari, B., Allen LaPointe, N. M., Goode, A. P., … Sanders, G. D. (2018). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Diagnosis and Treatment in Children and Adolescents. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK487761/

Clavenna, A., & Bonati, M. (2017). Pediatric pharmacoepidemiology – safety and effectiveness of medicines for ADHD. Expert Opinion on Drug Safety, 16(12), 1335–1345. https://doi.org/10.1080/14740338.2017.1389894

Merkel, R. L., & Kuchibhatla, A. (2009). Safety of stimulant treatment in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Part I. Expert Opinion on Drug Safety, 8(6), 655–668. https://doi.org/10.1517/14740330903279956

Merkel, R. L. (2010). Safety of stimulant treatment in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: part II. Expert Opinion on Drug Safety, 9(6), 917–935. https://doi.org/10.1517/14740338.2010.503238

Swanson, J. M., Arnold, L. E., Molina, B. S., Sibley, M. H., Hechtman, L. T., Hinshaw, S. P., Abikoff, H. B., Stehli, A. , Owens, E. B., Mitchell, J. T., Nichols, Q. , Howard, A. , Greenhill, L. L., Hoza, B. , Newcorn, J. H., Jensen, P. S., Vitiello, B. , Wigal, T. , Epstein, J. N., Tamm, L. , Lakes, K. D., Waxmonsky, J. , Lerner, M. , Etcovitch, J. , Murray, D. W., Muenke, M. , Acosta, M. T., Arcos‐Burgos, M. , Pelham, W. E., Kraemer, H. C., , , Severe, J. B., Richters, J. , Vereen, D. , Elliott, G. R., Wells, K. C., Conners, C. K., March, J. , Cantwell, D. P., Gibbons, R. D., Marcus, S. , Hur, K. , Hanley, T. and Stern, K. (2017), Young adult outcomes in the follow‐up of the multimodal treatment study of attention‐deficit/hyperactivity disorder: symptom persistence, source discrepancy, and height suppression. J Child Psychol Psychiatr, 58: 663-678. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12684

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