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September 1971

The "One Child, One Drug" Myth of Stimulants in Hyperkinesis: Importance of Diagnostic Categories in Evaluating Treatment

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1971;25(3):193-203. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1971.01750150001001

The myth of "one child, one drug" is that "stimulants are the drugs for the hyperactive child." Contrary to this popular myth, there are many types of hyperactive children and stimulants are the drugs of choice for only some of them; furthermore, stimulants may be equally effective, if not more so, in certain nonhyperactive children; they have also been effective in children with minimal or gross brain dysfunctions, as well as those without. The ambiguities and oversimplifications in the literature can be avoided, if we distinguish between diagnoses which define the type of total personality disorder and terms which define major developmental symptoms, including the symptom of hyperactivity and the varying combinations of symptoms called "minimal brain dysfunction." In diagnosing children's disorders, both dimensions are essential.

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