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Mom Withholds Kid's Meds for Pageant

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One mom on the reality series "Toddlers and Tiaras" controls her daughter's ADHD medication for maximum pageant prowess.

Pageant circuit moms are notorious for pushing their kids to win NO MATTER WHAT -- unbelievably, even if it means nixing their medication so they won't appear sluggish on the catwalk.

Melissa Demyan, mom of 7-year-old Lindsey, appears in the latest season of TLC's "Toddlers and Tiaras." The super-tanned mom readily admits that her daughter's ADHD is "off the charts." That doesn't stop Melissa from only medicating her Lindsey so she can concentrate at school. Come pageant time, Melissa wants her little contestant bouncing off the walls -- so Lindsey gets no meds. 

We were horrified to hear about this kind of "medicine manipulation," so we asked pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson to shed some light on this practice. "It is not uncommon for doctors to prescribe meds for school days only," says Dr. Natterson. "There are many families who use ADHD medications selectively."

Although Dr. Natterson believes parents should not be judged on how a child is dosed, she does find it "disturbing to hear a mother describe withholding medication so that her daughter can have more energy for a pageant."

What do you think of Melissa's practice of keeping her kid peppy during pageants?

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8 comments so far | Post a comment now
Heather October 13, 2009, 7:10 PM

PROOF: That only serves to prove the point that psychiatric drugs are prescribed for profit. For teachers ease and profit, for the psychiatrist’s agenda and profit, and for the mother’s selfishness and profit. It is disgusting.

ADHD drugs have been shown to cause suicidality (just type in Gabriel Myers into a google search), psychotic hallucinations, as well as various other side-effects known to come from STIMULANT drugs. ADHD drugs are basically speed in a legal coating. This type of behavior is disgusting and NOT OK. Stop this before it is too late for our next generation., or

Jenny October 14, 2009, 9:44 AM

I have ADD, diagnosed when I was four and put on Ritalin until I was 14 and refused to take it anymore. It caused terrible headaches and stomach aches daily, it also caused me to stop growing, when I would go off of it during the summer vacation I would grow inches during that time.

My own daughter has hyperactivity issues and I choose to treat her through diet. Taking out the artificial flavors, colors and preservatives (the Feingold Diet) has made a huge difference and when she does on occasion eat something artificial she is bouncing off of the walls.

Mary Anne McLaurin Norwood October 14, 2009, 9:45 AM

As Dr. Natterson states, it’s not uncommon for medication to be prescribed for school days only. It’s most commonly prescribed for daytime use. What would be highly uncommon is for a doctor to prescribe a PM dose for pageant purposes considering that most pageants held at night. Unfortunately, this mother sheds a dim light on medicating. My guess is that she hasn’t considered that there isn’t a PM pageant dose included in her daughter’s 30 day prescription. My second guess is at some point in the future, this mother will be giving her daughter a PM pageant dose to help her daughter remain calm and poised during the pageants.

Heather, I am so glad that you’ve read an article against medicating ADHD. You are correct in stating that ADHD drugs are basically speed in a legal coating. Amphetamines especially stimulate people without ADHD, however, it has the opposite effect in people with ADHD. Read this article again. The mother is withholding medicine so her daughter will be “peppy” rather than calm. From what I gathered from your response, you’ve been extremely fortunate to have not experienced first hand the consequences of neurological disorders or mental illness. Do you have any idea just how blessed you are? I am envious! Unfortunately, this disqualifies you from drawing an truly informed opinion. Regardless, all pharmaceuticals carry risks. These risks must be weighted in comparison to an improved quality of life. ADHD is a neurological disorder that is improved through medication. The majority of patients with neurological disorders and mental illness find a greatly improved quality of life via pharmaceuticals.

Pete October 14, 2009, 10:08 AM

Boy lot of ignorance & stigma of ADHD here. Kids and adults with ADHD don’t need ADHD medication when they’re doing THEY find interesting, we can hyperfocus for hours at things we like.

ADDers use meds to help them focus when they have to do boring repetitive things.

Heather is writing for a scientology front organization CCHR who are against psychology, psychiatry and think scientology should take care of mental health instead of trained mental health professionals

ADHD is not legal speed for people with ADHD. It slows us down where it may speed Non ADDers up. ADHD meds aren’t addictive to adders, we often forget to take our ADHD meds.

how many cocaine addicts forget to take their cocaine?

michelle October 14, 2009, 11:25 AM

I’m surprised that no one else pointed this out yet. The ADHD meds part is just the icing on the cake. The fact that this woman is making her daughter do all this pageant stuff (which exploits and sexualizes kids, prevents them from experiencing a normal childhood and leaves them with lifelong issues resulting from being forced to perform like a trained monkey) is what makes her a bad parent. The ADHD medication thing is just another symptom. She wants to control her daughter’s activities and moods to feed her own narcissism. A lot of the other pageant moms are doing the same thing to their own poor children, without meds.

NedNoD October 19, 2009, 1:02 PM

I agree with Michelle.

On the ADHD note - I have it, my psychologist diagnosed me and suggested prescriptions to which I turned down. She pretty diagnosed me at the age of 23, so I figured that I have survived this long with out the meds, I will be fine. My mom summed up my hyperactivity when I was young as being a kid - ‘Go outside and play!’ So I ran around the woods and would drag home all sorts of things. Sure, I’d get easily distracted, but I’m entertained. On a side note- the more coffee you put into me the more calm I am, so I have been self medicating with coffee for years. I have never had problems focusing on work or school, but then again, I would draw all over everything (college) and never take notes (I aced almost every class and test, I absorbed info like a sponge). I think a lot of kids are over medicated because parents just don’t want to deal with them anymore. And the pageants- I find those to be repulsive! Sexualizing children! Nothing says to a growing girl ‘I’m nothing more than an object’ than being told that her merit is based solely on her looks (and some cheap dog tricks she’s learned along the way)

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