Treating ADHD takes more than medicineDeborah Lamb's...

LETTERS

June 27, 1996

Treating ADHD takes more than medicine

Deborah Lamb's excellent letter about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and the out-of-control 6-year-old boy brings up issues not only about ADHD but also about mental health care in general.

ADHD is not a label to be tossed about lightly. As Ms. Lamb indicates, it may often be combined with other disorders; careful diagnosis is required. Medication may help about 70 percent of genuinely ADHD children. Choice of medication, adjustment of dosage and timing of administration must be painstakingly addressed. Medication alone, however, is not enough. Cognitively oriented psychotherapy for the child and counseling for the parents are essential parts of effective treatment. At least one managed care organization presumes to meet these needs by coverage for a one-hour total for diagnosis, followed by four 15-minute periods yearly "for medication adjustment." Period.

With other mental and emotional problems, too, medication alone is not enough. As Jerome Frank and others have shown, psychotherapy helps people; Kay Redfield Jamison, M.D., a manic-depressive, says medication ''makes psychotherapy possible . . . psychotherapy heals.'' The availability of psychotherapy has been shown to reduce the use, and thus the cost, of other medical services. Yet insurance tends repeatedly to treat this area as one in which to cut coverage even further, as Medicare now proposes to do in Maryland because in Maryland mental health services are utilized.

Mary O. Styrt

Baltimore

Slavery series will win Pulitzer Prize

Please let me be among the first to congratulate The Sun for authorizing the ''Witness to Slavery'' series of articles.

Please also allow me to be among the first to congratulate Gilbert A. Lewthwaite and Gregory Kane for their outstanding journalistic work, and be among the first to congratulate them on being Pulitzer Prize awardees, which will soon follow.

Again, my sincerest congratulations to The Sun and to your writers.

Alleck A. Resnick

Baltimore

Stadium should be built with style

Our new football stadium is a one-time venture, so build it with style and feeling.

The idea of using the sides of the stadium to reflect our city's wonderful ethnic diversity makes sense. Murals done in tile would make it viewer friendly and inviting.

Look at the Lee Electric Building on Russell Street and its transformation with the painting of that magnificent whale.

For those who remember the grand iron facade of the demolished News-American building on Pratt Street, could not a part of the exterior be a replication in style?

At the sky-box level, will we have a Poe's Pub or a Raven's Roost, and like the old Belvedere Owl Bar, have a Raven to welcome you? That would certainly say, "Welcome to Baltimore and the Ravens!"

Good luck, and waiting for opening day.

Eileen O'Connor

Baltimore

Clinton criticism of tobacco wrong

Why in the world is President Clinton taking on the tobacco industry and Bob Dole by touting the adverse side effects of smoking? Has he forgotten that the experience is not nearly as serious as he makes it out to be, for not everyone inhales?

Eric Ostergaard

Baltimore

Will cost more to take SSI away from addicts

By June 28, all 2,338 recipients of SSI and SSDI in Maryland whose disability stems materially from substance abuse will have received letters from Social Security informing them that their benefits will stop on Jan. 1, 1997.

This action results from the passage of P.L. 104-121, which was signed into law by President Clinton on March 29. This law further stipulates that no one whose disability is materially caused by substance abuse will be added to the SSI rolls after March 29. What effect is this law likely to have on the taxpayers of Maryland?

First of all, there be an immediate savings of at least $13,186,320 by cutting off the cash benefits. Then there will be a savings in lower Medicaid costs because these benefits will also stop. On the surface it looks like the taxpayers will be saving a substantial sum, although no one is expecting a tax reduction just yet.

But wait. The taxpayers are left to deal with 2,338 drug addicts who will have no income and no means to receive treatment for their disease. According to one estimate by the University of Maryland Center for Substance Abuse Research, in 1997 these untreated addicts alone will cost Maryland taxpayers $45,478,776 in costs attributable to crime, the criminal justice system, incarceration, increased medical care and lost productivity.

This new law is going to cost Maryland a bundle. In 1995, the total cost of alcohol and drug abuse in Maryland came to $5.6 billion, a figure which is sure to rise.

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