The negative aspects you have mentioned above have been sensationalised somewhat, Yes, Ritalin is a powerful powerful medication and in my opinion medication should always be the last resort.
Changing your child's diet by eliminating (where possible) sugars and preservatives will provide a good start. Implementing routines and a reward system for positive behaviours will also help your daughter to begin to regulate her own behaviour. (For some children where ADHD tendencies are very high, controlling their own behaviours is not possible - it will depend on each child.)
Ritalin does work IF it is the correct medication for the child (Concerta and Strattera are also available), and the dosage is monitored (you should visit your prescribing doctor every 6 months to check the dose is still correct.
Please contact ADHASA at www.adhasa.co.za or (011) 888 7655 and see if there is a support group in your area. It is always beneficial to speak to people who have been through the same processes you are going through and get their views on the mater. Be advised though that most people are either strongly for or strongly against medication - you will need to keep an open mind and make a decision for yourself.
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