ADHD - Rush Hour: and what if we were wrong about these children?
by Camillo de Marco
- The Stella Savino documentary, being distributed in Italy from today by Microcinema, tackles the pressing issue of having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Zachary, a handsome, blond-haired American boy, one day says to his mum: “I’m not a real person.” At school, his teacher has told the other pupils to act as if he’s not there so that they don’t get distracted. At first, Zachary can’t manage to sit still or to concentrate. The others learn; he does not. After several visits to a neurologist and psychologist, a diagnosis is made: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Zachary is one of the main characters in the documentary ADHD – Rush Hour [+see also:
film profile], directed by Stella Savino, which is being released by Microcinema in Italian cinemas today. Shot in both Europe and the USA, in genetic and cerebral imaging labs, and in university and primary-school classrooms, the documentary brings to light a scientific and human debate by combining the voices of experts along with those of children, teenagers and their parents.
For more than 50 years, the scientific community has been debating the precise definition of ADHD. In the US as well as in Europe, the syndrome is treated with the aid of psychoactive drugs: atomoxetine or methylphenidate pills that have numerous awful side effects. The first substance triggers hallucinations, suicidal tendencies and causes serious liver damage. The second is an amphetamine, classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration in the US to be in the same category as drugs such as heroin, morphine and cocaine.
The film, co-produced by the Italian company Pertner Media Investment and the German firm Propeller Film, shows us that in America, summer camps with care facilities have been set up which offer behavioural therapy so that children don’t have to resort to taking medication. That said, 90% of children who are diagnosed with having ADHD, often hastily, end up taking psychoactive drugs sooner or later, something which only really benefits the big pharmaceutical companies.
From tomorrow, Stella Savino, accompanied by the film’s producer, Andrea Stucovitz, will meet the public in cinemas across Naples, Rome and Milan. You can find a list of cinemas here where ADHD – Rush Hour is showing.
(Translated from Italian)