During a publicity tour for the War of the Worlds movie, Tom Cruise was critical of actress Brooke Shields taking prescription medication to help her deal with postpartum depression, and had a somewhat heated discussion with Matt Lauer on the use of Ritalin or other pharmaceuticals for children with ADD.
Part of why I thought Tom Cruise was wrong is that he did not seem to value treatments that do not lead to a cure. My son developed insulin dependent diabetes when he was 7; he needs daily insulin injections to stay alive and keep his body as healthy as possible. Diabetes is treacherous, unpredictable, and can be immediately fatal. Insulin is not a cure, and as a treatment sometimes works too well. Other times, it does not work well enough. But with insulin, my son has a chance at an ordinary life where he can show us who he was meant to be, and what he can achieve. For some women sinking into postpartum depression, and many children with ADD or related conditions, medications that are now available may be just as important.
Mothers, and especially moms of children with special needs, take on enough responsibility, guilt, and stress without having to worry about what a movie star thinks about the choices they make in giving themselves and their children the best possible life, or just a more ordinary life. Taking care of themselves is not often Job One.
I believe that Brooke Shields has a great deal to contribute to the world, through her talent and vocation, her education, as well as through being a mother. I feel that many children with ADD and other conditions who have great potential for achievement have found certain medications helpful, when the challenges of their condition have put academic and social success out of reach. These are treatments that give them opportunities to live their lives well until a cure is found, and to positively interact with other people.
I understand that Mr. Cruise was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child, and he believes he had ADD, but is beyond both. I have read that his mother had very strong feelings against him using the medication that was recommended by their doctors when he was a child. He's a very passionate and energetic person, dedicated to helping others where he can, but many people seem to feel he is charging down a path without regard to any consequences. There is great concern that individuals influenced by his passion will regret decisions they make for themselves and their children.
It could be that his outspoken behavior has a positive effect for many families. Some children are misdiagnosed, and prescribed medications are inappropriate for them and others. But Tom Cruise might have done more to advertise the prescription medications available for treatment for ADD by his discussion with Matt Lauer than all the drug companies combined, especially if mothers recognize the symptoms that their children share with him. And they may discover one of those medications does benefit their sons and daughters.
I hope his remarks do energize discussions on all the topics he introduces. I also hope that many more people become aware of Brooke Shield's book because Tom Cruise has mentioned it.
Tom Cruise, Postpartum Depression and ADD
Update - War of Words Articles - Tom Cruise
You Are Here Tom Cruise, ADD and Postpartum Depression
Medications and Herbal Treatments for ADD/ADHD
How Uncomfortable is Your Child?
How Uncomfortable is Your Child?
ADHD, Medications, and Cardiovascular Events
Moms Under Stress
We welcome discussion of any of these topics at the SNC forum at
Bella Children with Special Needs Discussion Forum
ADD Resources - Family Village
Postpartum Depression Resources
New Mother - Newly Diagnosed Child
Seeds of Compassion
Resources for bringing compassion into your community, home, family, school and workplace
PACER Bullying Prevention Resources
Browse in your public library, local bookstore or Amazon.com for books like:
This Isn't What I Expected : Overcoming Postpartum Depression
Baby Blues - Postpartum Depression
The ADD Answer
ADD and ADHD Answer Book
All About Attention Deficit Disorder : Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment: Children and Adults by Thomas Phelan
ADD Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life
The Gift of ADHD - How to Transform Your Child's Problems into Strengths
The Gift of ADHD - Activity Book
The Edison Gene - ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child
Making ADHD a Gift - Teaching Superman How to Fly
The ADHD Affected Athlete