Friday, July 01, 2005

Maybe Tom Cruise Isn't Crazy After All

Like the rest of the free world, I've been scratching my head over Tom Cruise's recent desperate attempts for attention. I don't buy the fairy tale romance with Katie Holmes, for instance, especially after his divorces from Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman. (He was really, really, really in love with them, too.)

But when I saw him battling it out about psychiatry and prescription drugs with Matt Lauer last week, I had a change of heart. The guy went whacko on Matt, shouting him down about psychiatry being a pseudoscience and, "Do you know about Adderall, Matt? Do you know about Ritalin?"

And Matt, instead of remaining calm and asking, "I guess I don't, Tom. Why don't you tell me about them?" got defensive. He didn't question Cruise about why he objects so strenuously to psychiatry. Later on in the broadcast, Al Roker remarked that Tom Cruise had been "rude" to Mr. Lauer. Maybe. But Matt definitely lost control of the interview.

When Tom was beating Matt over the head about psychiatry and prescription drugs, he reminded me exactly of a man I know who, as a child, had learning disabilities, and is now angry about the treatment he suffered as a result. Teachers told his mother he needed counseling, but they didn't harbor high hopes for him. In desperation, his mother traipsed him in and out of psychiatrists' offices, took him to "learning specialists" (ha!), "focusing doctors," and on and on and on.

None of them helped. They put him on Ritalin. It didn't help.

Today, through his own determination, the man is a college graduate and has worked, quite profitably, for the same company for almost 15 years. He owns an apartment in Manhattan and is a good deal more successful than the little bastard who used to taunt him on the Pee Wee soccer team.

So, when I see Tom Cruise freaking out about Ritalin and psychiatry, I wonder if he once had a similar experience. I have read that he suffered from learning disorders and dyslexia.

As for his comments about Brooke Shields, I don't agree.

But, interestingly, an AP report in yesterday's Newsday revealed that the FDA plans to strengthen warnings about Concerta, the slow-release version of Ritalin, because a routine review found more psychiatric reactions to the drug than had been previously stated.

Those reactions? Suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, and violent behavior.

This is especially interesting to me because both my children have been diagnosed with ADHD and were prescribed Concerta, after our pediatrician reassured us that Ritalin has been "used safely for 30 years."

I wonder if Matt Lauer will pick up on the AP report that seems to vindicate Tom Cruise. In the meantime, I'll tear up my children's prescription for a Concerta refill.