Is ADHD Real?
High school sophomore April Ferguson takes on one of the big questions about ADHD.
Since 1985 scientists have diagnosed children and adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is one of the most common mental disorders found in children. It has caused much controversy all over America. Is ADHD real or something made up? Do pills really help? Why are there so many people misdiagnosed with ADHD? There are many reports that say ADHD is not real, and many reports that say it is, so who is right? This behavior disorder affects three to five percent of all children. What is strange is boys are two to three times more likely to be affected by ADHD (http://telosnet.com/review/adhd_1.html).
So is it a coincidence that boys are more likely to have ADHD? Does it have anything to do with the fact that boys are sometimes more wild then girls? The reason for this is girls’ brains mature earlier then boys, which makes boys ADHD more apparent to parents and doctors then girls’ would be. Disabilities like ADHD and Learning Disabilities are very difficult to understand because doctors can’t just do a blood test on them and know they have ADHD or a Learning Disability. It takes multiple tests and qualified doctors, which are not always easy to find.
Why is this disorder so common? One reason may be that children these days get less and less discipline. Another could be that we are learning more and more about brains everyday and are now starting to realize what’s going on in a person’s head. ADHD affects an estimated 8% to 10% of school-age children (http://isagenics.org/health/adhd). Why are these numbers so high? One reason may be that doctors often forget that there could be an auditory processing disorder such as dyslexia and autism. Many doctors believe that ADHD is over diagnosed and is a problem in America today. The late Sydney Walker, a psychiatrist and neurologist, once said, “They’re hyper not because their brains don’t work right, but because they spend most of the day waiting for slower students to catch up with them. These students are bored to tears, and people who are bored fidget, wiggle, scratch, stretch, and (especially if they are boys) start looking for ways to get into trouble,” (http://www.newswithviews.com/Turtel/joel3.htm). It may not be that ADHD is getting more popular, but doctors are just writing prescriptions more easily to patients.
Understanding what ADHD is and how to treat it is very important. Doctors and adults need to be able to understand what the difference between ADHD symptoms as opposed to a child just acting out. When a child has ADHD he or she has a difficult time paying close attention to details or avoiding careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities. In addition, ADHD children have a difficult time remembering many directions giving to them at once. Last but not least, ADHD children tend to fidget with their hands and feet and may even squirm when seated.
There are multiple ways to diagnose a child with ADHD. One way to determine if a child has ADHD is to ask about the child’s history, especially with older children teenagers and adults. There are some tests specialists will use such as psychometric assessments which are used to assess mental abilities. These tests could measure things such as a child’s reading ability, IQ or speech (http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/adhd). Even though ADHD is very difficult to diagnose, with certified doctors, it can be done.
ADHD seems incredibly difficult to diagnose and treat, but there are multiple prescription drugs to take such as Adderall, Concerta, Vyvanse and finally, Ritalin. One of the issues with these pills are they are very expensive, even with insurance. In addition, they have some side effects such as decreased appetite, sleep problems, headaches and jitteriness (http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-medical-treatment). The reason ADD/ADHD pills are so expensive are the major medical companies such as Janssen-Cilag which makes Concerta has a patent on the pills, therefore, they have created a type of monopoly on the drug. (http://campaignfortruth.com).
The goal of taking ADHD pills is to help the core signs and symptoms of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Even when taking the ADHD pills, there are other options the patient can do to help prevent his or her ADHD behavior. Taking the child or adult to behavior therapy is very beneficial for them as it will benefit the child and the family and help everyone understand and gain control of the stressful feelings related to ADHD.
ADHD has come a long way from its first diagnosis in 1985 to the present day. The problem is why are the numbers of ADHD diagnoses getting higher and higher every year? In the last ten years ADHD diagnoses have increased by 66 percent (http://psychcentral.com). In 2000 6.2 million children and teens under the age of 18 were diagnosed with ADHD. In 2010 10.2 million children and teens under the age of 18 were diagnosed with ADHD. Are these numbers getting higher because doctors are getting better at catching what ADHD behavior is or is it that being diagnosed with ADHD is getting easier every year? Which one do you think is right? You be the judge.