ADHDADHD, a disorder beginning in childhood, characterized by a persistent inability to sitstill, focus attention on specific tasks, and control impulses, contributed by Michael Woods toMicrosoft Encarta Encyclopedia. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is one of the mostcommon mental disorders of childhood. Many children grow out of ADHD by adolescent oradult years, but many do not. Studies show ADHD in adulthood is more severe and may causelong term effects.
Diagnosing ADHD is very difficult, because most children are inattentive, hyperactive, andimpulsive at least some of the time.
When diagnosing there is no blood test, or written test todetermine if ADHD is present. All there is are guidelines and an educated guess. The guidelinesinclude, A disturbance of at least six months during which at least eight of the following arepresent:1. often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat2. has difficulty remaining seated when required to do so3. is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli4. has difficulty awaiting turn in games or group situations5.
often blurts out answers to questions before they have been completed6. has difficulty following through on instructions from others7. has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities8. often shifts from one uncompleted activity to another9. has difficulty playing quietly10. often talks excessively11. often does not seem to listen to what is being said to him or her13. often loses things necessary for tasks or activities at school or at home ( e.g.. pencils )14. often engages in physically dangerous activities without considering possibleconsequences ( not for thrill seeking purposes ) e.g.. runs into the street without lookingThe above items are listed in descending order of discriminating power based on data fromnational field trial of the DSM-III-R criteria for Disruptive Behavior Disorders, contributed Sam& Michael Goldstein to Managing Attention Disorders in Children page11. In order to diagnoseADHD, these symptoms must occur more frequent than children of the same age and must occurin more than one sitting.
90% of ADHD patients take Ritalin, a mild central nervous system stimulant believed tocalm hyperactivity by helping the brain disregard distracting stimuli, ADHD has been estimatedto affect 3% to 5% of school-age children nation wide, with less than 3% actually receivingmedication, said Gretchen LeFever, a pediatric psychologist, on an Internet column. GretchenLeFevers research found that 8% to 10% of children in second through fifth grades routinelytook ADHD medication in school during 1995-1996 school year. LeFever also conductedanother study which she examined records of student enrolled in the second through fifth gradeonce again, but she chose two specific cities this time, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach. She chosethese two cities, because they are the most diverse cities in Virginia, Portsmouth is a small, urban,poor, mostly black district, while Virginia Beach, Virginia is a larger, more wealthy, and mostlywhite district. LeFever and her researchers found that ADHD medication was used three times asmany boys as with girls and twice as many whites as blacks. The researchers also found that theuse of medication increased as the children aged. By fifth grade, 19% to 20% of white boysreceived ADHD medication.
Scientists do not know what causes ADHD, however, they have discredited many theoriesthat ADHD was a result from minor head injuries or undetectable brain damage due to infectionsor complications during birth. Another theory blamed the consumption of refined sugar and foodadditives, a study was done and it showed that very few ADHD children benefited from a specialdiet. Another theory junked was the theory of bad parenting or a dysfunctional home life.
Controversy exists over the diagnosis of ADHD. Physicians in the United Statesdiagnose the disorder more often than doctors elsewhere in the world, contributed MichaelWoods to Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. Researchers examined about 30,000 grade-schoolchildren in two districts in southeastern Virginia and found that pupils took drugs for ADHD inschool at two to three times the expected rate, according to the study in the American Journal ofPublic Health. Its hard to believe this many children have the specific brain-related problemcalled ADHD, said Dr. Louis H. McCormick, a faculty member in the family medicinedepartment at Louisiana State University medical school. He said that his study confirmed thathis suspicion that kids are being overdiagnosed.
Although there is no cure for ADHD, a variety of treatments may help children with thisdisorder. These include medication, counseling, social skills training, and other methods. Drugsare the most common treatment for ADHD and can help reduce symptoms of the disorder. Physicians usually prescribe one of three drugs: methylphenidate (Ritalin), dextroamphetamine(Dexedrine or DextroStat), and pemoline (Cylert). These drugs are normally stimulants, yet theyease hyperactivity and other symptoms in 90% of children with ADHD. The drugs work byaltering levels of neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that transmit nerve signals. A newerstimulant used to treat ADHD, Aderall, combines dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Medicalexperts regard stimulants as safe. The most common side effects include stomachaches, loss ofappetite, nervousness, and insomnia. Drug therapy may slow a childs rate of growth temporarily,but growth usually returns to normal during adolescence. Low doses of stimulants do not cause ahigh sensation, sedate the child, or cause addiction. Experts often recommend that childrentake medication only during school, with medication breaks on weekends and holidays to reduceunwanted side effects, contributed by Michael Woods, to Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia.
Most children with ADHD need more than medication. Drugs only relieve symptoms ofADHD, which usually return when medication is discontinued. Although drugs help a child toconcentrate and complete schoolwork, they cannot increase a childs knowledge, teach academicskills, or directly alter underlying learning disorders or other problems, contributed MichaelWoods to Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia.
There are many ways to treat ADHD without medication, there are several kinds oftherapy, to help not only the patient, but the family too. Therapy helps the patient deal with thenegative feelings that result form their symptoms. Social skills training can help them recognizehow their behavior affects other people and help them develop more appropriate behavior. Because children with ADHD often cause family turmoil, parents and other family members maybenefit from therapy or support groups in which other parents share their experiences. Parentalskills training can teach parents to mange a childs behavior with praise and other rewards, andwith penalties such as time-outs in which a child must sit alone to calm down.
Most scientists think of ADHD as a biological disorder caused by abnormalities in thebrain that control attention span and limit impulsive behavior are less active. Brain structures areaffected in ADHD use dopamine to communicate with one another. Genetic studies suggest thatpeople with ADHD might have alterations in genes encoding either thD4 dopamine receptor,which receives incoming signals, or the dopamine transportor, which scavenges release dopaminefor reuse, from Genes to Behavior ADHD. Also ADHD seems to run in the families, one thirdof fathers who had ADHD in childhood, have children with ADHD. Studies also show that amother who smokes while pregnant, has a child who has ADHD, and that most children withADHD are left handed, and are highly intelligent.
A woman that was interviewed in a 1999 research study said that a child with ADHD islike a devil child. Gwendolyn Corley, a mother of four who has a son with ADHD said that herson is like four children in one. Gwens son, Matthew has many problems, he is dyslexic, and hasa major attitude. He also has no patients at all, so Gwen says. She said her son can never sit still,his hands must also always be moving, and everything is done in a rush. Gwen told the reporterof an incident in the summer, her son took apart the lawnmower, because he was bored, and put itback together, with parts to spare, and the mower still ran. She also stated that he was cleaningout his fish tank, and ended up dropping it on his leg, he had to be rushed to the hospital forstitches, because he was in a rush and didnt pay attention to what he was doing and was verynegligent. Gwen told us that her son has just recently finished probation for an incident she rathernot talk about and that he is no longer allowed to attend public school, he goes to an alternativeschool and is currently on Ritalin to try to help his behavior. Gwen said that she believes there isno hope for her son. ADHD, a disorder beginning in childhood characterized by a persistent inability to sitstill, focus attention on specific tasks, and control impulses, contributed by Michael Woods, toMicrosoft Encarta Encyclopedia. ADHD is one of the most common childhood mental illness, itis very hard to diagnose and is very frustrating for an ADHD parent. ADHD is usually controlledby Ritalin, a mild nervous system stimulant. Due to the fact that there is no true way to determineADHD, it is often a misdiagnosis of a child acting like a child.
Works CitedADD, What causes ADD?, 1997, Netscape Navigator 22 November <http://go.drkoop.com/wellness/mental_health/attention_deficit_disorder/page_341_826.asp>.
ADD/ADHD, Diagnosing ADHD/ADD in Children 1999, Netscape Nvigator22 November 1999.
ADHD Medications, Are Medicines OK for My Child? 1998, NetscapeNavigator 22 November 1999,<http://home.healthcenter.com/english/brain/adhd/medicate.htm>.
Corley, Gwendolyn, interview, December 9,1999Flick, Grad L. Ph.D ADD/ADHD Behavior-Change Resource Kit WestNyack, New York: 1998Glodstein, Sam and Michael, Managing Attention Disorders in Children.
Canada: 1990 John Wiley and Sons Inc.
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ADHD Essay. (2019, Apr 21). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/adhd-2/