ADHD Medications Versus Side Effects
University of Phoenix
Instructor: Dr. Bernice Parrott
February 2, 2013
According to “ADHD is a problem” (2010), “ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder of childhood. It affects about 3% - 5% of school aged children.” In 2010 the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a study that estimated that 3% to 4% of adults have ADHD. Of these it is estimated that between 8 and 10 million are undiagnosed, with millions more not receiving treatment (Van Pelt, 2010). Paul Lichtenstein of Sweden's Karolinska Institute stated "It's said that roughly 30 to 40 per cent of long-serving criminals have ADHD.” (Kelland, 2012). These statistics illustrate how severely ADHD can affect subject’s lives. Many are concerned about the side effects that come with taking stimulant medications used to treat ADHD. ADHD medications do indeed have side effects; however, the advantages of treatment generally outweigh the disadvantages of negative side effects. This can be seen by examining the symptoms associated with ADHD, and comparing them to the side effects of stimulant medication. Also examining the various ways in which the side effects can be dealt with. There are many symptoms linked with ADHD, these symptoms fall into three categories and can be used to diagnose this disorder. The first category is inattentiveness, or lack of attention, symptoms in this category, as implied, deal with the subject’s inability to focus. Examples of these symptoms are; 1) subject fails to give close attention to details, makes careless mistakes, and is often forgetful with regard to daily activities. 2) Subject does not follow through with instructions, or can be easily distracted, resulting in failing to finish school work, chores, or duties in the workplace. 3) Subject does not seem to listen when spoken to directly. 4) Subject can have difficulty with organization of tasks and activities, often losing assignments or tools needed for tasks. The second category is hyperactivity; these symptoms can be seen in the actions of the subject. Examples of these symptoms are; 1) Subject fidgets with hands or feet, or squirms in their seat. 2) Subject runs about or climbs in inappropriate situations, or leaves seat when remaining seated is expected. 3) Subject has difficulty playing quietly, often having an overabundance of energy, and tends to talk excessively. The third category of symptoms is impulsivity, or impulsive behavior, these symptoms seem to be combinations of the first two categories. Examples of these symptoms are; 1) Subject blurts out answers before questions have been completed. 2) Subject has difficulty awaiting their turn. 3) Subject interrupts or intrudes upon others conversations (“ADHD is a problem”, 2012). Observation of combinations of these symptoms can lead to the diagnosis of ADHD.
There are several different prescription medications used to treat ADHD in both children and adults. Prescription medications used for this treatment are generally stimulants, and are controlled substances. The five stimulant medications used for this treatment are; 1) Amphetamine-dextroamphetamine, otherwise known as Adderall. 2) Dexmethylphenidate, otherwise known as Focalin. 3) Dextroamphetamine, otherwise known as Dexedrine, and Dextrostat. 4) Lisdexamfetamine, otherwise known as Vyvanse. 5) Methylphenidate, otherwise known as Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, and Daytrana. There is a nonstimulant medication available called Atomoxetine, commonly called Strattera (“ADHD is a problem”, 2012). Stimulant medications used for ADHD cause increased levels of neurotransmitters, specifically Dopamine, and Norepinephrine within the prefrontal cortex (Arnsten, 2006). The levels of these two neurotransmitters are thought to be lower in children and adults with ADHD. The stimulant medications used for treatment of ADHD increase the production of...
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