Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) seems to be the affliction of this generation of children. It seems more prevalent every year. However, diagnosis criteria for ADHD is so subjective, what qualifies, who qualifies? There is no specific clinical cause for ADHD but it obviously exists. So many questions remain to be answered about ADHD. Are more children really being diagnosed with ADHD annually and is it really on the rise as it appears? Are too many children being wrongly diagnosed with ADHD as an easy way out because of other behavioral problems? And when ADHD is properly diagnosed are we overmedicating our children to make it easier for parents and teachers to cope? How often are other afflictions ignored in favor of ADHD because it's such a popular disorder in today's society? And probably most important of all, how adversely affected is a childТs chances at a normal productive life because of ADHD. I believe given the current understanding of ADHD and available treatments, the medical community is doing a pretty good job as a whole diagnosing and treating ADHD while also attempting to break new ground and do even better.
First, on a personal note, my son was diagnosed with ADHD in 1995, at the age of five. Therefore, ADHD is very dear to my heart. A typical problem for children with ADHD is just trying to make wise decisions. He acts on impulse without thinking of the consequences and of course quite often gets into trouble because of the resulting bad decisions. An ADHD child typically gets into trouble more than the average child does because of this failure to stop and think and foresee the outcome of his choices. Conversely, when he is blamed for something he knows that is not his fault he becomes frustrated and often gives up and quits trying to do the right thing altogether. Which of course multiplies the problem and causes others. We as adults must understand this detrimental impact in handling our children. There are so many ways to redirect that attention to try to help our children avoid those pitfalls. "understanding parents and teachers who provide successful experiences and encouragement and avoid excessive criticism, bolstering self-confidence and leading to a healthy social and emotional development."
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Second, are too many children being diagnosed with ADHD? Are we over-treating out of convenience? The earliest studies conducted in the 60Тs and 70's before specific testing criteria was established placed the percentage of children diagnosed with ADHD at 5%-10%. In numerous current studies with more reliable testing media the amount of children diagnosed with ADHD in the United States varies by study between 4% and 12%. Therefore the amount of children afflicted with ADHD is virtually unchanged in the last thirty years. So apparently ADHD is not on the rise as expected, just more people are becoming aware of it and it's becoming more acceptable.
Third, in a study by the Mayo Clinic, which has almost exclusive access and control of the medical records and treatments for the children of Rochester Minnesota, over-treatment did not appear to be a significant problem either. Specifically their study was to determine if too many children were treated with stimulants to help control their ADHD. Their study showed that 72% of the children in their study diagnosed with ADHD were currently being treated with stimulants. Only 6.1% of those treated were judged by the study to be over-treated and that actually a higher percentage (not given) were actually under treated.
Fourth, like all medical fields, there is slow gradual progress in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. Dr. Jeffrey Bradstreet, a Psychiatrist from Melbourne Florida, is pioneering a promising new treatment utilizing neuro-feedback in the treatment of ADHD and other brain disorders. Dr. Bradstreet just received approval from the Osceola County...