Over the past couple of decades there has been a huge increase in the diagnosis and prescriptions given out for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. According to a news report done by USA Today over the past five years use of ADHD medications have risen 40% totaling 39.5 million individual prescriptions ("New findings," 2009). When statistics like this are seen it is only normal for someone to ask questions. People are becoming curious about the legitimacy of the disorder, and whether or not the treatments being given to individuals are appropriate. The argument seems to be strong on both sides of the fence, but the extensive research done on ADHD leaves it hard for one to believe that it is a made up disorder.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a neurobehavioral development disorder diagnosed by a number of symptoms. An article by Ayesha Sajid, Maria C. Poor, and David R. Diaz states that the history of ADHD goes back to 1902 when physician Sir George Frederick Sill came up with what he called "defect of moral control"(58). Dr. Still saw this "defect" to be something beyond the sufferer's control. Sajid, Poor, and Diaz go on to talk about the disorders terminology changes up to 1980 when it was officially recognized as Attention Deficit Disorder, with or without hyper activity. "ADHD has been defined by Russel A. Barkley as a disorder of response inhibition and executive dysfunction leading to deficits in self regulation, impairment in the ability to organize behavior toward present and future goals, and difficulty adapting socially and behaviorally to environmental demands"(Sajid, Poor, and Diaz 58). Subsequently it has been proven that neurotransmitter Dopamine plays a big role in ADHD's symptoms listed above. It plays a large role in our brains functions including motivation, reward, and punishment.
In Sajid, Poor, and Diaz's article they discuss treating the lack of the neurotransmitter dopamine by using stimulant medications (58). They recognize that stimulants are dopamine agonist which promote the release of stored dopamine(58). Examples of stimulant medications include but aren't limited to Aderall, Vyvanse, Concerta, and Ritalin. Although stimulants are statistically proven to be the most effective form of treatment it is not the only option. There are several forms of non stimulant medications that are used for treatment but not as commonly as stimulants. Beyond medications are behavioral therapies which can be effective in treating ADHD. The USA today article "New findings raise questions about use of ADHD drugs" says that at the three year mark behavioral therapies such as parenting and classroom behavioral therapies catch up to stimulant medication treatment. Consequently there was no evident difference in those who received therapies and those who have been taking medications. Results in studies such as these leave many to think about the appropriateness of stimulant medications.
Today many argue about the risk of long term effect from stimulant medication use. Why not go to alternative treatment methods such as behavioral therapy? And those even more opposed often deny the existence of ADHD entirely. To many it is not a disorder, rather a result of bad parenting, too much sugar, or just the result of an energetic child. It is easy to see how these conclusions can easily be jumped to. A lack of personal experience with the disorder is most definitely a cause for lack of understanding.
Those who have ADHD would be able to tell anyone it is not something that is easy to understand. The constant lack of motivation, concentration, and control aren't symptoms ADHD victims can control. Working in school becomes nearly impossible for some with these symptoms and it is not just from laziness. The lack of the neurotransmitter dopamine effects these parts of the brains functions. These symptoms are something caused by a chemical imbalance rather than by the choice of an individual....
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