The Appropriate Choice: Stimulant Medication for Children with ADHD
Sam is a nine-year-old boy who has just entered the third grade. While his classmates listen to directions, he is constantly fidgeting and cannot seem to sit still. He consistently receives poor marks for both conduct and academics, as he grasps the concepts of easy tasks long after his peers. Sam will frequently blurt out comments at inappropriate times, interrupting the flow of classroom instruction. Because of this, his behavior is detrimental not only to himself, but to the other children in his class as well. His teacher is showing concern and has been advising Sam’s parents that he should see a learning disabilities specialist because she is under the impression that he may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Sam’s parents, who want him to receive the support he needs, are hesitant, however, to take him to see a physician because they fear that he will be prescribed medication. They are aware that stimulants are often authorized for children, but believe they are too harmful and that other forms of treatment would be less dangerous. Do Sam’s parents have a right to be apprehensive about the use of stimulants in children diagnosed with ADHD? Or are they just simply uneducated and misinformed about this method?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 3-7% of school-aged children are diagnosed with ADHD. Although the disorder is technically incurable, these children learn to cope with symptoms through a variety of different treatments. These include the use of stimulant medications, psychotherapy, counseling, behavioral modification and neurofeedback (Jacobs 87). To discover which treatment is the most effective, a concise explanation of each, along with their individual regimens, is needed. Next, I will address the belief that ADHD is not a real disorder by providing scientific evidence. Subsequently, I will consult various sources of information to describe the symptoms and the way in which children typically react to each method. Finally, both the advantages and disadvantages of stimulant medications will be assessed in order to identify why it is the most beneficial approach to managing a child with ADHD. Even though the other types of treatment can be helpful for ADHD patients, stimulant medication is the most advantageous antidote because it is long-lasting, inexpensive and has proven to be the most effective in terms of concentration improvement, behavior refinement and educational success.
To better comprehend the disorder as a whole, a brief explanation of ADHD and an overview of treatments are necessary. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition involving inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity or a combination of all three, which affects both adults and children but is much more prevalent in the latter. It is a mental disorder whose symptoms include: difficulty sustaining attention, poor listening, procrastination, chronic boredom, high distractibility, restlessness, excessive talking, impatience, forgetfulness and poor organizational skills (Pliszka 7). Because there is no single test used to diagnose one with the disorder, it can be exceedingly difficult and time-consuming for a psychiatrist or psychologist to conduct a proper evaluation. The evaluation is comprised of parent and teacher questionnaires, a psychological evaluation, IQ testing, a complete developmental and psychosocial examination and computerized assessment exercises. Once a child is determined to have ADHD, a treatment plan is then implemented that is individualized for the child. Often, this plan will include stimulants. The use of stimulants is more widespread than psychotherapy, behavior modification, neurofeedback and counseling. Psychotherapy, counseling and behavior modification all involve talk therapy, which teaches children how to modify the way they think and act and illuminates therapies that enable them...
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