ADHD (ATTENTION DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER) AS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT This research paper will discuss what ADHD is and why it is that there are those who think it was invented instead of discovered. It will also investigate the reasons why social construct theorists believe that the diagnosis of ADHD does more harm than good and actually diverts from the real issues that children face in their development in this day and age. Also explored will be the case against the social construct theory and why some who argue that the social construct theory is viable are ignoring a very real and possibly debilitating mental disorder. Despite the fact that ADHD is constantly in the news for one reason or another, there is no consensus on what it actually is and as more time goes by and more information is collected the more confusing the topic. Since ADHD has no definitive way of being diagnosed then the question remains what it is that is being treated and why medication is being prescribed, sometimes for life, for something that cannot be proven to fundamentally exist? Is this diagnosis simply as a result of the changing times or the fact that as a society will are all expected to conform to a standard set of behavior or else deemed lacking in some way? Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a common psychiatric condition that affects both children and adults. It is more likely to be diagnosed in childhood and in more boys than girls are said to have this disorder. There is debate as to whether children can outgrow their symptoms or whether it continues into adulthood or whether it is just a behavioral problem that will just go away as more adults than every are being diagnosed. Symptoms of ADHD include but are not limited to: hyperactivity, lack of concentration, day dreaming, impulsiveness and restlessness. In ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) the individual is usually described as a daydreamer and in AHD (attention Hyperactive Disorder) the individual is deemed restless or high spirited. Treatment for this disorder range from increased exercise and a diet that does not include carbohydrates and sugar to medicinal intervention in the form of methylphenidates and amphetamines such as Ritalin or Adderall. There is no one test for ADHD – a diagnosis is reached upon by the doctor after having had parent and teacher reports and from interaction with the child or adult. One of the main reasons that the diagnosis of ADHD remains so controversial in many medical circles is the fact that there is no one definitive way in which to test for it. Most of the time the conclusion that an individual (usually a child) has ADHD is as a result of parent reporting and/or teacher intervention. Some would argue that this makes the whole process subjective instead of objective and therefore does more harm than good especially since once a child is put on medication it is recommended by many doctors that he/she continues to take it into adulthood as the symptoms will not decrease or stop over time. Considering the fact that the pharmaceutical industry has a lot to gain from recommending the prolonged usage of drugs for ADHD and there are no studies showing the effects of the long term use of the methylphenidates and amphetamines commonly used, it is only natural that there should be queries into whether the disease actually exists or if it is possible that it could be something else all together. Although there are many who say that the conclusion that hyperactivity is relative and opinion may thus vary from one medical practitioner to another there are those that say there is evidence that it is present in some who have ADHD and the proof is in the brain structure and function and in the DNA composition. This combined with environment leads to what is known as ADHD because it is a multi faceted disease and to try and pin it down to just one cause would be futile and would result in tunnel vision as far as treatment goes. There is evidence to...
References: Barkley, R. A., Cook, E. H. Jr, Diamond, A., et al. (2002) International Consensus Statement on ADHD. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 5, 89 –111.[CrossRef][Medline]
Schachar, R. & Tannock, R. (2002) Syndromes of hyperactivity and attention deficit. In Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (4th edn) (eds M. Rutter & E. Taylor), pp. 399 –418. Oxford: Blackwell.
Timimi, S. (2002) Pathological Child Psychiatry and the Medicalization of Childhood. Hove: Brunner-Routledge.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document