Meditation & Mindfulness as a Treatment for ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has quickly become one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders for children and adolescents in America today. There is a growing amount of research that indicates this is an issue of significant proportion. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in ten children in the United States are currently diagnosed with ADHD. The condition of ADHD has been defined as a behavioral disorder connected with impairment in cognition as well brain alterations (Zylowska et al 2008). Research indicates it is a multifaceted behavioral disorder prejudiced by a multiple of environmental and genetic factors with assorted elements contributing to the clinical presentation (Haydicky, Wiener, Badali, Milligan & Ducharme 2012). Symptoms of ADHD can be extremely varied. Some children show behavior problems in school and at home. These symptoms include, not complying with parents or teachers (non and compliance), being hyperactive, being impulsive, showing aggression, not being able to complete a task, high frustration levels, getting angry very easily and switching suddenly from one activity to another. Children diagnosed with ADHD may forget things easily, may have trouble following directions, or be day-dreamy. They may also fidget and squirm, talk nonstop, run around, want to touch everything, and have trouble with emotion control. As is evident, the symptoms described for ADHD are very broad and many of them seem like normal childlike behaviors. Most children do have a great deal of energy, fidget and squirm, are day-dreamy and have a hard time with impulse control. There is evidence that “creating” the diagnosis of ADHD and including it within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1987 has been the cause of many children being diagnosed with the disorder and consequently treated with a methylphenidate or amphetamine medication (Greenberg 2011). Allen Frances, former lead editor of the DSM-IV states in his 2010 interview with Wired Magazine, “there is no definition of a mental disorder, you just can’t define it.” (2011 p. 10). He goes on to say that “we made mistakes that had terrible consequences.” Diagnoses of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and several other disorders skyrocketed, and Allen Frances believes that his manual facilitated this epidemic inadvertently. Dr. Frances has publically criticized his colleagues for “making up diseases out of everyday suffering and padding the bottom lines of drug companies.” (2011 p. 12). According to the article a former president of the American Psychological Association (APA), who operates his own private practice, was asked in what ways he uses the DSM. He offered a recent example…his secretary asked him for a diagnosis of a patient for an insurance company form. He had not formulated it but came up with one for her. When asked what the value of the diagnosis was he said, “I got paid.” Dr. Ilyse O’Desky (personal communication), a neuropsychologist at St. Barnabas Hospital in New Jersey tests children everyday that have been diagnosed by their primary care physician for ADHD. She says about 50% of the children she tests do not test positively as having ADHD and she recommends that the diagnosis be removed as they have been misdiagnosed. A lot of things look like ADHD, she says, non-verbal learning disorder, dyslexia, executive function deficits or general hyperactivity, or sometimes children just process things more slowly. Many children outgrow the diagnosis by ages 7 to 8 years. All of this information brings into question the very essence of validity of the diagnosis of ADHD as well as the most common treatment, the use of methylphenidate or amphetamine medication (VandeOord, Bogels & Peijnenburg 2011).
Another common treatment for ADHD, besides...
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