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Autor: anton • December 2, 2010 • 3,353 Words (14 Pages) • 276 Views
Term paper on Does DD/ADHD Really Exist?
Some of the most common words moving around in the psychiatric circle are attention Deficit; hyperactivity; Ritalin; ADD, ADHD. These words are being most commonly being discussed by most educators, physicians, psychologists and young parents in the society today. In spite of extensive advancements in technology which has brought new insights into the brain and learning, there is still a lacuna in the field of problems faced by children who are unable to remain focused on task given to them in the classroom owing to their inability to pay attention.
While the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association) put forth a list of behaviors which predominantly fall in the category of ADD and/or ADHD, many researchers still maintain that there is no set way to diagnosis or develop a treatment program to these disorders which will be guaranteed to work. At the same time there are another set of researchers who maintain that these disorders actually do not exist at all. However, in the real world, parents and educators still continue to struggle with the task of coping with children who are hyperactive and who have very low attention span and whose behavior often interferes with schooling and family life. [Armstrong, 1997]
Introduction: Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are two types of psychiatric disorders applied to children as well as adults who time and again display certain distinctive characteristic behaviors over a period of time. The most common behavioral indications are that of distractibility or very low attention span to a particular task; impulsivity or in some cases hyperactivity which are shown through excessive activity as well as physical restlessness.
According to the 1994 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association, the primary behaviors symptomatic of ADHD include persistent difficulty sustaining attention and concentration, inappropriate activity levels, impulsivity and distractibility.
Those suffering from ADHD exhibited over a period of six months, six of nine behavior patterns indicative of problems sustaining attention, organizing around tasks, remembering and completing assignments or six of nine behaviors indicative of difficulties sitting still, being quiet and waiting patiently before responding. [Divoky, Schrag. 1975]. These behaviors appear in at least two different settings (such as at home, in school, in peer group activity), and are usually present in children before the age of 7, and is considered disruptive to normal function.
It is indicative through several data that approximately 4% to 6% of the US population suffers from ADHD. This disorder is not only restricted to children but usually persists throughout a person's lifetime. As much as one-half to two-thirds of children who have this problem continue to have it even in their adulthood which usually affects their job, their family as well as their social life. [Griss, 1998]
The DSM-IV (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition) indicate some common symptoms of ADHD which include lack of giving attention to details or tendency to make a lot of careless mistakes; not able to concentrate on a particular thing or task for long; not listening to someone talking to him/her; unable to follow instructions carefully or correctly; unable to remember important things; always feeling restless and wanting to do some physical activity all the time; talking excessively and not able to wait for his/her turn and wanting to finish things then and there. [Kohn, 1989] Some people might show indications of all the above symptoms whereas others might show few or more than these. The exact nature and severity of the disorder usually varies from person to person.
Research shows that ADD and ADHD is not caused by reasons like family problems, school or teacher problems, too much of TV viewing or diet. However, the exact cause of the problem is yet unknown. Some researchers claim that it is caused due to minor head injuries or damage to the brain which again is not proven as a huge majority of people with these symptoms has never had any kind of head or brain injury. Another section of researchers claim that sugar as well as additives in food makes children shows the symptoms of ADD and ADHD. [Merrow, John]
However, most recent research indicate that ADHD is caused by biological factors which control the various neurotransmitter activity in certain parts of the brain and which is usually associated with genetic factors. Thus there is indication that this problem usually runs in the family. Research findings indicate that if a person in a family has ADD or ADHD then there are 25% to 35% chances that another family member also may show indications of the problem. [Patterson, 1997]
Pharmaceutical companies are making enormous amounts of money as a combination of medication, therapy and counseling has been proven effective in treating this disorder. Stimulant medicines like Ritalin, Dexedrine, Adderall have been most effective for most people suffering from this problem. Couple with this, the behavior therapy and cognitive therapy also show effective results and has been of great benefit to the people suffering from this disorder. Through these methods they are able to manage problem behaviors, develop coping skills in the form of improving organizational skills and improving productivity. [Reid, Maag,. Vasa ,Vol. 60, No. 3, pp. 198-214.]
Though ADHD has been recognized under federal legislation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Americans With Disabilities Act; and the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act as a mental disability, extensive debate is underway to find out whether ADD and ADHD really exists among people or is it just a myth.
It needs to be first analyzed on what actually causes ADHD. Extensive research over the years indicates that ADHD is a hereditary problem. According to Dr. Russell Barkley, the gene called the DRD4 repeater gene is the main causing factor of ADHD. This gene is also responsible for the personality trait in a person. Research is still underway to find out the other related genes which might also be causing this disorder. It is also believed that dysfunctional families / environment of the person are also a causing factor for the disorder. However, not all children with ADHD come from such families.
In the past few years, new mechanisms as well as techniques for studying the brain have been developed which enables