Dr. Jim Spencer
West Virginia State University
4 May 2012
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is a developmental disorder that is believed to affect about 3 to 5 percent of children globally and diagnosed in about 2 to 16 percent of school aged children (National Institute of Mental Health). Also, 30 to 50 percent of those diagnosed will continue having symptoms into adulthood and it is estimated that 4.7 percent of American adults live with AD/HD (NIMH). Although most healthcare providers accept AD/HD as a genuine disorder, there still remains controversy regarding diagnosis and treatment which is being debated in the scientific community. Although it found controversy in the lack of sufficient data on long-term use of medications, the US National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) supports the validity of the AD/HD diagnosis and the efficacy of stimulant treatment.
Introduction Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) is becoming the highlight of many controversial debates. Each year more children as well as adults are being diagnosed with these medical conditions. Despite the fact that many doctors question the authenticity behind its diagnoses, AD/HD can have a negative effect not only on the patients themselves, but to the families and loved ones who have to endure the behavior produced by the patients. According to the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM -IV-TR), Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder has three subtypes: predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, predominantly inattentive, and combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive. Each subtype requires six or more symptoms in order for a diagnosis to be given. The symptoms of AD/HD, which must have been present before age 7 years according to the DSM-IV, include: failure to give close attention, making careless mistakes in school work or other tasks, work is often messy, difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities and often find it hard to persist with tasks until completion, does not follow through on requests or instructions and fail to complete schoolwork, disorganized, not listening to others, and not following details or rules of games or activities. Along with AD/HD, there is attention deficit disorder (ADD) which is no longer commonly used. Nonetheless, both are considered deficit disorders. However, they have one primary difference. For example, attention deficit disorder (ADD) usually describes patients that show signs of constant day dreaming and forgetfulness. On the other hand, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) includes the same symptoms as ADD but includes hyperactivity to describe the patients seemingly out of control behavior.
Is AD/HD an actual medical condition, or just a convenient excuse used by irresponsible adults to explain their misbehaving children? Professionals will give many different answers to this question. For example, Russell A. Barkley argues that AD/HD is a self control problem more than it is an attention deficit disorder. He states that "normal" people are able to get themselves under control while individuals suffering from AD/HD cannot do so. Also, basic math difficulties and language delays could be a sign a child has the disorder.
Also, Steven W. Garber states that medication does not help individuals with AD/HD or ADD. In fact, the author goes on to say that medication does not make them feel happy, it does not teach reflective thinking, and it does not teach how to control where to focus attention. A person must learn to accomplish these tasks without having to rely on medication in order to control the disorder. Garber acknowledges AD/HD and ADD as medical conditions, but has a different view on how they should be treated. Another example of someone with a different opinion is Beverly Eakman who