Attention Deficit Disorder has become a prevalent diagnosis among children, adolescents, and even adults in recent years. There is much debate as to the origins of the symptoms and how best to treat them. Some research shows that the symptoms which fall under the umbrella of an ADD diagnosis have been around always and even played a role in human ingenuity and our evolution as a species. Some of these “symptoms” helped shape the world we live in for the better. Treating them with therapies and medications just to allow people to conform and fit in better is really just detrimental to the growth of the human species. Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary defines ADD/ADHD as: “a persistent pattern of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, or both, occurring more frequently and severely than is typical in those at a comparable level of development. ADHD is the most commonly reported neurobehavioral disorder of childhood. The illness may begin in early childhood but may not be diagnosed until after the symptoms have been present for many years. The prevalence is estimated to be 3% to 5% in children; 4% in adults .”(Venes) Take a look at some of the “symptoms” generally associated with Attention Deficit Disorder. Three common symptoms or characteristics of ADD are hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. These can be seen as problems in today’s children when they are being asked to sit in a classroom and listen quietly, but in the grand scheme of survival, they could actually be great benefits. Survival skills can be applied on a fundamental individual level, but also in a broader sense to create a thriving, growing society.
Hyper-activity is basically defined as increased motor activity. While this may make it hard to sit quietly in a chair, it does allow for constant movement. This level of energy allows the ability to constantly explore the surroundings. In a survival situation this translates to the ability to discover threats and benefits. It can be a useful skill for anticipating danger and recognizing opportunities (Jensen et al.).
Inattention, or rapidly shifting attention can also be known as scanning. This trait may make it difficult to listen to a long lecture or read a research paper, but it is a skill that leads to vigilance necessary to survive. Scanning allows a person to monitor both dangerous situations and potential opportunities or benefits (Jensen et al.). It has been shown that species raised in lower threat environments tend to develop less scanning behaviors than those raised in high threat environments (Jensen et al.). This shows that scanning has been a trait across species that is a developed survival skill.
Impulsivity can be considered as taking a quick response to an environmental cue, without considering the consequences or possible alternative responses (Jensen et al.). This may seem like a detrimental trait. And it’s true that this trait can have potentially bad outcomes, especially in today’s society of political correctness. Some responses are instinctive or reflexive for all humans. Other responses or reactions can be learned. We tend to base our reactions and decisions on past experiences and the results of those past actions. Those with impulsivity may take the first action available, rather than fully assessing the situation. In the case of survival, when facing a potential danger, it may be better to react immediately, even if it is not the best action, than to not react at all (Jensen et al.).
While the symptoms are identifiable, the causes for the presence of ADHD have not been absolutely determined. There are biological indicators that may be the underlying cause of the symptoms. There are some specific regions of the brain which seem to function differently in brains with ADHD than in brains without the diagnosis. “The past two decades have ushered in a new era of methodological advances in