Attention Deficit Disorder is Over diagnosed If a child has attention deficit disorder then the child has attention deficit disorder, but if the child does not have attention deficit disorder, and a person goes down a yellow brick road to correct the malady under the pretense that attention deficit disorder is the focus, and the attention deficit disorder medications and therapy are the cure, then do not be disappointed with the results. Attention deficit disorder is a syndrome of disordered learning and disruptive behavior that is not caused by any serious underlying physical or mental disorder and that has several subtypes characterized primarily by inattentiveness, primarily by hyperactivity and impulsive behavior, or by the significant expression of both (Webster 11-12-00). Attention deficit disorder is over diagnosed. Many people believe that attention deficit disorder is a disease, when attention deficit disorder is really only a behavior (Hales 120).
Children who can not sit still because they are bored a reconsidered to have attention deficit disorder. Einstein, Ted Turner, and Bill Gates should all have been considered to have had attention deficit disorder if the diagnosis of attention deficit disorder is as simple as saying that a child is bored and can not sit still. The fact is that attention deficit disorder is over diagnosed and harmful medications used to treat the condition are overprescribed. The "Urban Myth" of doctors handing out Ritalin like candy to an abounding mass of misbehaving but misdiagnosed non-attention deficit disorder children appears to be true (Baughman 11-12-00). Part of the problem is that the diagnosis is based on patient history and observation, without any laboratory or radiological confirmation (Silver 130). Since attention deficit disorder is over diagnosed, children who do have attention deficit disorder are left with the difficulty of getting the appropriate treatment and management they so desperately need.
Everyone needs to remember that all wiggles of small children are not always symptoms of attention deficit disorder. Anxiety and depression can mimic the symptoms of attention deficit disorder which is an immense uncertainty (Barisic 11-12-00). Not only can other conditions mimic attention deficit disorder, but some people would even say that individuals are trying to medicate away what are essentially normal childhood behaviors. This speculation is proven true especially for very active little boys.
Over the past few years, the number of children and adolescents referred to professionals for attention deficit disorder has dramatically increased. Three to six percent of school aged children are diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (Silver 107-108). One to two percent of adult men and women in the United States have been said to have attention deficit disorder and three to ten percent of children are diagnosed with attention deficit disorder in the Untied States, with three quarters of them boys (Hales 338). Not a single one of the five to six million children in the United Sates who have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder bears unbiased evidence of a physical or chemical abnormality establishing proof that they are diseased, other than the fact that the children are normal (Baughman 11-12-00). All children commonly lack persistence, lack attentiveness, are impulsive, and are constantly restless (Parker 209). Physicians in the United States misdiagnose attention deficit disorder more readily than doctors elsewhere in the world (Encarta 11-12-00).
Many problems a person may face mirror the behaviors and diagnosis of attention deficit disorder and it is, many times, easier just to say a person has attention deficit disorder than look for the real cause. In short, attention deficit disorder probably has received much more attention than it deserves in recent years. This extra attention has lead to a perception of over-diagnosis, which may or may not be based on fact. Parents and teachers should look carefully at the child before making any rash decisions about labels. Also, individuals need to stand for children with attention deficit disorder who really do have the syndrome, and also help those kids who may not "be attention deficit disorder", but are still struggling for whatever reason. Teachers around the country routinely push pills on any students who are even a little inattentive or overactive (Parker 60).
Teachers are well meaning individuals who have the best interest of their students in mind, but when they see students who are struggling to pay attention and concentrate, it is not their responsibility to diagnose the child, but to bring information to the parents' attention so that parents can take appropriate action. The majority of teachers only push pills and do not provide appropriate information so that parents can seek out suitable diagnostic help. Being on the front lines with children, teachers need to collect information, raise the suspicion of attention deficit disorder, and bring the information to the attention of parents. After the teacher provides sufficient information, the parents of the child need to have a full evaluation conducted outside the school (Parker 60). In most cases, the "suspicion" is proven faulty (Parker 61). The symptoms of attention deficit disorder must be present in school and at home before a diagnosis is made; teachers do not have access to sufficient information about the child's functioning at home to make a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder or, for that matter, to make any kind of medical diagnosis (Barisic 11-12-00).
There are a number of unprofessional "diagnoses" being made by people who are not qualified to make any such medical judgment. Many teachers, parents, grandparents, and others compare childhood behavior to what they have heard on the morning talk shows and automatically make the connection that the child must have attention deficit disorder. Thankfully, these well intentioned but misguided people are not allowed to prescribe medications. Children who are under stress or in abusive situations can look like they have attention deficit disorder. As adults, people learn to more or less compartmentalize their lives. If adults do not learn to separate their lives, then they at least learn how to fake life a lot (Parker 93).
Children do not have this ability. Trouble at home means trouble for the student at school. Divorce, illness, or even just the normal uncertainty of childhood may all contribute to attention deficit disorder-like behaviors. Some children are being diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder with insufficient evaluation, and in some cases stimulant medication is prescribed when treatment alternatives exist (Hales 156). There is evidence of widespread misdiagnosis of attention deficit disorder and widespread overprescription of medications by physicians.
Attention deficit disorder manifests itself in many ways and may vary with the individual (Silver 109). Attention deficit disorder is one of the hardest disorders to diagnose. The symptoms must exist in at least two separate settings (Encarta 11-12-00). The symptoms should be creating significant impairment in social functioning, academic functioning, or relationships (Parker 62-65).
Common symptoms of attention deficit disorder may include, but are not restricted to: forgetful, disorganized, , defensive, mood swings, sleep disorder, social conflicts, easily frustrated, low self esteem, immaturity, impulsive, lacks leadership, often loses things, may engage in dangerous activities, interrupts conversations, off during conversation, day dreams, anxiety, hyperactivity, poor reading skills, reversals of letters, poor handwriting, poor spelling, and poor math skills (Silver 324). There are many children who truly do not have attention deficit disorder but have many of these symptoms. The primary medications, which are (Ritalin), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), and pe moline (Cy lert), are stimulants that produce a high-intensity rush of euphoria in most people. Those with attention deficit disorder, however, have a paradoxical effect, aiding in concentration and reducing restlessness (Silver 115). Because patients do not feel euphoria or develop tolerance or craving, there is little danger of drug abuse or addiction. Although, there is a big danger in using medications such as, dextroamphetamine, and pe moline when treatment is not necessary (Silver 116).
"These drugs are mind-altering drugs. And in the case of Ritalin, it's a drug almost identical to cocaine -- goes to the same receptor site in the brain, causes the same high when taken in the same manner," Dr. Mary Ann Block states (CNN 11-12-00). Researchers have found that medications for attention deficit disorder are given to nineteen to twenty percent of boys by the time the boys are in the fifth grade, which is dangerous because the drug can be so addictive (Barisic 11-12-00). When indicated, children with attention deficit disorder are best advised to stick to proven treatments involving a multi-modal approach with behavior management, counseling, education, and medication (Parker 315). Prescribing medication to children with attention deficit disorder has been a controversial topic in the United States for decades.
Children with attention deficit disorder need structure and routine more so than medication. In a sense, establishing structure and routine is a form of behavior therapy. Behavior therapy in a more formal sense may be useful to prevent a particular kind of aggressive or disruptive behavior that occurs in a few specific circumstances (Parker 123). Applying therapy to all the situations in which symptoms of attention deficit disorder appear would be impractical, so why should physicians give treatment to those without the syndrome also? Only fifty to ninety percent of children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder will be helped by medication (Parker 123).
If only fifty to ninety percent of children are helped by medication, just think of what the medication is doing to the children who are not diagnosed properly. The self-esteem of a child who has to take medication to "live properly" is lowered, especially when the child does not even have a disorder such as attention deficit disorder. Bad parenting and lack of discipline by parents is essentially the cause of attention deficit disorder. All that children with attention deficit disorder really need is old-fashioned discipline, and not any phony therapies. There are still those who believe the century-old anachronism that child misbehavior is always a moral problem of the " bad child." Under this model, the treatment has been to "beat the Devil out of the child" (Baughman 11-12-00).
Fortunately, most individuals are more enlightened today. By simply providing more discipline along with other interventions improves rather than worsens the behavior of children with attention deficit disorder. One can make a handicapped walk by applying discipline. Similarly, one can make a child with a biologically-based lack of self-control act better by simply applying discipline alone (Hales 172). What is now most often described as attention deficit disorder cannot only be a misguided remark or misdiagnosis because someone is not familiar with the condition, but also can be a misdiagnosis just because it is always easier to say a child has attention deficit disorder rather than dealing with the true problem. Attention deficit disorder and harmful medications used to treat the condition are overprescribed.
Just because a child is antsy and quick to anger does not mean that he or she has attention deficit disorder. It is easy to see how some would confuse a depressed child with one who truly has the disorder, but that is where parents need to be open to all possibilities of the child's problems and be prepared to do what it takes to effectively treat what is really wrong. For children who truly have attention deficit disorder, Ritalin and other medications have been very effective, but the drug is not at all effective for those who do not have the disorder. The drug only makes matters worse. Bibliography. Barisic, Sonja.
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