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Our Children and Adhd

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OUR CHILDREN AND ADHD
AMANDA WENTZEL
COLUMBIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY

Abstract
ADHD also known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a condition that is near to my heart. My 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD at age 6. We have struggled with this since day one. I have researched ADHD, the protocol for diagnosing ADHD, coping with ADHD and of course treatment methods for ADHD. It has came to my attention that ADHD is becoming diagnosed more frequently and that children are sometimes misdiagnosed with ADHD and subsequently treated for the condition and it may be unnecessary. ADHD is becoming common yet the diagnosing method is pretty vague and the medications for this are sometimes harmful if not needed. There are other forms of treatments and there are also coping skills and lifestyle changes that can be beneficial for those who have ADHD and their families. I researched some of these other methods and the facts on ADHD. I have found some interesting information that I hope will help others that deal with this diagnosis. This paper states actual facts and it is my intention to help others understand ADHD and know the facts surrounding the diagnosis and treatments.

People are becoming more and more familiar with ADHD and it seems to be being diagnosed more frequently. First things first, what is ADHD? ADHD is abbreviated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is diagnosed by symptoms. One of those symptoms is the inability to focus and maintain attention. Forgetting things , poor short term memory, and being easily distracted are also symptoms. Another main symptom is being hyperactive. Being restless and fidgety and the inability to sit still fall under these symptoms. The method of diagnosing ADHD is sometimes under fire because some of the ADHD symptoms may actually not be ADHD. There is room for more research on the diagnosing method. There are also different subtypes of ADHD that we will discuss in detail later on. After being diagnosed with ADHD a treatment plan comes into play. A lot of doctors prescribe medications but there are other forms of treatment that may not come with all the side effects of medicine. We will also discuss medication treatments and other treatments methods. Another point to be made is Doctors currently have no knowledge of what causes ADHD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder also known as ADHD is on the rise in children these days. The article A.D.H.D diagnoses worry doctors, tell us that 11 percent of U.S. Children have been diagnosed with ADHD. It also states that boys are more likely to be diagnosed than girls and 1 in every 5 boys has been diagnosed with this. Doctors are becoming more and more alarmed at the number of increasing diagnoses and there are some that say it is because more people are finally recognizing ADHD and there are some that say our children are being misdiagnosed. This article also states that they want a better balance between the actual diagnosis and the way it is diagnosed, in hopes that children may not be being misdiagnosed. Being misdiagnosed can have an alarming factor as well, it can lead to abuse of the medications used to treat ADHD. These medications affect everyone different and a child will normally have to take several months worth of different medicines until they find one that fits them. However, if a child has been misdiagnosed this can be detrimental to the child. This is another factor that is alarming doctors.
Facts about ADHD can be found at www.cdc.gov. This website provides a wealth of information concerning this disorder. It gives us signs and symptoms of the disorder and also gives us a list of treatments for ADHD and other resources to help us in diagnosing and treating this disorder. This website also gives us information on the method that diagnoses ADHD. There is not a special blood test or a needle poke that will tell us if our children have ADHD it is a process and can take some time. There is debate about treating ADHD with medications and this website is brief on that topic. It does however give us a lot of useful information for the children that have been diagnosed and it is helpful for parents that believe their child may have ADHD.
Another article Easing ADHD with meds touches on alternative ways to manage ADHD after diagnosis. Medication do not work for everyone and some do not want to medicate their children. This article is a great resource for giving ideas and alternative methods for the treatment of ADHD. It gives us recreational ideas and therapeutic ideas that can be helpful instead of using medication. These treatments may also be used with medications if needed. It informs us that lifestyle changes is a big factor in these types of treatments and in order to use these types you have to put the effort in on making changes. Parents, teachers, and counselors can all play a huge role in these types of changes.
The FDA website gives us key information on the types of medications used to treat ADHD. All medications that are FDA approved are listed and give a comprehensive summary of each of them. This gives great information for parents that want to do their research before deciding to medicate their children for this condition. The website also lists side effects and all aspects of the medication. It gives facts about studies that were done on each medication and that gives parents a clear picture of what they may expect if their child takes that medication. This website is very important for any parent that needs medication information on ADHD.
Again, ADHD is becoming common in children and the more we learn about it and the more we work together we can help ease the pain of these types of diagnoses. They are stressful for the parents and the children and can be stressful for others as well. If ADHD is diagnosed it needs to be explained well, the methods of treatment should all be laid out for the parents and the schools and the children if old enough should have a say as well on how they should proceed. This can be a very trying and emotional time for parents and children and the more abundant information that is available the smoother the transition can be. ADHD is becoming more and more recognized as well and the diagnoses rate is climbing. More studies need to be done to enhance the diagnosis procedures and to diagnose with very minimal amounts of doubt to ensure that children are not taking medications that they do not need. ADHD can create so many other problems in a child’s life as well as the parents life. This needs to be taken more seriously and be more precise. New studies are done all the time and they need to continue. There are so many websites, books, and articles on ADHD it can be overwhelming. Some give us great information and others just touch on brief parts but if someone has a child that is diagnosed with ADHD they will want all the facts that they can find. Great research is key. Getting all the facts and then reasserting those facts. Everyone is different and everyone takes a different stance on ADHD. Some people think it is not even a real concern and others are concerned that it has become too real. Anyone affected by ADHD needs to have as much information as possible and a plan in place and also a back up plan. No two people are alike and if left untreated it can cause serious problems for children later on in their life. My concern is the way ADHD is diagnosed, the medications that are used in treating ADHD and are we over diagnosing? I will research these facts and provide facts on each.
ADHD has come along way. It needs to be taken more seriously when diagnosed and the diagnosing scale needs to me a little more meticulous, just to be on the safe side. Some of the problems with diagnosing is it takes a team to diagnose. Parents, physicians. Teachers and sometimes therapists as well. It takes too long and some of the same ADHD symptoms are symptoms for other conditions that are similar that may not need medication. There are several holes in the way it is treated and diagnosed. Research is key in providing better information in the future for ADHD.
ADHD is a very common disorder these days and sometimes is the cause of debate. Some of the issues up for debate is what actually causes ADHD, how do we determine ADHD as a diagnosis and how do we deal with it? Some say ADHD is a behavioral issue while others say it simply doesn’t make sense at all, that it is just kids being kids. According to the CDC website ADHD is a neurodevelopment disorder of childhood. The website also states that ADHD is one of the most common disorders of childhood. Children who have ADHD have trouble paying attention and they have trouble controlling impulsive behavior. They may also be hyperactive. In some children these behaviors are normal but children that have ADHD do not outgrow this type of behavior and it can follow them into adulthood. According to the CDC ADHD comes in different types. Predominantly inattentive presentation, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation and combined presentation. The first presentation is when a child is easily distracted, the second is when a child is fidgety and overly active, the last presentation is a combination of both.
The causes and risk factors of ADHD are currently unknown. Some research shows that genetics plays a role. Scientists are studying other possible causes such as brain injury, alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, low birth weight and other potential risk factor. As of this date the actual causes are still unknown. Diagnosing ADHD is a several step process. There is not one single test to come to a diagnosis of ADHD. A medial exam including hearing and vision screening, a checklist for rating the symptoms of ADHD and a history form from parents, teachers, and on occasion the child themselves all are determining factors in making a diagnosis. As you can see, the method of diagnosing is not concrete and some of the symptoms of ADHD can also be the symptoms for other issues such as anxiety or depression. More research needs to be done on the diagnosing scale to prevent unnecessary diagnosis. www.cdc.gov
If a diagnosis is made, treatment is the next step. ADHD cannot be cured, there is no cure. It can however be successfully managed. There are different options for managing ADHD and they do not all include medication. Medication is however effective in some children. Other options are coping skills for the parent and the child, behavioral interventions and of course medications. Stimulants are the most widely used treatment. Non stimulants have also been approved and they do not seem to have as many side effects as stimulants. Behavioral therapy is an important part of treatment as well and can be used in combination with medication. Routines, avoiding distractions, limiting choices, and using goals and rewards are all effective means of behavioral therapy.
Doctors are becoming more alarmed at the number of children that are diagnosed with ADHD these days. The numbers are rising and so are the number of prescriptions for ADHD. This is also becoming a problem as the medications are being misused. More and more parents are wanting to medicate just so their children will sit still and behave. This can have detrimental consequences. Diagnosing ADHD has also become a short cut to better grades and better focusing but it comes with alarming side effects. Doctors are diagnosing the milder symptoms of ADHD and prescribing medication for a quick fix. Not all diagnoses have full merit. 6.4 million children between the ages of 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD at some point during their life and 2/3 of those children are prescribed medications. Schwarz, Alan, The New York Times, A.D.H.D.” Diagnoses worry doctors” These numbers are alarming some doctors and diagnosis and treatments are becoming cause for concern.
No doubt ADHD is real and it is common but there are other treatments besides medication. As I stated before, behavioral interventions are a form of treatment. Parental programs and teacher programs can be very beneficial. Lifestyle changes are also beneficial to some children and their families. Healthy living can help some maintain focus and exercise has been implemented in maintaining focus as well. Sleep is another lifestyle change that can be beneficial. Extra half hour of sleep has been studied in 34 children ages 7-11 and that study showed noticeable results and the same study also produced better behavioral results in the children that got the extra half hour of sleep. Clay, Rebecca A., Easing ADHD without meds
ADHD and all the debates and controversy is real. The ones that are suffering are the children. More research needs to be continual so that we are not over-diagnosing or over-medicating these children. The problems are real and we need a real solution. Children that are medicated are showing signs of improvement and are able to maintain focus and make better grades. Some of them are even behaving better but children that are not medicated receive those same results with interventions and therapies. Every child is different and what works for one may not work for another. Every attempt should be made to find the balance for each child affected. ADHD is serious and causes concern for other problems later in life.
In conclusion, I propose that all parents with children that have been diagnosed with ADHD do their research and find the best possible treatment that fits their family and child. All our children are different but it is what is in the best interest of each individual. Medications are an option for some but the same results can be achieved without it for others. It is important to keep up to date with all the new developments with ADHD and all the new treatment options available. ADHD is growing in this country and with that the research needs to grow as well. Our children are our future and we want what is best for them. ADHD will not go away but we can effectively manage it and continue to find better ways of coping with it and treating it. There is no cure but together there are many options out there and support is a great thing to have when dealing with the pressures of ADHD. Be cautious of medications and know all the facts and be open to other treatment options, they can be beneficial to some.

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Retrieved July 7, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov

Cowan, Psy.D, D. (n.d.). “What is ADHD?”.

U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. (n.d.). Retrieved July 7, 2014, from http://Www.fda.gov

Schwartz, A. (n.d.). Diagnoses worry doctors. The New York Times.

Clay, R. (n.d.). Easing ADHD without meds.

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