ADHD and Medication Essay Example
ADHD and Medication Essay Example

ADHD and Medication Essay Example

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  • Pages: 5 (1136 words)
  • Published: November 21, 2016
  • Type: Essay
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The teacher of a five-year-old boy sends a note home, indicating that he has been misbehaving in class for the third time that week. The teacher suspects ADHD and recommends an evaluation by a pediatrician. According to a national study, 74% of young individuals seeking mental health treatment were prescribed medication, indicating the prevalence of this issue among parents. This raises concerns about whether teachers' observations of misbehavior are leading to excessive medication for children, when it might simply be typical behavior requiring discipline.

In his article titled "Twenty Years of Medicating Youth: Are We Better Off?", Robert Foltz discusses the issue of medicating children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in today's society. Foltz suggests that using medication as a universal solution for this disorder has become a widespread practice. I personally agree with Foltz's vie


wpoint, as it appears that many individuals nowadays are inclined to choose medication instead of considering alternative methods to help children concentrate both inside and outside the classroom.

According to Foltz (31), the medication rate for young individuals in the United States is higher than any other nation. The author suggests that this increase in ADHD diagnosis could be attributed to improved detection technology or a rise in behavioral disorders among children. It is important to mention that medication has become increasingly prevalent as the main treatment method. Foltz discusses different medications, such as stimulants and antipsychotics, used for managing these behaviors.

Advocating for a more relationship-based approach in the treatment of children with ADHD, he emphasizes the need to implement strategies. The consumption of Ritalin in the United States has dramatically increased over

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the years. According to data from the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), in 1990 it was approximately 2,000,000 grams, but by 2011 it had soared to an astonishing 55,550,320 grams - a 25-fold increase and accounting for 75% of the world's Ritalin supply (32). This significant rise is influenced by various factors that determine whether stimulant drugs are prescribed for this disorder. Notably, there has been an increase in diagnoses among children due to the expansion of mental health guidelines for young individuals in the revised edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR).

The DSM-IV-TR has become more complex and comprehensive in diagnosing neurodevelopmental disorders, thanks to evidence-based strategies (Foltz 32). Previously accepted as normal childhood behavior, behaviors like short attention spans and being easily distracted by stimulants now qualify for an ADHD diagnosis (32). Additionally, ADHD can be diagnosed as early as four years old.

In my opinion, it is unreasonable to subject my four-year-old to ADHD testing solely based on what some consider as "wild" behavior. His actions, such as running around and being easily captivated by various things, are typical for a child his age. According to Harvard University's child psychiatry professor Joseph Biederman, neuroimaging methods lack reliability in diagnosing ADHD, despite its classification as a neurodevelopmental disorder in the DSM (32). Unfortunately, there has been an alarming increase in the prescription of medications like Ritalin, Adderall, and Vyvanse for children.

The effectiveness of ADHD medications is still uncertain. Studies show that Ritalin has short-term benefits, but long-term positive effects have not been seen yet. Moreover, educators strongly support medication use in children with ADHD as it helps

temporarily manage disruptive behavior and improve classroom focus.

According to the author, after 20 years of studying and treating ADHD, medications have not consistently been effective in restoring normal functioning or enhancing academic outcomes in affected youth (33). In addition, antipsychotic medications, which were originally intended for adults with psychosis, are now being prescribed to children who exhibit different behaviors (33). These medications were previously only utilized for severe clinical cases in young individuals but have become readily available in today's society (33).

Physicians prescribe these medications due to the neurological pathology seen in children. Why would physicians prescribe medications that were previously only given to extreme cases? Have young people truly changed that much over the past two decades? I believe teachers and parents no longer have the same tolerance levels as before. Additionally, advancements in technology, video games, and various TV shows have an impact on children's behavior. They lack the free time and outdoor playtime that previous generations enjoyed.

Previously, parents and teachers had a stronger bond with children compared to now because of the rise in computer and television usage. The author suggests that troubled youngsters are frequently given medication to handle their problematic behaviors without considering the potential consequences on their mental and physical growth. Foltz's article expresses worries about the effectiveness of this method, causing us to question if our present state is genuinely better. It appears that the response to this query differs depending on individual viewpoints.

Whitaker's analysis reveals that despite the higher prescription rate of medication for children, there has been an increase in mental health problems among children receiving Social Security

funds. He notes that two decades ago, psychiatric drugs began being prescribed to young individuals, resulting in one out of every fifteen Americans entering adulthood with a 'serious mental illness' (34).

The hope is that no child would have to go through any type of "serious mental illness". I am worried about the potential need for my child to be evaluated for ADHD at some point. Currently, it is more prevalent to give medication to children in order to maintain control. Society seems uninterested in investing time in teaching our children appropriate discipline. This is the main difference between now and twenty years ago, as discipline today is approached with more leniency.

Despite the progress we have made in identifying problematic areas of the brain in young people, our treatment strategies primarily revolve around psychotropic medications, while neglecting interpersonal interventions (Foltz, 35). Foltz argues that medications should have a smaller role, with more emphasis placed on building relationships through methods like Response Ability Pathways (35). The current mindset of physicians treating ADHD is focused on medication, ignoring the underlying causes and problems.

The unquestioned acceptance of prescribing medication for children with ADHD is a common practice. However, Foltz suggests alternative approaches to treating the disorder that surpass merely suppressing the emotions and behaviors of these children. While I recognize the potential advantages of short-term medication usage, it is important to stress that in the long term, these medications have been shown to be both ineffective and unsafe (33). This emphasis is crucial because parents, educators, and even doctors frequently perceive these prescribed medications as a universal remedy for ADHD.

Despite the progress in

research and technology and a better understanding of the human mind, it remains essential for researchers to identify the causes behind the rising prevalence of ADHD and other neurological disorders among children. Foltz's support for prioritizing relationship-based approaches instead of medication-based approaches shows potential, leading us to question which entity is accountable for diagnosing our children: doctors, educators, or pharmaceutical companies?

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