Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly referred to as ADHD, poses serious implications for affected individuals and educators. Given a large increase in diagnosis over the past thirty years, professionals and the general public alike are concerned that ADHD is often misdiagnosed. A thorough examination of scientific evidence along with possible assumptions is necessary in determining the legitimacy of these claims. The etiology, the use of drug based treatment, and the effectiveness of alternative treatments for ADHD are all important factors in the consideration of this controversy.
ADHD was first recognized and described by Sir George Frederick Still, an English pediatrician, in 1902. He described ADHD as having core symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity (Connor, 2011). However, it was not until 78 years laters that these symptoms warranted a diagnostic term. The DSM-III, released in 1980, referred to these symptoms as attention deficit disorder (Connor, 2011). The DSM-IV updated this term to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with three subtypes: hyperactive-impulsive, inattentive, and combined. This remains the current diagnosis through the DSM-V update (Halgin & Whitbourne, 2014).
ADHD is a disorder of dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitter function (Voeller 2004). Dopamine plays an important part in initializing working memory. It is also involved in learning, motivation, emotions and goals. Norepinephrine, on the other hand, is important in maintaining alertness and attention. These two transmitters are responsible for everyday functioning and ability to learn new material (Voeller 2004). It is for these reason that ADHD poses a serious threat to the norma...
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...ERSY SURROUNDING ADHD 9
urine of some children with ADHD has been identified as having endotoxins present (Pellow et al., 2011). A supplement of essential fatty acids, such as fish oil, has also been reported to increase attention, improve behavior, and reduce hyperactive (Pellow et al., 2011).
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a prevalent psychological disorder that, if left untreated, can be debilitative to an individual’s life. ADHD has a strong biological causality, but ADHD can also be caused or magnified by environmental conditions. Although both diagnosis and stimulant prescription have dramatically increased in the last few decades, this is not necessarily due to misdiagnoses but rather societal and scientific changes. Stimulants, such as methylphenidate, are effective at treating ADHD but alternative treatments with some success also exist.
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