Ritalin and Its Effects on Children

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Thesis: Today there is a great debate concerning the diagnosis and treatment of ADD/ADHD and who has the right to decide what happens.

It is estimated that between 3 and 12 percent of the population has to deal with conditions known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). This equals approximately 3 million children in the United States alone. Both of these disorders (ADD and ADHD) exhibit the same traits leading them to be lumped together. Children affected by ADD or ADHD have behavior and emotional problems. Trouble concentrating on simple tasks, a short attention span, failing to give attention to details, and disruptive behavior are a few of the problems resulting from these disorders. These disorders are also found more often in boys than girls by approximately a 3 to 1 ratio (About ADD/ADHD). Today there is a great debate concerning the diagnosis and treatment of ADD/ADHD and who has the right to decide what happens.

One might ask, what causes ADD or ADHD? The symptoms of ADD and ADHD are thought to be caused by a neurological dysfunction within the brain. PET scans of the brain have confirmed a significant difference in brain function between those diagnosed with ADD and ADHD and an unaffected person. However, not many of these tests have been done because the PET test involves an injection of a radioactive material into the body (About ADD/ADHD). It is also hypothesized that one of the neurotransmitters is malfunctioning or lacking in people with ADD and ADHD. The specific one is not yet known. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals messengers used for communication within the brain and throughout the body (About ADD/ADHD).

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