Diagnosing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


ADHD is categorized as an illness that is common amongst children, but the good news is that it is treatable. ADHD entails brains substances that are biologically active and has the potential to affect a number of brain parts that find use in planning ahead, problem-solving, impulse control, and comprehending the actions of others (Dulcan 88). According to the AACAP (American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry), before a child can be declared to be suffering from ADHD, there are certain characteristics that they need to manifest. To start with, such behaviors need to manifest themselves before the child reaches the age of 7 years. In addition, the symptoms that the child exhibits require being a handicap when a child is planning, in the classroom, within the community, at home, and in social settings (Mayes, Bagwell and Erkulwater 157). Amongst children, ADHD is a psychiatric disorder that is commonly diagnosed and studied in children. ADHD makes a majority of the day-to-day activities that we are more likely to assume, far more difficult. The true cause of ADHD has over the years eluded medical practitioners, causing a number of them to suspect abnormal fetal development, toxins, diet, injury, and even poor parenting skills as some of the probable causes of this condition (Dulcan 91). However, many of the practitioners have now made an observation that ADHD is more likely to come about due to faulty genetics. Doctors are quick to diagnose children with ADHD and medicate them. The majority of the time, parents of these children push for a quick diagnosis to make up for their lack of effective parenting skills.

Are doctors too quick in diagnosing children with ADHD?

The possibility that ADHD could be overdiagnosed has turned into a controversy. Such an allegation has remained a thorny issue considering that politics and money play an important role in both the diagnoses as well as the treatment of ADHD. Undoubtedly, the question of whether or not ADHD is diagnosed hinges upon an individual’s outlook. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, between 5 and 10 percent of the children in America usually are diagnosed as suffering from ADHD (Dulcan 92). Whereas diagnosing children as having ADHD may be alright, what may not be in order is when such a practice is undertaken in a hasty manner, and then medicating these children. In other words, the era’s concern should be whether doctors and parents alike are ensuring that the child with ADHD gets the right treatment. Nearly 90 percent of the children that are suffering from ADHD are known to be taking medication to treat this condition, in a bid to contain those symptoms that are often manifested by this disorder.

Medication meant for ADHD might be legal, although, in the actual sense, they do contain a number of stimulants that are regarded as illegal, such as cocaine, and methamphetamines. Accordingly, where these medications are meant to offer treatment to the children, at the same time, they result in undesirable side effects to the patients. Some of these side effects of ADHD medication include stunted growth, appetite loss, and insomnia. There is also the possibility that the child might be afflicted by far more serious side effects, such as hallucinations and in extreme cases, death (Nair, Ehimare, Beitman, Nair and Lavin 619). The issue of money and politics comes in at this point. There have been isolated cases in which some doctors have released research findings on ADHD in children to reflect the wishes of the pharmaceutical companies that had funded such studies. In such a scenario, a doctor could be quick to make a diagnosis of ADHD in children, owing to the monetary benefits that would accrue as a result of increased diagnoses, as it would mean more revenues for pharmaceutical companies. Medication is not the most effective form of treatment for ADHD. Such behavioral interventions as family therapy, with special emphasis on strategies for managing the condition, have been found to be far more effective. In addition, individual therapy is yet a better behavioral intervention when compared to the use of drugs. In this case, the main focus is on the behavioral change of the child.

Do parents push for a quick diagnosis to make up for their lack of effective parenting skills?

It is very easy to attribute behaviors manifested by children that are diagnosed with ADHD as emanating from poor parenting. Although in a majority of the instances ADHD is regarded as being hereditary, this is not an indication that the condition is a result of poor parenting skills. This, however, has not served to convince some parents that the behavior being manifested by their children is not due to their poor parenting skills, such as not being there enough for the children when they are needed (Elia, Ambrosini and Rapoport 784). Nonetheless, there is the possibility for parents to create an atmosphere at home that would help their child with ADHD cope better with the condition (Zwi, Ramchandani and Joughin 75). Although it has not been documented that poor parenting skills play a part in the quick diagnoses of children for ADHD, nevertheless, these are several parenting practices that have the potential to bring about complications associated with the condition, not to mention the level of success of the treatments adopted.

Work cited

Dulcan, M. “Practice parameters for the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry”. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 36.10 (1997): 85S–121S

Elia, J, Ambrosini, P.J, and Rapoport, J. L. “Treatment of attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder”. N. Engl. J. Med. 340. 10 (1999): 780–8.

Mayes, R, Bagwell, C, and Erkulwater, J. (2008). “ADHD and the rise in stimulant use among children”. Harv Rev Psychiatry, 16.3 (2008): 151–66.

Nair, J, Ehimare, U, Beitman, BD, Nair, S.S, and Lavin, A. (2006). “Clinical review: evidence-based diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in children”. Mo Med 103.6 (2006): 617–21.

Zwi, M, Ramchandani, P, and Joughin, C. “Evidence and belief in ADHD”. BMJ 321.7267(2000): 975–6.

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