Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD or ADHD) is an illness that can have severe effects that can therefore be of great benefit to certain people with the diagnosis. It is one of the most prevalent psychiatric illnesses affecting children, but it affects so many adults (Parekh). The major signs of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It is mostly found among school-aged children and it is estimated that 2.5 per cent of adults and 5 per cent of children have ADHD and is common in boys and girls (Parekh). There are a variety of options to cope with the disorder, including treatment. However, when it comes to infants, they are over-mediated in the case of ADHD. The number of children within the United States being treated with the prescription of ADHD has dramatically grown in the recent years (Newmark). According to Newmark, this issue that children are taking ADHD medication unnecessarily has led to concern among some medics, parents and children advocates. According to Journal of Health Economics, as cited by Newmark, researchers found out that the likelihood of youngest children in U.S. kindergartens being diagnosed with ADHD was 40% more. Further, the youngest children were twice likely to be put on ADHD medication than the oldest children in the kindergartens. Some of the common medicines used for children who have ADHD include Adderall and Ritalin (Schwarz).
There are no medical tests such as blood tests or scans done to determine whether one has either ADD or ADHD since they are not medical conditions. Therefore, it could be that there are many incidences of misdiagnosis for children who maybe have shown immaturity or indiscipline behavior. Where the diagnosis is right, the children who have been put under medication could do better with other medications for ADHD with fewer side effects like behavioral and dietary therapies (Newmark). Since there are no lab tests to diagnose ADHD, the only method for its diagnosis is gathering information through checklist filled by teachers, parents and other people close to the child. It is likely that when filling the checklist, people might give information that is not entirely correct or factual. Even for the doctors, they use medical evaluation to rule out other medical problems. Again, there is a possibility of misdiagnosis and a child may be considered to be suffering from ADHD when in reality its other conditions other than ADHD.
Some arguments support medication of children with ADHD and thus do not recognize a thing like overmedication of children with the condition. The argument is that the condition is real and some medicines can help those suffering from the condition including children. Widely publicized results of a study on long-term treatment for ADHD showed that medication like Adderall and Ritalin beat behavioral therapy (Schwarz). Pharmaceutical companies are in business and therefore capitalized on the findings of this study to campaign for the use of drugs rather than therapies. The results of the study oversold the benefits of the drugs and made people believe drugs is the way to go in dealing with ADHD.
Giving medication to children with ADHD is meant to offer quick results that people desire which may only be a solution in the short-term. However, more emphasis should be placed on therapies, like dietary and behavioral therapy since they offer long-term benefits. Therefore, to avoid over-medication in children with ADHD, such children should be put under therapies since they also improve their social and academic skills.
Newmark, Sanford. “Are ADHD Medications Overprescribed?” The Wall Street Journal (2013). Web.
Parekh, Ranna. What Is ADHD? n.d October 2015. Web. 18 March 2017.
Schwarz, Alan. A.D.H.D. Experts Re-evaluate Study’s Zeal for Drugs. 29 December 2013. Web. 18 March 2017.