The medical world has seen many changes and advances over the last century, but possibly none that is as financially lucrative then the prescription medication industry. New drugs turn up everyday and claim to treat more and more conditions. On the corner of every block is a pharmacy and their shelves are stocked with prescription medications and it seems they are here to stay. The question is, to medicate or not to medicate?
Most regularly we turn to prescription drugs for everything from acne to severe back pain. The condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is no different. ADHD is a behavioral disorder commonly diagnosed in school-aged children ages 5-17 years old about 8% to 10% of that population (Kidshealth.org), which is 4.5 million children have ever been diagnosed with ADHD (Bloom & Cohen, 2006 p.5). The brains of these children work differently. Not allowing for them to focus on tasks considered by most as boring or routine. A person living with ADHD is characterized as having chronic difficulties with one of the following areas; attention, impulsivity and [hyper] activity (Addresources.org). They require excitement to keep alert and they cannot spend the time to prioritize what they need to focus on. This can be very disruptive in a classroom and a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder often gets into trouble at school and/or home. If not recognized early this child now categorized, as a “trouble maker” becomes a frustrated, underachiever with low self-esteem. These teen have a higher rate of substance use and as adults can find themselves with a history of failed relationships and frequently under or unemployed (Addresources.org).
Diagnosis of this behavioral disorder is a several step process. There is no single lab or physical test to decide if a person young or old has ADHD. Adding to that difficulty of diagnosis the symptoms of other issues like depression, anxiety, and different types of learning disabilities are similar. So how do we know if someone is suffering from ADHD and it is not actually something else? Only Medical Doctors (MD), Nurse Practitioners (NP), or another licensed mental health professional can diagnose Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder such as Psychiatrists, Clinical psychologist, or Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW).
The American Medical Association (AMA), American Academy of Pediatrics (APP) Guidelines and Evaluation for the Child with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder are tools used in conjunction with American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM-IV). The criterion used is specific to appropriately diagnose ADHD ensuring a national standard. During the medical practitioners evaluation the following are measured against the DSM-IV criteria [but are not limited to], age symptoms began, length of symptoms, occurrence of symptoms in multiple settings etc (cdc.gov).
Once a person or their loved one is...