According to the National Institutes of Health attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders (NIH, 2008). All children show the same symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, as they are clinically related, although children with ADHD show symptoms more severe and frequent. Children diagnosed with ADHD should take medication as a part of treatment because it helps control the associated side effects of inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
The first reason a child diagnosed with ADHD should be treated with a medication is to control inattentiveness. Inattention is the predominate characteristic displayed by children with ADHD. Often the child will lose things, make careless mistakes, and is easily distracted. Inattention is caused by a neurological brain disorder in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the central management of the brain and controls focus and memory. These are executive functions that control attention and willpower. These functions depend primarily on two neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine. The release of dopamine promotes motivation from happiness. (Brown, 2005) Psychostimulant medications are made with one of these two chemicals allowing for treatment with reintroduction in the brain.
ADHD has often been debated as a behavior issue. It was first discovered in 1902 as a disorder by a British doctor, Dr. Still. He named the disorder “Defect of Moral Control” even though he did believe it to be a medical issue. It was not until 1922 when the disease was thought of as a behavior disorder. (HelloLife, 2009) Since that time, ADHD as it is known today has been often mistaken as bad behavior. The child will climb, run about, talk excessively, and have difficultly playing a quiet activity. This can cause a pattern of suspensions from school perceived as bad behavior. The ruling on differentiating the two is if this hyperactive, impulsive, inattentive behavior occurs in more than one setting. This is for a professional to decide with input from the child’s parent and teacher. When occurrences of symptoms are in multiple settings then the problem is a psychological disorder that affects behavior, not a behavioral problem. (CDR, n.d.)
The second concurrent side effect that should be controlled by medication is hyperactivity. Hyperactive children are constantly in motion. The tension at home and school can mount if the hyperactivity is not controlled. It can cause incomplete assignments, and the child can become disruptive to the entire class. (Steer, 2009) This unruly interpretation ultimately leaves the child with dramatic consequences of feeling isolated and a failure. Effort and activation are the impaired functions which affect hyperactivity. Stimulant medication will enable the ability to activate to work by organizing and prioritizing. The neurotransmitters in the medications allow for messages to travel through the brain...