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The Add/Adhd Controversy Essay

865 words - 3 pages

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders. ADHD is a broad term, and the condition can vary from person to person. There are an estimated 6.4 million diagnosed children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The condition is also known as attention deficit disorder (ADD), though this is considered an outdated term. The American Psychiatric Association released the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) in May 2013. The DSM-5 changed the criteria necessary to diagnose someone with ADHD.

Now after explaining what is ADD/ADHD we are ready to cover the controversy surrounding it. As this topic is vast and you may find a lot of different reasons to discredit this disorder and psychiatry in generally I would try to focus on the main and most prevalent discussions. Covering the criticism around the way of diagnosis, history, policies in the US and UK, the media and finally as a conclusion end this essay with my final humble opinion on the matter and hopefully have helped you to reach a decision.

Diagnosis and History

One of the most controversial parts of ADD/ADHD is how it is diagnosed, for one and as stated earlier there is no physical tests to confirm you have the disorder. Secondly, there is no established single cause and the existing method of assessment is not standardized meaning one psychiatrist may use a written test while others may depend on what parents and teachers say, and what one psychiatrist classify as ADHD another may not. Thirdly there are other problems, which can cause behavioral concerns such as dyslexia, hearing problems, family problems, depression and anxiety (Rutherford, 2010). Furthermore ADD/ADHD can correlate with other disorders and conditions and this can cause some sort of confusion while the psychiatrist is assessing the child. There are overlapping areas with conditions such as language difficulties, dyspraxia, sleep disorders, autism spectrum disorders and Asperger's Syndrome – this is increasingly recognized by most specialists however and will be taken into account during assessment (Rutherford, 2010). The most likely debated part of the disorder is that most if not all children have some sort of problem with self-control to some degree, how do you differentiate what is “normal” from “difficult” behavior?

Our modern lifestyle, with greater use of technology, means we're used to getting information quickly and in bite-size pieces. Some experts feel children have a shorter attention span because of this lifestyle, rather than because of a medical condition (Rutherford, 2010).

Historically, researchers contemplated that ADD/ADHD was triggered by substance abuse (drugs or alcohol) while the mother was pregnant or by a psychological trauma in early developmental years and/or slight head injuries or brain...

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