This is a question many parents struggle with. Should I be medicating my child for ADHD? Will the drugs cause other problems for my child? You’re not alone. Many parents have these questions. Some parents choose to give their child medication all the time, some only give the medication when the child is in school, and others choose not to give their child medication at all. ADHD diagnosis has increased dramatically over the last several years. [Over diagnosis and over medication for ADHD needs to stop.]
ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. There are many symptoms that are related to ADHD. Some of the more common symptoms in toddlers and preschoolers are the inability to sit still, control actions, follow simple direction, easily angered, and impatience (Dunkin, 1). ADHD is discovered most of the time when the child enters elementary school. As Dunkin says in her WebMD article, “At this stage, children with this form of the disorder often become disruptive, blurting out answers without raising their hands, getting up from their seat and moving about the classroom, and talking excessively” (2). Sometimes ADHD shows not in the form of being hyperactive, but being inattentive, which becomes a big problem in adolescence.
ADHD has had a substantial increase in diagnosis over the last several years. “The percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011” (“Data and Statistics”). Often time’s parents and teachers misunderstand the difference between a child with ADHD and a “normal” child. Get to know your child and the symptoms of ADHD before going to the doctor. Just because a child is unable to sit still does not mean they have ADHD, as Ballas says, a patient needs to display at least 12 different signs to be diagnosed with ADHD. The key concept to remember when deciding if your child has ADHD or not is is it affecting their daily life. Just because they are distracted and don’t finish one test before the allotted time, doesn’t mean ADHD, but if it’s a constant reoccurrence with testing and homework then it could be sign (Ballas).
There are several different kinds of medication you can have your child take to reduce the signs of ADHD. Most are considered to be stimulants. They are stimulants because they increase activity in certain parts of the brain that aren’t acting at normal levels. Some of the more common drugs include Ritalin, Adderall, Dexedrine, Intuniv, and Focalin (Rodriguez). While these drugs may help your child deal with the struggles of ADHD, are they doing more harm than good? Taking these drugs come with some very severe side effects. Commonly reported side effects to the medication are low appetite, stomach pain, and sleep problems (Kam, 1). Thoughts of suicide, heart problems, and chest pain are some of the more serious problems associated with ADHD medications (Kam, 1). “Studies have shown that Ritalin might have a negative impact on...