Immaturity Mistaken


| 9 Comments
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Are you constantly fidgeting? Do you draw pictures in class instead of taking notes? Whenever you try to do your schoolwork do you find that it's easier to play xbox or go on facebook instead? Then you might have ADHD. Okay, not really, but this sort of process is becoming surprisingly prevalent today.

 

One of my good friends since sixth grade recently ran into this sort of situation. The last time he went to see the doctor, he was just kicking his legs while sitting on the table and the doctor immediately said he had ADHD and gave him a prescription. I've had class, sports, clubs, and pretty much everything with him at one point or another, and he has always been the kind of person to fidget with whatever is in front of him, but not in the sort of way where it interferes with whatever the task at hand is.

 

I'm not doubting he actually has ADHD, but it took the doctor five minutes for him to diagnose it and give him medication that even my friend admits he doesn't seriously need. This is a pretty commonplace practice among doctor's offices, as there is no biological test for the disease, and the only way to diagnose it is to notice the symptoms. However, the issue is that most doctors don't go outside of the office to find out whether not a child actually has the disease, as they usually just spot the symptoms and give out the medication as it was done in the case of my friend.

 

The debate as to whether or not ADHD drugs are overprescribed is one that is quite current, as argued in this article. There have been new tests conducted that show that for some kids, alternative treatments such as dietary changes can reduce the symptoms. This is a fairly new idea, and as I am writing this there are more studies being conducted to find out where or not it is a full proof method. In the meantime though, it is unethical to just hand out prescriptions to the drugs like it is the only solution.

 

So, where does the problem lie? Well, it's not in the disease itself, but in the parents and schoolteachers of the misdiagnosed children. This article in Medpage Today examines why that might be so, and there is some data to support that his might be the case. Parent diagnosed cases of ADHD rose 22% between 2002 and 2007 according the CDC statistics, with the rates being higher in families will Medicare of Medicaid coverage. This trend of the meds becoming a quick fix for parents who see their child distracted needs to be put to a halt, especially since their child might just be, well, a child.

 

So what is the solution to this problem? It needs to be understood that a distracted child does not automatically have ADHD. Schoolteachers and parents are very quick to jump to the conclusion that their young child has the disorder because they have trouble concentrating on one thing, as if the idea that they are simply immature is automatically ruled out. This is why certain states are barring teachers from recommending the drug to parents, which could be a step in the right direction.

 

But I think that might be a bit overkill for this particular issue. Why don't we just take the disease more seriously? We don't assume a child is mentally handicapped just because their test scores drop. Rather, we do proper research, talk to everyone around the child to really figure out whether or not they need treatment. This is what we need to do with children that show signs of ADHD, since it is impractical just to assume they have a serious disease whenever in reality, the issue might just be that they are, in fact, simply acting their age.

9 Comments

Ethan,

Great topic. My friend as well has always had "trouble" studying so he went to the doctor and was immediately prescribed with adderall. The doctor preformed no tests on him but based on what he said, he had ADD. I feel like we all have trouble with studying because it is something we do not want to do. I am not saying ADHD or ADD is a made up disease but there is not enough evidence out there to truly convince me.

Like Robert said, great topic. I've always wondered the same thing of whether or not ADHD/ADD is a hoax or a legitimate mental disease. I have many friends that have this "disease" and they actively take medications that help them concentrate such as adderall (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000166/). This medication apparently helps those who have ADHD/ADD to focus for long periods of time but sometimes I think that ADHD/ADD is more mental then physical. Is it just an excuse for not wanting to focus? I agree with you that there should be more scientific research pertaining to this phenomenon.

In 8th grade I had a friend who diagnosed himself with ADD to avoid the punishment of a bad report card. As soon as he started taking his prescribed medication I noticed an immediate change in his personality. He changed from being lively and humorous to quiet and serious. In high school the trend continued. It was almost as if the drug had changed him completely. The last I heard from him he was using and selling various drugs, including his prescription. Could this sudden change have been caused by his medication? My observation may not be more than a coincidence, but from my experience I think it is definitely something worth looking in to.

ADHD is becoming increasingly popular and with the diagnosis comes the prescription. Adderall (and other common ADHD drugs) have become increasingly abused by college students. College students use these drugs to help them stay up and focused for long hours to accomplish work, its been called the "study drug" or "smart drug". The main reason so many students are using these drugs lately is because they have became so easy to get, as you said in your blog. Many students that use the drug say they don't consider it immoral or illegal, and think of it as not a big deal. Many students that don't use the drug think of it as cheating, and i agree it gives an unfair advantage to those on the drug with no real need for it. I think doctors should start researching alternative ways to treat ADHA, and give out lese prescriptions.

This is such a good topic to bring up. I was ironically talking about this to my friends the other day. The ADHD excuse is so over-used. In high school the kids with "ADD or ADHD" were given extra time and were able to sit out of the classroom in an "extended time room" with other students with the same problem, and as you could guess there was no one supervising to see if they were cheating or not. The "smart" kids of course were running to their doctors to be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. Now that we're in college I know too many individuals that were diagnosed with ADHD or ADD so they can get their hands on some adderall to power through their homework or study for their midterms and finals. For the rest of us without prescriptions and extended time, what does that mean? Actually working and doing work without substance and completing tests at designated times? It's not fair at all! I feel all young adults and teenagers have a problem with actually paying attention to what's in front of them. I'm probably the easiest distracted person out there and everyone points it out, but I try to work on it and regulate it rather than running to the doctors for a prescription. There's no way that a short attention can be cured with only adderall. There should be therapy lessons or recommended strategies and methods to try to focus more on what's in front of you!

A lot of the time, the doctors will quickly diagnose someones symptoms as ADD or ADHD purely so that they can sell their drugs and make more money. That's why everyone has a job, right? To make money? Well doctors are no different, and they will almost always jump at the chance to sell drugs to people who exhibit signs of a disease or disorder but might not actually have it. That is why when you have a cold and go to the doctor, they will give you antibiotics, even though colds are not caused by bacteria, but by viruses. While there can be negative consequences to prescribing these drugs, there has not been enough to warrant any type of response to it.

I am about to anger almost all of you who have commented as the writer of this blog, but I have a point, so bear with me.

I wrote this to focus on the issue of the fact that we are currently giving out drugs to a serious disease like candy, and therefore it is being treated like a made up condition as some of you have mentioned. I have seen, read, and heard about people with serious ADHD to the point where it is physically impossible for them to concentrate on one thing without the meds, and in these cases only the meds are an acceptable treatment. In addition to this, this particular post was meant to focus more on the age group of 5-13, not high school kids, so I might edit it and add in a paragraph to emphasize that.

However, whenever I first started writing this blog last week I tried to encompass Aderall and the issue of a study drug, but that didn't work. As I did more reading and research I found out that the new trend of a study drug is a completely different beast of it's own, and as I was writing it sparked a whole new train of thought and ideas for me, which is why I separated that blog from this one. That's what I'm posting next, and as I will explain in that, the issue of Aderall to aid with school work can not be put described by just calling it unfair, as that is just plain narrow minded.

Don't take the above paragraph as support for it's use, because it's not. All I am trying to do is steer you away from simplifying what my research has proved to be a very complicated issue, which is why I wrote a completely separate blog on it, and judging by the comments, I think you guys will find that very interesting (I hope).

I think that this disease is often over diagnosed but it can be a serious matter. I have two friends who you can see a distinct difference when they take their medication and when they don't. I also have a cousin who has severe ADHD to the point that she needs to be put in a special class. The kids that abuse it are wrong for doing that, but it is no made up disease because it can truly be a huge impact on someones life and development. My other question is to weather a university could enforce a rule that taking adderall without a prescription is the same as cheating,and if so what be the punishment?

I think that this disease is often over diagnosed but it can be a serious matter. I have two friends who you can see a distinct difference when they take their medication and when they don't. I also have a cousin who has severe ADHD to the point that she needs to be put in a special class. The kids that abuse it are wrong for doing that, but it is no made up disease because it can truly be a huge impact on someones life and development. My other question is to weather a university could enforce a rule that taking adderall without a prescription is the same as cheating,and if so what be the punishment?

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