This essay seeks to explore Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, its effects and the treatment effects. As such, the purpose of the essay will be three-fold. First, it will provide a description of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and then provide a comprehensive insight of the effects of the disorder. Finally, an explanation of the treatment's effects will be provided (Barkley 87).
Description of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
ADHD refers to a developmental and psychiatric disorder that impinges approximately 5 percent of children in the world. The disorder is characterized by inattentiveness and hyperactivity. It is classified as a developmental disorder since its characteristics include impulse control delay in the development. The definition of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is based on behavior, and thus does not qualify to be a neurological disease. The problems of inattentiveness and hyperactivity occur infrequently and individually. The systems of the disorder are evident as early as at seven years. A number of studies and diagnosis have been done previously on the disorder with around 2 to 16 percent of young children being diagnosed. The disorder is termed as chronic. This is because approximately 50 percent of individuals, which are diagnosed with the disorder in childhood, continue to exhibit the systems of the disorder, even in their adulthood. Adults and teenagers that are affected by the disorder tend to adopt coping mechanisms as an alternative way of compensating their impairment.
According to World Health Organization, approximately 4.7 percent of American citizens is diagnosed with the disorder. Further, as WHO reports indicate, the standardized rating scales are useful in the assessment and screening of the severity of the symptoms. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder diagnosis is more frequent among boys than among girls. However, the existing discrepancy in gender-based diagnosis is attributed to referring teachers' bias. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a manageable disorder, and its management involves the use of medication, lifestyle changes, behavior modifications and counseling. Moreover, the disorder exhibit the same symptoms with other disorders; hence difficult to differentiate, and as such, individuals have a higher likelihood of missing the right diagnosis for ADHD diagnosis. In addition, the other limitation in the diagnosis of the disorder is the lack of proper training among clinicians. Clinicians lack sufficient training on ADHD treatment and assessment, particularly of adult patients (Langwith 48).
Since 1970, there has been a controversy concerning diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. The controversy involves the media, parents, teachers, clinicians, and policymakers. The topics that have elicited debate include the causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as well as the use of stimulant medications while treating the disorder. A considerable number of healthcare providers regard ADHD as a genuine disorder. Furthermore, the debate is centered on diagnosis and treatment of the disorder. On the same line of thought, AMA (American Medical Association) concludes that diagnostic solutions for ADHD should be based on extensive research, and appropriate application of the research findings result in diagnosis that is reliable.
Classification of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), as well as other disorders, such as antisocial disorder, conduct disorder, and oppositional disorder, is classified as disruptive behavior disorder. ADHD is classified into three groups, namely: predominately hyperactivity-impulsive; predominately inattentive; and combined inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive. The key signs and symptoms of ADHD include impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention. However, it is difficult to draw a definite line for the symptoms of ADHD due to the difficulty of identifying normal levels of impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention. This renders diagnosis and treatment are difficult because clinicians do not understand the right time for intervention. The observation of the systems of ADHD must be conducted for a period around six months in two different settings.
Predominately a number of symptoms characterize inattentive ADHD. These symptoms include, firstly: an individual is easily diverted, forget things, miss details, easily lose focus on a task, frequently do task switching, and is easily bored by an activity, unless it is an enjoyable activity. Secondly, an individual has intricacy focusing attention on completing and organizing an activity or learning a new task or turning in assignments within the deadline. Lastly, an individual with the disorder daydream, process information slowly, it is difficult to follow instructions, does not seem to be attentive when spoken to, and become easily confused, as well.
The other variety of ADHD is called predominately hyperactive-impulsive, and it features a number of symptoms. These symptoms include; an individual will squirm and fidget in their seats, talk nonstop, play, dash around or touch everything and anything in sight, and struggle executing tasks quietly. The individual also has difficulty sitting still during story, school and dinnertime, as well as constantly being in motion. The other impulsive manifestations include lack of patience, acting without fear of consequences, uttering inappropriate comments, and showing their emotions without self-control, as well (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
In adults, as studies indicate, over 60 percent of individuals diagnosed with ADHD in their early life, continue having the symptoms of the disorder in their adulthood. The disheartening finding is that many adults remain untreated. A considerable number of adults, who are not treated, have chaotic lifestyles, are disorganized, and rely on alcohol and non-prescribed drugs, in order to get by. ADHD diagnosis provide adult with an insight of their behavior; thus, provide them with the opportunity to be conscious and look for help with treatment and coping strategies.
Causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
There are no specific causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. However, existing research and assessment identifies a number of compensating factors that may exacerbate or contribute to ADHD. These factors include diet, genetics, physical and social environments.
Present studies indicate that most of the disorders are heritable and that approximately 75 percent of all disorder cases is genetically transmitted. In addition, hyperactivity is a condition that is primarily a factor of generic condition; however, there are other causes that have been identified. Scientific research reveals that a combination of different genes causes ADHD, since they affect dopamine transporters. Eleven candidate genes are responsible for the ADHD incidence. There is a common variant in a gene termed LPHN3 that are responsible for 9 percent of ADHD cases, and when the gene is present in ADHD incidence, the disorder is quick to respond to stimulant medication.
In addition, twin studies suggest that nearly 20 percent of ADHD symptoms are attributed to non-genetic factors. Environmental factors associated with ADHD include tobacco smoke and alcohol contact during pregnancy, as well as early life exposure to lead. There is also a higher likelihood of children open to the elements of organophosphate pesticides to be diagnosed with ADHD.
Based on the findings of a study conducted and published in 2007, in the Lancet, a link was found between children's intake of many artificial colors, the additive sodium benzoate and hyperactivity. In 2009, the findings prompted the Food Standards Agency of UK to take immediate action that encouraged food manufacturers to avoid the use of artificial food colors voluntarily (Brown 67).
Furthermore, according to the studies of the WHO (World Health Organization), diagnosis of ADHD is a result of family inadequacies or dysfunction in the educational method, and not individual psychopathology. Other research reveals that close bonds with caregivers has weighty effect on self-regulatory and intentional abilities. A fostered children study found that a higher percent of children had symptoms that resemble Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Diagnosis and Management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
The diagnosis of ADHD is carried out via psychiatric assessment; however, laboratory tests, radiological imaging and physical examination can be used to eliminate any potential co-morbidities or causes. There is different basis of diagnosis that is used in different countries. For instance, North America uses DSM-IV, while European countries use ICD-10. Nonetheless, the methods of treatment involve lifestyle changes, behavior modification, medication and counseling. The most effective strategy of managing ADHD is behavioral treatment and medical management. Behavioral treatment, such as psychological therapies, is effective in the management of ADHD. On the other hand, stimulant medication remains medical management of choice; however, atomoxetine, which is a non-stimulants medication, can be used as an alternative. The two types of medications are safe; however, they have contraindications and side effects to their use.
Effects of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
In the recent years, the concern and attention about ADHD has been growing. It is regarded as the most chronic mental disorder that is revealed in children, in the United States. According to research, young children that have more ADHD symptoms, such as being restless or impulsive, have considerably low reading and math scores on consistent tests. In addition, these children have a high probability of delinquency such as using drugs, hitting people and stealing, grade repetition, and enrolment in exceptional learning. Stunningly, the effect of ADHD on the educational outcome of children is greater compare to the effects of other health problems such as poor health or having asthma. Furthermore, the findings indicate that both boys and girls with moderate symptoms of ADHD are equally affected. However, there is a high enrolment of boys with severe symptoms in education, and boys show low-test scores, if compared to girls with similar conditions (Informing the ADHD Debate 16).
ADHD has an intense impact on how individuals participate in their daily activities. Documented evidence suggests that ADHD negatively affect social skills, work, educational achievement, behavior and interpersonal relationships. Adults are affected the most, with a considerable percent of them being at risk of engaging in harmful behaviors, such as unlawful conduct and drug abuse, or risk of antisocial conduct. ADHD has also profound effects on the level of productivity, due to a decline in workforce productivity and engagement, in full-time employment. This is also a factor of the low educational attainment of individuals with ADHD. Individuals with ADHD record a high absenteeism from work that translates to a resultant loss in productivity. The observed trends on ADHD resemble observations that are common in psychiatric disorders, such as depression, which is known to affect workforce productivity.
As young children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder grows into adulthood, the impact of the problem on their individual life's and families changes. This is due to the varying demands of the environment such as age, family resources, school resources, and insight of the young person. It is vital for an individual with ADHD to grow in a need sensitive environment, as well as an environment aware of disorder implications. During the preschool period, an individual is unable to play intensively, and have higher levels of motor restlessness. There are also associated difficulties such as poor social skills, oppositional behavior, and delayed development. During the primary school years, young children with ADHD develop coping strategies that will help them learn effectively and successfully in class. However, in circumstances, where the instructor is not able to adapt the learning environment in order to satisfy the needs of children with disorders, those with ADHD will experience rejection by peers, poor academic performance, and low self-esteem. Co-morbidities, such as learning difficulties, may affect the child. This will complicate disorder diagnosis and management. At this age, children with ADHD will have trouble with their careers during outing or at home. In addition, the ADHD incidences will strain family relationships. This is because family members conflict on who to take care of the child (Wender 54).
It is also evident that individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are likely to earn a lower household income. For instance, young adults below the age of 18 years have a higher likelihood of receiving parents support. However, individuals that lack a high school diploma and live with ADHD have a general aptitude that is higher than their counterparts without ADHD. As such, it results in improved worker performance. Conversely, individuals with ADHD are not employed; therefore, their opportunity cost of not being employed is a source of additional income.
In addition, other costs are associated with adult ADHD in U.S. The employers are likely to suffer from work-loss costs due to worker's compensation, short-term disability, and increased absenteeism. Individuals suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disordered are likely to miss considerably many overall days of work. This will lead to work-related costs to employers. ADHD incidences will also affect the working relationship between employers and employees with ADHD, due to excessive errors, lateness, as well as inability to complete tasks. The society is also likely to suffer from the same cost, because of the loss in productivity, and the additional costs that are incurred in medical costs.
The effect of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can also be experienced in the next generation. If ADHD is genetically transmitted, adults with disorder will give birth with a higher likelihood to children with the same problems. This will create a vicious cycle that can be costly to the individual, their family, and the community, as well.
Treatment's Effects of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
For a long period, growing deficits among young children receiving stimulant medications for ADHD have elicited scientific discussion. There are conflicting findings with the majority participants, indicating that the administration of stimulants affects the growth rate in children with ADHD; however, this is only evident in the active treatment phase, and it will not affect the final height of the child. The findings further suggest that clinicians should reduce the use of stimulants in circumstances where it results in growth suppression. The other concern is that the use of stimulant medications in treatment of ADHD will lead to drug addiction in future. By nature, untreated adults with ADHD are known to be impulsive risk takers, and thus, they are highly prone to engaging in substance misuse. In the same line of thought, individuals treated with stimulants medication have an equal risk to engage in substance misuse compared to controls.
Evidence from USA suggests that healthcare costs for persons with ADHD are higher. The high cost in healthcare provision is attributed to increased injury, and an increase in the use of outpatient facilities and substance abuse services. In other scenarios, the lack of proper ability to follow the advice on medication is another factor that leads to high medical costs. It is also evident that children with ADHD have a higher likelihood of being injured, compared to young children not suffering from similar conditions. In addition, they are likely to sustain multiple injuries, and a time, be severely injured.
Strikingly, ADHD is indicated as a risk factor for substance misuse. This is supported by investigations that seek to study the incidence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder amongst substance abusers. This indicates that ADHD was overrepresentation among inpatients with other disorders, such as psychoactive substance use. There is also an increased use of healthcare services by family members of the individuals with ADHD. The relatives of individuals with ADHD have a higher likelihood of suffering from a mental health problem; thus, increasing the medical costs significantly. This reflects increased demands, as well as stresses of living with individuals suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The ADHD related family stress is implicated to alcohol related disorders and elevated risks of parental disorder (Psychiatric Disorders 65).
There are also positive effects of ADHD medication among children. Medical management and behavioral treatment improves coordination and motor activity among children with ADHD. Children will have normal activity levels in class, improved neatness and handwriting of written work, as well as enhanced motor management. Other effect of medication is cognitive effects. These include reduced distractibility, decreased impulsivity, improved work productivity and amplified accuracy of work (Barkley 76).
In regard to the social behavior of a child with ADHD, medical management and behavioral treatment will lead to reduced off-task behavior, better self-control, decreased anger, better participation in organized events, reduced interventionist behavior with age mates, reduced physical and verbal aggression with age mates, and reduced oppositional, defiant, and non-compliant behavior. This represents the short-term effects of medication on patients with ADHD. There are also adverse effects of treatment of ADHD that include side effects. Some of the prevalent side effects include; headaches, irritability, weight loss, decreased appetite, insomnia, and stomachaches. However, the side effects are temporary and can only be decreased with dosage change. In circumstances when the medication affects the patient's quality of life adversely, the patient may consider other treatment approaches.
In conclusion, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a manageable disorder, and its management involves the use of medication, lifestyle changes, behavior modifications and counseling. Moreover, the disorder exhibit the same symptoms with other disorders; hence difficult to differentiate, and as such, individuals have a higher likelihood of missing the right diagnosis for ADHD diagnosis.
The prevalence of ADHD among young children is raising concern and public opinion among the clinicians, parents, and the media. Incidences of ADHD affect the entire life of an individual, and, therefore, management and diagnosis should be monitored in order to attain successful and beneficial result. Since it affects young children, it is indispensable for the education system to design programs and interventions that assist children suffering from ADHD. Attention should be heightened about controversial and unproven treatments for ADHD. In the last few decades, many vendors of products and services have increase claims that their products effectively treat ADHD symptoms. This will increase the incidences of adverse effects of medications (Higgins 39).
The diagnosis of ADHD is via psychiatric assessment; however, laboratory tests, radiological imaging and physical examination can be used to eliminate any potential co-morbidities or causes. Based on documented evidence, incidences of ADHD affect an individual in different aspects, including the age. Findings preclude that ADHD cases among children affect educational outcome, household income, family relationships, and community life. There is also an increased use of healthcare services by family members of the individuals with ADHD. The relatives of individuals with ADHD have a higher exposure to suffering from a mental health problem; thus, increasing the medical costs significantly. This reflects increased demands, as well as stresses of living with individuals suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is also evident that individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are likely to earn a lower household income.