The Misdiagnosis Of ADHA
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder in children and teenagers that has been diagnosed increasingly with each passing year. I myself was first diagnosed with ADHD when I was five years old. The first thing we think of when a child is misbehaving, inattentive, hyper, forgetful, impulsive or easily distracted is that they had adhd. I actually had all of these behavioral symptoms. According to Jane Goodall, the way doctors diagnose a person with ADHD is if “they have six or more symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and the symptoms are present at an early age and the person must have these symptoms for at least six months”( research 1). ADHD is a real sickness, but society assumes that any child who is misbehaving or inattentive has adhd which result in the misdiagnosis stating that the child is sick. In reality any child who has misbehaved or has been a problem for any adult can be diagnosed with ADHD and declared sick.
Most of the children diagnosed with ADHD are not really sick but they are just acting like a normal child and being difficult. When I was younger I would always misbehave and I would lose my concentration in school work, but yet I would always concentrate very well on my music lessons and learn my pieces fairly quickly. I think that this is an example of a child just losing interest in something they would consider boring and therefore misbehave. If a child is interested in something they will immediately focus their attention to whatever they are doing which means that the way of diagnosing ADHD is faulty. Another way they diagnose ADHD is if a child is asked to do something and they don’t do it or they do the opposite that was asked of them. “For example if ten children are standing and the teachers asks them to sit down and only nine do, the one remaining is declared with a disease. If these descriptors were used to describe a crime, any criminal judge would declare the defendant not guilty because the criteria were too vague. Yet innocent children who have committed no crime are sentenced to have their bodies invaded with powerful and dangerous drugs because of these amazingly vague and subjective criteria.”(diagnosis of adhd and over use pg16 P 4). When a child is misbehaving they can be diagnosed as sick and can be made to behave through the use of drugs. If we give our children drugs without thinking of the long term effects the medicine may have on them then society is truly blinded. When doctors diagnosis a child as sick the parents can put their guilt and feelings of inadequacy away because they have a reason to say why the child is misbehaving. Everyone is happy, except for the child. Families with adhd children often blame them for the source of the problems in the family. Whenever something goes wrong the child has to suffer the blame because of their sickness so to speak. This was very true with me. For reasons still unknown to me, if ever something was missing my parents would automatically assume that I had it.
When I was first diagnosed with ADHD I was put on Ritalin, which is a stimulant drug. Using stimulant drugs will have no benefit on the child except suppressing their mental and behavior activity so as to make them more docile and compliant. I relate to this greatly because before I was put on medicine I was very outgoing and hyper. After I started taking Ritalin I became very quiet and shy. Some of the effects of the medicine given to people with adhd are sudden cardiac arrest, depression, weight loss, tics, paranoia, and hallucinations. I had a great many of these symptoms. When I was small I used to have a paranoia that someone was up in the loft of my room plotting to kill me. Another time I woke up and had a very vivid hallucination that there were insects in the room and I ran screaming out of bed to get on top of a piece of furniture. I also had tics, which are random convulsion of the body. I still have them to this day but they are not as bad. The doctor changed my medicine later on in my life because a new medicine came out that was a non-stimulant called Strattera. I am currently taking this, but unfortunately the major symptom of this medicine is depression, suicidal, and sexual tendencies. When I was first put on this medicine the dosage was too high and I got really sleepy all the time and I underwent a period of depression. Even after this they lowered the dosage I still have problems taking the medicine. I have separate medicine I take for other medical reason but I can’t take the two together or on an empty stomach because I get nauseous. Also Strattera makes me have insomnia some nights. I have trouble getting to sleep because my brain is so active that it won’t shut down. This goes to prove that the medicine given to treat ADHD still needs to be researched until it is perfected
Adhd does not cause these symptoms, but the medicine given does. Bob Jacobs says that “Taking this medicine will also have long term damage to brain cell structure and function….the drug commonly used to help Australian children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may cause long term changes in the brain”( over diagnosis pg29 P2). Before I was put on Strattera I had been taking stimulant medicine for 6 years. Some of the long term effects are that I have random uncontrollable twitches and also I’ve been told that when I sleep my whole body convulses and spasms. “Some studies have found that Ritalin produced change in the brains of rats. These studies have shown that the changes are very similar to those seen with stimulants such as amphetamines and cocaine (pediatric 2). Many people are under the assumption that medicine will help their sick child learn. Most well-behaved children get better grades then the misbehaving ones. People think that because if the sick children are given a drug to make them behave they will become better students. This thought process is ignorant and faulty. I have always been struggling to keep my grades up. I went off the medicine for about a month once and my grades remained the same as if I was on the medicine. The only difference between taking the medicine and not taking it is that my behavior improved with the medicine. When the teacher sees that you are very well behaved they will give you an A for good behavior. On the outside we see a happy child who is well-behaved but on the inside the medicine is messing up the child’s body and brain.
I think that instead of using medicine to help a child concentrate or behave is causing more problems than there should be. I think Instead of using medicine to help a child behave there are other methods of helping them such as behavioral, educational, and psychological support. Shafer says that “just as there are big gaps in our understanding of adhd, there are even bigger gaps in our understanding of stimulant medication” (diagnosis of adhd and overuse pg 68 P1). I think that drugs should not be the first thing considered when treating a potential ADHD person.
There is very little that society can agree on in the study of adhd. Most would agree that further research needs to be done because there are too many unknowns and risks. Science is attempting to study adhd more to identify what it really is, if there really is adhd, and what causes it.
Goodall, Jane. “Research Methods in Psycology.” 15 Apr. 2008
Jacobs, Bob. “the over diagnosis of adhd and the over us of stimulant medicine”. Youth
affairs network. 02/31/08
Shafer, Thomas and Susan. “ALL THAT WIGGLES IS NOT ADHD”. Self help