06 May 2013
Final Argumentative Essay
Zombie Children: The Over-diagnosis of ADHD in children
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral syndrome predominantly occurring in children (CDC 1). It is one of the most common childhood disorders. This condition is characterized by lack of attention, fidgeting, lack of organization, or squirming when seated. Children with ADHD often have difficulty paying attention to details and are easily distracted by other events happening at the same time; they find it difficult to complete their schoolwork; they put off anything that requires a lot of thought; they are prone to ...view middle of the document...
Figure 1: Percent diagnosed with ADHD
Figure 2: Percent currently taking medication for ADHD
The diagnosis of ADHD is inconsistent due to the fact that there is no proper testing for the disorder. One family’s situation was published in Time magazine in October 1998. The parents took their daughter to a psychiatrist just shy of her fifth birthday with concerns that she may have ADHD. The whole visit lasted forty-five minutes. During that time, the doctor read the teacher’s report and then spoke with and observed the little girl for fourteen minutes. After reading the report and observing the little girl for short period of time, he concluded that the little girl did, in fact, have ADHD and prescribed her Ritalin (Time 6). The parents were shocked that those words came out of the doctor’s mouth and to prescribe such a powerful drug after only meeting with their daughter for fifteen minutes. Doctors have children in and out of their offices in less than an hour with the diagnosis of ADHD and the piece of paper prescribing drugs for treatment. Exactly how does a doctor know a child has ADHD when only observing them for such a short period of time? How do they know that the child is not just simply “being a kid” during that time?
One of the reasons that doctors rapidly diagnose ADHD is due to the persistence of parents. Doctors often find themselves arguing with concerned parents that are worried about their child’s future being ruined because of hyperactivity or being jittery at school and at home. They demand drugs (Ritalin or Adderall) from the doctors, and if the doctor does not comply and prescribe the drugs, they continue to see doctor after doctor until one writes out the prescription. Parents have gotten to the point where they feel that their child has to be a perfect angel and will do whatever it takes to mold them into that. Unfortunately they use extreme measures, like drugs, to help accomplish this. Doctor Lawrence Diller, a behavioral and developmental pediatrician, states in his book Running on Ritalin, that “In order for them to succeed, we make them take performance enhancers” (Diller 96). I believe he is saying that parents want their children to succeed so much that they are making their children take “performance enhancers”, like Ritalin. What once was seen as a childhood normality of being interested in different things and having different skills and talents is now being viewed as a disease that needs to be treated with powerful drugs.
Ritalin is useful when it is prescribed properly, introduced in small doses, and monitored appropriately. It has been shown to be beneficial in treating the symptoms of ADHD in about 80% of children .If taken in regular release form, which is three times a day for seven days a week, it has been shown to improve their social skills and their ability to play and get along with others their age. Teachers will also benefit from a calmer, easier to control classroom,...