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Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Term Paper

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As it would be observed, human development is a term with a lot of meanings in life. However, no matter the perspective used to define it at any given point, it simply involves aspects related to human development, just as the name suggests. Human development is a significant process whose main focus is to enlarge human opportunities and / or freedom.

In other sense, the concept of human development would revolve around the freedom that ordinary human beings possess to be able to make crucial decisions about their lives, thus ending up realizing the true purpose of life. Generally, the concept of human development would tend to feature biological, cognitive, social, and emotional factors that are likely to play a crucial role in shaping behavioral development in humans.

In that regard, the department of human development has over the years established a platform which offers great potential for study aimed at enhancing and promoting human development and wellbeing from birth through later developmental stages of life in numerous social contexts.

It is obviously clear that, no matter the effort we apply to improve our lives, the full expectations of human development are rarely met in life, owing to a number of unavoidable issues which tend to arise in our lives such as diseases and deformities. For the purpose of this particular subject, this paper examines Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD as one of the major issues affecting human development today.

ADHD is a psychiatric health condition which is characterized by a number of significant complications of either impulsiveness and hyperactivity or inattention. In some cases, the disease could be a combination of the above two conditions. According to Campbell (2000) ADHD is characterized by a number of behavioral symptoms which include, but are not limited to, hyperactivity, inattentiveness, a short attention span, restlessness, easy distractions, and impulsiveness.

Other additional difficulties that are likely to occur as symptoms in people suffering from ADHD are learning and understanding complications and sleep disorders, among other serious complications. It has been observed that, ADHD victims will tend present serious problems in controlling impulsive behaviors and in paying attention. In this case, people having this disorder may tend to act without stopping to think about the possible outcomes of their deeds or reactions.

As a matter of fact, most of these behavioral symptoms could be too distractive to the victims, thus contributing to impairment of school performance in children attending school. Moreover, children with this disorder will also find it hard to complete tasks at home or getting along with their friends and classmates.

Children who have been diagnosed with attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder usually undergo a number of severe and traumatizing inattention behaviors. For instance, the children are likely to be easily distracted, and this makes them miss important details taking place around their world.

The children also find it difficulty to focus and concentrate on one thing, and would therefore frequently switch from one event to another. The children are also likely to become bored with something they are doing after only a short while, unless the thing proves to be of great meaning to them.

ADHD children are also associated with the habit of forgetting and losing things easily. Moreover, unlike their peers at school, children with this type of psychiatric disorder would also tend to have complications processing information in a fast and accurate manner. As Biederman and others (1993) observe, these are just some of the many symptoms of inattentions associated with children suffering from Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

As it would be observed, some of the symptoms associated with the disorder for children would differ from those of adults suffering from the same condition in a number of ways. For instance, whereas a child with the disorder may run about excessively, an adult with the same disease may found it difficulty to relax, thus talking excessively in social grounds. Gambling and substance abuse are also very common in adult individuals with the disorder, among other addictive behaviors.

ADHD is arguably the most commonly researched and diagnosed disease of the human brain in young children and adolescents. The disorder is said to affect about 7 percent of young people and can be diagnosed in up to 16 percent of school-going children. However, even though most cases of this disease are diagnosed in childhood, the victims will continue to show symptoms even into their teenage and adulthood stages.

Easy diagnosis of ADHD is usually done between three and seven years of age, and the reason for this is simply that children are easier to diagnose compared to adults, owing to the presence of definitive set of symptoms which are appropriate to age. In some cases, however, this may not happen until at some later stages of development.

As it would be observed, it is not always easy to differentiate ADHD symptoms from those of other diseases, and in that case, it would be easy to miss the diagnosis, especially in the adults (Gillberg, Gillberg & Rasmussen, 2004).

However, in order to be able to address this challenge successfully, health care professionals have been equipped with formal skills and knowledge on how to assess and treat ADHD in all stages of human development. More importantly, effective diagnosis tools and equipment which include standardized rating scales have also been introduced to enhance screening of the disorder and assessment of the severity of its vast symptoms.

ADHD is said to be the most common behavioral disorder in most parts of the world, where it is estimated that about 2 to 5 percent of young people in the world are affected by the disorder. However, even though many children having the disorder are likely to show symptoms in both teenage and adult stages, it has not yet been proven whether the disorder can present in adulthood without first having occurred at childhood.

Despite the many studies that have been carried out over the years on ADHD, little is known about the causes of the disorder. However, the constant work of scientists on the matter has pointed out to some factors which may tend to play a big role in the occurrence of the disorder in humans. As it would be observed, this combination of factors include things such as genetics factors, environmental factors, diet and nutrition, the social environment, and physical harm to the brain, among other factors.

In regard with the genetic factors, the genes that we inherit from our parents would often tend to determine who we are, and in that regard, studies in issues of human development from numerous studies have confirmed the possibility of ADHD running in families. However, researchers have not yet identified the specific genes which may make people more vulnerable to the disorder, which could have been a milestone achievement towards the prevention of the disorder.

Getting to know the genes involved in making people vulnerable to the disorder could enable the researchers to take full control of the disorder before the symptoms develop to extreme levels (Lahey, Applegate, McBurnett & Biederman, 1994). More importantly, this could have opened up doors leading to better and improved treatments of the disorder. As it would be observed from various studies based on ADHD, children having a particular gene version would tend to have defects in some crucial parts of their brains.

A good example here is whereby the arteries in those parts of the brain are unusually narrower. Based on the results of these studies, it has been shown that this difference is just temporary, and as the people with this particular version of gene enter various developmental stages, their brain tissues are likely to develop to normal thickness. This way, their ADHD symptoms are also improved.

Previous studies on the matter have also confirmed a significant link the psychiatric disorder and a number of environmental factors. For example, it has been observed that there is a close link between alcohol drinking and smoking of cigarette and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in unborn children. The consumption of alcohol by a pregnant woman can result to the fetal developing a type of disorder whose symptoms are identical to those of ADHD.

Excessive exposure to tobacco, on the other hand, in the course of pregnancy is much likely to affect the normal development of the unborn child (Mayes, Bagwell & Erkulwater, 2008). In extreme cases this could result to the occurrence of ADHD. There are claims that children who are highly exposed to concentrated levels of lead, as it can be found in a variety of building materials are also at a greater risk of developing this disorder.

Brain injuries, especially ones that are experienced at a very tender age, are thought to trigger behavioral symptoms that are similar to those of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as the child grows. This claim, however, has been refuted by a number of studies that have been conducted with the aim of proving whether there is any significant connection between previous brain injuries and ADHD.

Research has shown that, only a small portion of children having the disorder have experienced a traumatic brain injury at some point of their life. As a matter of fact, about only 30 percent of children who may happen to suffer brain injury are likely to develop the psychiatric disorder.

In regard with diet and nutrition, some people have always associated food additives and colorings with ADHD, where it is believed that some certain food spices in form of color and additives would tend to trigger ADHD in children (Schatz & Rostain, 2006).

However, previous and current studies on this particular matter have refuted this claim, concluding that there is no any significant connection between food additives or colorings and the disorder, even though the evidence is said to be inconclusive. The most acceptable claim as far as food spices and their association with ADHD are concerned is that, a number of children having the disorder may be more sensitive to food-stuff additives and colorings.

Still on diet, there have been claims that refined sugar increases chances of one developing ADHD. However, a higher percentage of studies conducted with the focus of testing these claims have discounted the theory. This observation was confirmed through a study that was carried out on two groups of children selected from the same neighborhood.

One group was fed with foods containing sugar substitutes on daily basis, while the other group was given foods containing higher than average levels of sugar. However, based on the study outcomes, there were no differences in behavior that were made from the observational studies carried out on the two groups. In this regard, there is no significant connection between sugar or sugar substitutes and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

There have been mixed reactions from various researchers about whether or not our social environments could contribute to development of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

While some people have seen no connection at all between social environments and ADHD, other researchers have observed that relations and interactions with nannies and caregivers could have a big impact on attentional abilities, among other behavioral aspects. A research that was conducted on foster children would indicate that a high percentage of them presented symptoms similar to those of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

As Khan and Faraone (2006) observe, attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has for long time being part of the human condition. However, since 1970s, when the first realistic concerns towards the disorder were observed in the world, there have been a lot of controversies about the disorder and its diagnosis and its treatment.

As it would be observed, disagreements were not only observed in the possible causes of this serious psychiatric disorder as highlighted in the above paragraphs, but also in the various ways or approaches that can be used to diagnose and treat the disorder.

According to the U.S. Health Department, there is no known cure for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but the disease can easily be managed through one’s stages of development using a number of appropriate interventions. More importantly, some symptoms aligned to the disorder may also get to improve as a child grows.

Currently, researchers have developed a wide range of effective protection and treatment interventions that can be used to address this disorder in the world. The available treatments of the disorder in the contemporary world can only be useful at improving functioning and reducing the symptoms. Some of the common forms of treatment here would include the use of medicines, application of various types of psychotherapy, appropriate training, and parental support and advice.

The medication of this psychiatric condition entails the use of stimulant and non-stimulant medications. Whereas stimulants medications would include medicines such as amphetamines and methylphenidates, non-stimulant medications would include guanfacine, atomoxetine, and clonidine.

As Barkley and Murphy (1998) observe, the main reason why stimulants are used to treat the disorder is because they are effective in activating the parts of the human brain that supports focused behavior and attention. Apart from improving the ability to focus and be able to pay attention, these medications are also known to play a significant role in improving the physical coordination of the victims.

Despite the many benefits associated with stimulant ADHD medication, there is also a number of associated side effects, and these would include headaches, sleep disorders, irritability, mild stomachaches, lowered appetite, and anxiety. However, these side effects can be addressed using appropriate interventions. For example, healthy meals can be introduced where decreased appetite has been observed, while a consistent sleep routine that comprises of a soothing environment could be of great help here.

Apart from the stimulant and non-stimulant medications discussed above in the above sentences, different forms of psychotherapy intervention are also applied to treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The main aim of these behavioral therapies is to help the victims change their behavior.

This intervention usually entails conducting practice assistance on victims, such as engaging them in emotionally challenging tasks or activities. A good example here is helping them organize their tasks and complete school assignments in time. Another important benefit of behavioral therapy is that it plays a crucial role in helping ADHD children monitor their behavior.

In this regard, therapists commit themselves to teaching children all manners of social skills, such as how to engage others in peaceful play, ask for assistance, and report a situation to their teachers or any other person who plays a role in their lives. According to Davidson (2008) therapy is also a stress-management technique which can be applied parents and guardians to diversify their own capabilities of dealing with frustrations, thus enabling them to deal with their children’s behavior in a calm way.

Therapy may also be extended to the entire family members to help them understand better and effective ways of handling disruptive behaviors as they are portrayed by their children who have been diagnosed with ADHD disorders. Even though these interventions may never completely eliminate behavioral symptoms from the affected children and adults, they do play a significant role in helping the victims learn new strategies of realizing their real purpose in life, thus living a successful life.

As it is observed from this paper, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD presents significant challenges to human development. As we all know, human development in almost all aspects of life is determined by a sound mind and in that case, a well-functioning human brain would be essential for a smooth human development.

As Rader, McCauley and Callen (2009) observe, given the nature of its implications on the human brain, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) could be a serious problem of human development today, if it were not for the numerous interventions that have been made over the years.

As a matter of fact, most countries in the world have accepted Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as a genuine psychiatric disorder, thus engaging in activities and initiatives aimed at ensuring that there is a successful management of the disorder in almost every part of the world.

Unlike in the past, where Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder was viewed as a behavioral problem resulting from environmental factors, modern studies have offered much sense about the development, diagnosis, and the treatment of the disorder using medications and psychotherapy, among other key interventions.

Improved knowledge on ADHD gained over the years, coupled with the use of valid and reliable diagnosis equipment and treatment approaches used to address the disorder has enhanced life in a great way, thus helping to solve key problems about human development.

This topic is important because it shades light on the many controversies surrounding HDAD as one of the major issues affecting human development today. Moreover, it clearly indicates the need for more studies on the matter, with a focus on introducing better ways of diagnosing and treating Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in both children and adults.

References

Barkley, R. & Murphy, K. (1998). Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Handbook for Diagnosis and Treatment [and] A Clinical Workbook. New York: ERIC.

Biederman, J., Faraone, S., Spencer, T., and Wilens, T. (1993). Patterns of psychiatric comorbidity, cognition, and psychosocial functioning in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The American journal of psychiatry, 17(6), 48-52.

Campbell, S. (2000). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Handbook of developmental psychopathology. Oklahoma: Springer Publishers.

Davidson, M. (2008). Literature Review: ADHD in Adults A Review of the Literature. Journal of Attention Disorders, 11(6), 628-641.

Gillberg, C., Gillberg, I., and Rasmussen, P. (2004). Co–existing disorders in ADHD — implications for diagnosis and intervention. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 13(1), 80-92.

Khan, S., & Faraone, S. (2006). The genetics of ADHD: a literature review of 2005. Current Psychiatry Reports, 8(5), 393.

Lahey, B., Applegate, B., McBurnett, K., & Biederman, J. (1994). DMS-IV field trials for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 12(15), 46-50.

Mayes R, Bagwell C, Erkulwater J (2008). ADHD and the rise in stimulant use among children. Harv Rev Psychiatry 16(3), 151-66.

Rader R, McCauley L, & Callen, E. (2009). Current strategies in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Am Fam Physician 79 (8), 657–65.

Schatz, D., & Rostain, A. (2006). ADHD With Comorbid Anxiety A Review of the Current Literature. Journal of Attention Disorders, 10(2), 141-149.

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