Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobehavioral and psychiatric disorder that affects at least one in every 20 children in the western world (Pineda, Ardila, RosselliMet al, 1999).
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It is characterized by hyperactivity or impulsiveness, and in most cases, difficulties in paying attention. Since 1970s, there has been a debate over the existence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
In fact, the existence of the condition, its treatment and diagnosis, have been considered controversial topics since the condition was first suggested in the medical, psychology and education.
The controversial aspect of ADHD has attracted researchers from a number of fields, with an aim of determining whether the condition is real or whether it is a myth (Brown, Freeman, Perrin, et al, 2001).
Yes, ADHAD exists and Is a Brain Condition That Affects Children and Adults
The American psychiatric Association (2004) asserts that ADHD actually exists and in the United States alone, it affects at least one in every 20 children. Studies have shown that sufferers of ADHD have relatively similar symptoms.
These symptoms includes inattention (the patients are easily disrupted), impulsivity as well as hyperactivity. In addition, APA (2004) asserts that ADHD victims may have a number of their aspects of behavior and performance adversely affected both at home and school.
Studies reveal that the condition may persist throughout adolescent, and in some cases, it may progress towards adulthood.
Over the last three decades, biomedical studies have confirmed the existence of the condition. For instance, the study by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2008) found that the condition has a strong genetic linkage, with a high rate of hereditary and running in certain family lines.
In fact, this study confirmed that about 75% of all the cases are hereditary (Swanson, Sergeant, Taylor, et al, 1998). Recently, studies by Arcos-Bugos and colleagues (2010) have identified a number of candidate genes that are closely associated with the condition, including DAT1, DRD5, DRD4, HTR1B, 5HTT and SNAP25.
In fact, most of these genes are associated with and may affect dopamine transporters, further provides a strong indication of the presence of ADHD as a hereditary factor.
In addition, studies by Geizer, Ficks and Waldama (2009) have shown that a gene variant LPHN3 accounts for more than 9% of all the ADHD cases. These studies provide a strong evidence of the existence of ADHD.
No, ADHD Does Not Exist
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (1999), opinions regarding the existence of ADHD include a belief that the condition does not exist at all. Other opinions attempt to make the people belief that the condition is a purely hereditary factor running in families.
In addition, according to NIHCE (2004), ADHD diagnosis lacks any biological basis, indicating that the condition could only be an exaggeration of one of the known psychiatric conditions rather than a disease by its own.
According to Ramsey (2007), ADHD is a controversy that only results from a misunderstanding and misconception of diagnosis criteria and how medical practitioners use these criteria.
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Personal Opinion on ADHD and Application in the Classroom
ADHD is a psychiatric condition that should not be ignored in education. The fact that students with ADHD normally tend to be disrupted from concentrating in the class is a factor that requires adequate measures to ensure that student’s conditions are addressed (Biederman, Wilens, Mick et al, 1998).
Screening and testing is necessary to determine the children who require special attention.
Considering ADHD in the classroom, a teacher would observe the affected child getting frequent cases of inattention, which in turn disorients the child. Special education may be required in cases where the child’s condition is advanced.
American Psychiatric Association. (2004). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Washington: American Psychiatric Association
Arcos-Burgos, M., Jain, M., Acosta, M. T., Shively, S., et al. (2010). A common variant of the latrophilin 3 gene, LPHN3, confers susceptibility to ADHD and predicts effectiveness of stimulant medication. Mol Psychiatry 15(11), 1053-66
Biederman, J., Wilens, T., Mick, E., et al. (1998). Is ADHD a risk factor for psychoactive substance use disorders? Findings from a four-year prospective follow-up study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 36, 21–29
Brown, R. T., Freeman, W. S., Perrin, J. M., et al. (2001). Prevalence and assessment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in primary care settings. Pediatrics, 2(4), 107-114
Gizer, I R., Ficks, C., Waldman, I. D. (2009). Candidate gene studies of ADHD: a meta-analytic review. Hum Genet 126(1), 51-90
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. (2008). CG72 Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). London: NIHCE
Pineda, D., Ardila, A., Rosselli, M, et al. (1999). Prevalence of attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder symptoms in 4- to 17-year-old children in the general population. J Abnorm Child Psychol, 27, 455–462.
Ramsay, J. R. (2007). Cognitive behavioral therapy for adult ADHD. New York: Routledge
Swanson, J. M., Sergeant, J. A., Taylor, E., et al. (1998). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and hyperkinetic disorder. Lancet, 351, 429–433
US department of health and human services. (1999). Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Washington, DC: department of health and human services.