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Treatment of Children with ADHD Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 24th, 2020

The problem of ADHD treatment has been brewing for quite long; however, the solutions for preventing the disorder or at least fighting it successfully have been provided comparatively recently. As researches say, for a number of years and even decades, the existence of ADHD as a disorder has been questioned; even nowadays, the debates concerning the controversial nature of ADHD, or ADD, are still continuing. Hence, the problem concerning the treatment methods for ADHD (ADD) stems. According to the existing definition, ADHD (ADD) is a behavioral disorder that can be characterized by listing its five key symptoms, i.e.: impulsivity, inattention, overarousal, difficulty with gratification and emotions and locus of control (Goldstein & Reynolds, 2011, 135).

As it has been mentioned above, the existence of ADHD (ADD) has been proven quite recently; as a matter of fact, even nowadays, ADHD treatment has been referred to as “fraud” by several researchers, such as Baughman (2006). Nevertheless, the existence of ADHD has finally been acknowledged (Lougy, DeRuvo & Rosenthal, 2007, 1), which triggered a number of other issues, such as the treatment options. Because of the lack of sufficient evidence concerning the effects of various treatment methods for ADHD, as well as the recent Ritalin scandal, the idea of treating children with ADHD with the help of stimulant medications gets a very hostile reception from the concerned parents, which prevents from efficient ADHD treatment.

As a result, the opinions concerning the treatment of ADHD are strikingly different. Some people claim that drug treatment of the ADHD children is the only possible option since the disorder has a clear biological origin. As researchers say, drugs work on a cellular level, which allows for more efficient and faster treatment. It is also important that the use of medicine for treating ADHD has a clearly positive effect on children’s cognitive functions. Arnsten (2000) claims that the ADHD syndrome is clearly caused by the dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex (PFC): “The right PFC has been shown to be consistently smaller in ADHD patients than in age-matched controls” (Arnsten, 2000, 186).

Therefore, the use of medications should clearly be authorized for children with ADHD, since the disease has clearly biological origin. By treating the problem with the help of a psychological approach, i.e., attempting at changing the child’s behavioral patterns, one will fail to eliminate the reasons for ADHD to have happened and, thus, will risk recidivism. Meanwhile, by using the drugs that have a tangible impact on the brain and, thus, contribute to the process of PFC functions recovery, one can eliminate the root of the problem and, thus, cure ADHD.

Although the given opinion has the right to exist, one must admit that drugs often have negative side effects: “A controversial stimulant treatment for ADHD is pemoline (Cylert)” (Mash & Barkley, 2006). In addition, some researchers say that pharmaceutical treatment of ADHD contributes to the development of the bipolar disorder in patients (Association for Natural Psychology, 2009, 27).

Therefore, other treatment methods have been developed. Non-drug treatment is another existing alternative. According to the existing evidence, non-drug treatment is much safer than the pharmaceutical one, since it does not influence chemical and biological processes within a human body. On the other hand, though, it is worth mentioning that a non-pharmaceutical method is far more time-consuming and demands more efforts from a patient, which is especially inconvenient in treating children. Speaking of the positive aspects of a non-drug treatment, it is worth bringing up the multiple targets that such approach can address. It helps specify the problems with the executive function, the issues concerning inattention, the key factors causing hyperactivity, and the problems related to the impulsivity of the patient (Wells, 2010).

In addition, a drug-free approach allows to understand the problem, learn its psychological causes and, therefore, solve the problem itself, instead of relying on the effect of drugs, which dull the reaction towards the irritants instead of dealing with these irritants.

Therefore, I believe that using solely Ritalin or any other stimulant medication for the sake of treating the ADHD (ADD) in children is rather undesirable. Instead, the treatment of ADHD should combine medical treatment with the elements of non-drug therapies. For example, alternative methods for treatment of ADHD in children and adults offer such programs psychological treatment, or the so-called “behavioral therapy.”

According to what Jacobelli and Watson say on the issue, the first step to successful treatment is recognizing that the child with an ADHD syndrome needs a specific learning style and studying environment. In addition, the ADHD diagnosis should not be considered as a typical disorder; according to Jacobelli and Watson, “a diagnosis is nothing more than a label placed on the child, based on a group of observable or otherwise verifiable behaviors” (Jacobelli & Watson, 2011, 9). As soon as the specifics of the child’s development and learning patterns has been recognized, an individual treatment that comprises the elements of psychological healing and medical treatment must be applied.

Reference List

Arnsten, A. F. T. (2000). Dopaminergic and noradrenergic influences on cognitive functions mediated by prefrontal cortex. In M. V. Solanto, Stimulant drugs and ADHD: Basic and clinical neuroscience. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 185–209. Web.

Association for Natural Psychology, (2009). Overcoming ADHD without medication: A parent’s and educator’s guidebook. Newark, NJ: AYCNP. Web.

Baughman, F. (2006). The ADHD fraud: How psychiatry makes patients of normal children. Victoria, BC: Trafford. Web.

Goldstein, S. & Reynolds, C. R. (2011). Handbook of neurodevelopmental and genetic disorders in children. New York, NY: Guilford Press. Web.

Jacobelli, F. & Watson, L. A. (2011). ADHD/ADD drug free: Natural alternatives and practical exercises to help your child focus. New York, NY: AMACOM. Web.

Lougy, R. A., DeRuvo, S. L. & Rosenthal, D. (2007). Teaching young children with ADHD: Successful strategies and practical interventions for preK-3. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Web.

Mash, E. J. & Barkley, R. A. (2006). Treatment of childhood disorders. New York, NY: Guilford Press. Web.

Wells, A. (2010). A multi-modal approach to address ADHD: A non-drug emphasis. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. Web.

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