Are ADHD Patients Over-Medicated?
The medical community agrees that kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder certainly need treatment. However, the right type of treatment is still being hotly debated. Because an estimated 8-10% of school age children have ADHD, a lot of attention is being given to the over-diagnosis and over-medication of our children. Parents are rightly concerned that their child will not develop properly, and they know that early years of development have a large impact on the course of the rest of the child's life. Therefore they're quick, maybe too quick, to buy every medication reported as a solution.
Treatment for ADHD Is Necessary
Not treating ADHD can threaten brain integrity and function. The brain needs stimulation to develop properly. Failure to receive and process stimuli when the brain is maturing and growing can lead to lifelong damage and consequences. Therefore, a child who has ADHD who cannot pay attention and learn is at risk for learning delays and academic failure. If left untreated, a child with ADHD is at greater risk for social and medical problems, including drug and alcohol abuse, trouble with the law, and difficulty in adult relationships. There's no question that ADHD must be addressed and treated thoroughly; the question lies in the type of treatment that should be administered.
The Cornerstone of Treatment
The non-medication side of treatment, developing behavioral strategies, is essential for ADHD treatment. Behavioral therapy, social skills therapy, support groups, and good parent-teacher relations are highly beneficial to manage ADHD. Parents and teachers with an endless supply of patience and understanding will go a long way toward the child's benefit. However, most doctors recommend medications in addition to behavioral modifications, and this is where the dispute begins.
The most widely researched and commonly prescribed treatments for ADHD are psychostimulant drugss like Ritalin. Numerous studies have shown the safety and effectiveness of these medications, but medical professionals wonder if these drugs are truly the answer. As ADHD becomes more and more over-diagnosed, does this result in over medication?
Over Diagnosis = Over Medication
The issue is hotly debated because statistics show that an alarming number of ADHD cases are misdiagnosed. Medications designed to treat ADHD may be effective for this condition, but what if ADHD medication is given to an individual has been diagnosed incorrectly? Kids who may really have a separate condition (or no condition at all) are being given medication that is not going to help them. In reality, it is only making their problem worse because they are not getting the help they really need.
Protect Your Child from Over Medication
ADHD, like any other illness, requires treatment. To make sure your child gets the help he needs, have him get a full evaluation, including neurological and development tests. Do not be quick to jump on the ADHD bandwagon; be open to the correct diagnosis. If your child is confirmed to have ADHD, your health practitioner will discuss treatment options with you.
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