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Critical Issue Analysis - S Adhd a Real Disorder?

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Critical Issue Analysis

(Is ADHD a Real Disorder)

Jeffrey K. Kelley

University of Phoenix

Psych 515

Instructor: Dr. Beverly Nelson

Is ADHD a Real Disorder?

The debate continues to go on about is ADHD real? Or is it simply a result of some children being more energetic than others or is it a lack of parental discipline and guidance? In this weeks articles the Pro side is represented by the National Institute of Mental Health or NIMH for short in their article entitled " Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder". The Con side is represented by Psychologist Roger H. Wright in his article "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, What it is and what it is not". I believe that it is important to note the Psychologist Roger Wright does not argue that such a disorder exists but rather to what degree does it exist, arguing that it may be over exaggerated as to the numbers of those who have this disorder due to neurological causes.

1. What are two facts presented by each side?

a. The NIMH cites statistics from several studies which seem to show that 25% of family members whose son or daughter have this disorder also have ADHD and that in studies concerning identical twins genetics play a huge part in the development of this disorder. (Halgin, 2009). They also provide evidence that shows there are several neurological differences in children with ADHD, such as 1. A decrease in white matter volume in the brain, 2. In general people with this disorder often have smaller brains, 3. There are generally abnormalities found in the basal ganglia, the area of the brain that is responsible for motor control and learning. At first it would appear that this would be overwhelming evidence to support the belief in ADHD, but where these reports reveal a correlation between ADHD and brain dysfunctions, they do not however reveal what is the cause of ADHD. Therefore it remains unclear as to whether ADHD causes the brain deficiencies or whether the brain deficiencies cause the ADHD.

b. In a previous study that had been done on over a 160,000 children and adolescents, from 39 states, all of which exhibited signs of ADHD, Wright lays out the argument that the number of children on medication due to this disorder could be reduced by simply having a positive male role model in their life, and with the involvement of counseling. These results would seemingly add credibility to the argument that a child's environment plays a significant role in either the development of this disorder or in the stopping of it. It would seem according to this evidence that environment may play a bigger role in this disorder than does either genetic or biological factors. Wright is quick however to point out that there is quite a difference between neurologically caused ADHD and emotionally caused ADHD. Wright goes on to state that hyperactivity and attention deficits have been being treated for many years, but not as the primary problem but rather as secondary problems to a larger neurological issue. He states that medications have used for years to help deliver a calming effect to the client until the discovery of what the real problem is and what can be done about it.

2. Two opinions from each side of this argument.

a. The NIMH does an excellent job in presenting statistics and various studies to prove the existence of this disorder, however they then begin to discount various environmental causes without citing any studies and experiments. In fact they clearly state that "there is little evidence at this time that ADHD can arise solely from social factors or child rearing methods"(Halgin,2009).

b. The NIMH gives the opinion that medications are not intended to cure ADHD but simply to treat the symptoms, then they proceed to say that by providing medications to treat the symptoms they are helping the child avoid negative experiences that may cause further trauma in their lives. I understand what they are saying that it is good to try to help the child by reducing/managing their symptoms with the use of medications but having had children with this disorder, it is troubling to see medication which don't cure the disease but can make them like zombies with little activity. It is better to work at finding a cure, whether that be through constant redirection, discipline, counseling or medication, but help them get to the point where the disorder does not control them but they control it.

c. Wright on the other hand promotes the idea that there is a distinct difference between emotional caused ADHD and neurological caused ADHD,(Halgin,2009). He believes that neurological caused ADHD symptoms tend to decrease shortly after the accident that caused the trauma but ADHD which is caused by emotional trauma tends to worsen as the child enters into adolescence and into adulthood.

d. Wright also believes that psychotherapy is a complete waste of time in cases of true ADHD, instead taking the approach that remedial training in vision perception, motor activities, visual motor integration, spatial relations, numerical skills and reading and writing may be crucial in alleviating or at least

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