Adhd and the effects of ritalin

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ADHD and the effects of Ritalin

A. Question Class
1.What is ADHD/ADD and how it is diagnosed?
It is estimated that between 3-10% of the population has to deal with a      Conditions known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Attention
Deficit Disorder. Children with ADD have similar symptoms to those with ADHD; the only difference is that they do not show signs of hyperactivity. Approximately 3-5% are school-age children. It is the most common diagnosed behavioral disorder in children and is seen in boys more than girls at a rate of 3 to 1. At 5% each classroom in American will have one or two ADHD kids in the class. ADHD is often very hard to diagnose because many symptoms mimic other disorders. It should only be diagnosed by a qualified health professional knowledgeable and experienced in ADHD. The diagnosis is very complex because there is no one test available to diagnose ADHD. The diagnosis includes a through clinical assessment, history taking, and behavioral rating, which usually take a significant amount of time. There are three groups of symptoms; they include inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The child must exhibit at least six of the symptoms in a category for at least six months. It is also required that some symptoms were present before the age of seven.
2.What Causes ADHD?
     Currently the cause of ADHD is not known. Research done in genetics has shown ADD or ADHD could be either acquired of inherited disorders. These disorders have been shown to run in families. However, the specific gene or genes causing them have not been found. Another way acquired is before birth. Toxemia, infectious diseases, exposure to radiation, prematurely, and complicated delivery are all causes. After birth, include meningitis, seizures from fever, head injury and lead toxicity. All these lead to damage to the brain. Although the cause is unclear, PET scans have found that there appears to be different levels of chemical activity. Individuals with ADHD seem to show that there is not enough chemical activity to let these individuals concentrate of focus.
3. Treatment of ADHD
There is no cure for ADHD, but there are effective treatments available. The most common used medication for school-aged children is Ritalin. Ritalin is a mild central nervous system stimulant. It is not recommended for children under six years of age, and is to initiated in small doses. Dosages must be individualized depending on the child’s age, weight, and individual response. It last for 3-4 hours. Some of the benefits of Ritalin include improving the child’s attention span, helping them to focus, calming them down, reducing impulsivity, and allowing them to play better with other children. Some common side effects include reduced appetite, headache, stomachache, irritability, and sadness. In between doses, children may experience the "rebound effect", which occurs when the medication begins to wear off and symptoms begin to recur before it is time for the next dosage. It is advised that children take "drug holidays’ or a break from the medication, on the weekends off when the child is not in a structured setting.

4. The Controversy
     One of the biggest controversies regarding ADHD in children is this common use of stimulants. Are we drugging America’s children? Is Ritalin too commonly abused in children? Can treating a child with Ritalin do more harm than good? Do parents and teachers benefit more than the children do?

5. Benefits of Ritalin
     Ritalin is useful when it is prescribed in its proper context, initiated in small doses, and monitored appropriately. It has been shown to be beneficial in treating the symptoms of ADHD in about 80% of children .If taken in regular release form, which is three times a day for seven days a week. It has been shown to improve their social skills and their ability to play and get along with others their age. Teachers will also benefit from a calmer, easier to control classroom, where there are less distractions in learning. The biggest benefits seem to be decreased distractibility, decreased hyperactivity, decreases aggression, increases ability to follow directions, increases ability to finish tasks, increases legibility of handwriting, allows the child to think before he/she speaks. These all seem to be some very good benefits but there are also many cons that have many American’s worried.
6.Cons of Ritalin
     Ritalin use is questioned because its mode of action is not completely understood in humans, and there is lack of research in its long-term use in children. In some studies that have been done there have been cases of growth suppression, seizures, strokes, and tics. The short-term common side effects have also been noted such as insomnia, nausea, and decreased appetite. Also the fact that most school aged children will have to take a dose during school hours. These children that need to take their medicine must leave the class and go see the nurse. They may be stigmatized by other children in the classroom, which can effect the child’s self-esteem, or may lead the child to skip on his medication. The nature of our culture is to find the quick fix. Some say that medicating children with ADHD supports our lack of attention to children’s needs. It does show that Ritalin may be needed and effective in severe cases of ADHD, but that it is highly over prescribed to our children. Due to the technological advances, computer use, television, and video games, the physical activity in children as decreased. This activity that children are losing needs to be compensated in some way. If this is restricted, it could lead to attitude, behavior, and educational problems. There is also a concern with how we are teaching our children to say no to drugs, but at the same time showing them that its ok to say yes to Ritalin which is a drug considered in the same category as cocaine. We are giving children the message that drugs are the answer to emotional problems. Ritalin is currently considered a Schedule 2 drug by the DEA. For a drug to be considered a controlled substance, it must have the potential for abuse and or addiction. On the street Ritalin can be purchased under the street names of "vitamin R", "R-ball", and Kiddie cocaine" or the smart drug. It is being liquefied to be injected and crushed to be snorted for a high, which is more dangerous and addictive that taking the drug in pill form. The DEA has attributed several deaths to Ritalin abuse.
There needs to be more research done about ADHD and the drug Ritalin. It seems hard to understand how it could be prescribed so freely when there are still many unknowns and questions left unanswered in this area.

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