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Kristin Hoglund
Professor Blakelock
English 2100, Section 30
23 April 2015
ADHD among Children
Its very possible that ADHD gets confused with a child whos just acting out. The traits
and behavior of a child are often looked at and classified even with little information to assess.
Children in their younger years have a tendency to be inattentive and overly excited. Some
children may stand out a little more but that doesnt always mean that there is something wrong
with them. Many people in the U.S. think that every action or trait needs to be classified under a
category, and that these determinations make each person who they are. Sometimes a condition
may be misdiagnosed or even over diagnosed. According to the American Psychiatric
Association, ADHD is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children (APA). Its
easy to assess a child as having ADHD because of the way they are acting, especially their
behavior in the classroom. In order to figure out if a child actually does have ADHD, more
factors need to be analyzed in depth. As with any mental disorder or state of being, there are not
always clear cut guidelines. Its possible that children in their early years of schooling are over
diagnosed with ADHD. Methods of diagnosis, causes of the disorder as in possible family
matters, and treatment shows over-diagnosis of ADHD in children.
Every illness, whether its physical or mental has guidelines for being diagnosed. Dealing
with mental instabilities can become very difficult because you cant see what is actually wrong.

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ADHD tends to be spotted in school aged children who are inattentive in the classroom,
sometimes a child may just be acting out. According to Elizabeth Mika, there are behaviors used
to diagnose ADHD which include: indicating inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and poor impulse
control that are developmentally inappropriate (240). These behavioral problems must be
observed for an extended period of time, because the behavior must be ongoing and a
characteristic of the child. If a child exhibits these tendencies, then their learning will be
impacted and could possibly fall behind in school or do very poorly when it comes to academic
standings.
School isnt the only affected area for children with ADHD because as Kevin Antshel
states it they are often at risk for mood and anxiety disorder (629). Children who have these
often, frequently have a problem with their social life. When a childs behavior can jump from
one extreme to another its hard to know when other children should be around them, especially
when no one knows what is going through their minds. For a child who also has anxiety issues,
being around crowds or other children can become a problem. Children with ADHD tendencies
tend to experience states of over excitabilities.
Childrens over excitabilities can either be sensual or imagined to the child. As explained
by Anne Rinn, sensual excitabilities can be characterized by heightened pleasures via senses,
whereas imaginational is express through vivid and detailed daydreams or fantasies (40). Those
excitabilities can interfere with what the child is experiencing as opposed to what is actually
going on in life around them. At the same time the acting out of the child can be a result of their
environment. To know exactly what is going on with the child they should be seen routinely by
appropriate specialists.

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Children also need to be examined by more than just one person, that way they have a
variety of opinions made by many specialists. The more the child is examined the better the
diagnosis can be. That doesnt usually happen though, because according to Harold Koplewicz
and Thomas Power, ADHD diagnoses are made by a primary care doctor, not psychiatrists (1).
However, ADHD is a cognitive disorder which means it should be looked at by a psychiatrist
alongside of the family doctor. Children need a rounded diagnosis so they can be treated in the
best possible way. Psychiatrists may find out that the problem within the child cant be clinically
diagnosed but needs further recognition in the household. Sometimes the family dynamic enables
the childs behavior.
Doctors should look into family issues, because the influence of parents on children with
ADHD is often overlooked. Children are often influenced by their surroundings especially in
their formative years. ADHD is actually known to be highly hereditary (Antshel 688).
Therefore it may not be just a child acting out for attention, but the child might exhibit these
qualities because of the blood they hold. The child is not always to blame for their out of control
behavior. According to some studies, children who have parents with ADHD are at risk of
obtaining ADHD with odds increased by two, with a similar risk among siblings (Antshel 688).
Parents may go their whole lives without ever being diagnosed but questions do arise when their
child shows ADHD tendencies. Its possible for the child to get their behavior from their parents
meaning they dont actually have ADHD.
As for the siblings, they are just as likely to develop ADHD as their already diagnosed
brother or sister. As stated by Phyllis Erdman, familial environments that are disorganized,
chaotic, or neglectful are viewed as predisposing factors in ADHD diagnosis (180). The
behavior of the child often reflects what happens in their everyday lives. Ways to approach the

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needs of a child start with their home life. Children learn very early on from what they see and
experience. Children with ADHD need to be approached differently than a typical child but
caregivers of coercive children are frequently unresponsive to their needs, and when they do
respond it is with anger and negative effect (Erdman 181). It may be easy to get irritated and
frustrated with the childs behavior.
To keep the childs best interest in mind so that frustration towards them will be lessened,
the situation needs to be handled in a calm manner. Some believe that medication will fix
everything, but in such cases typically, the diagnosis meets the needs of the parents more than it
does of the child (Erdman 177). Parents feel a sense of relief when the child gets diagnosed
because they feel like their child can now be helped. The parents could actually be issue because
ADHD symptoms appear to be closely associated with suboptimal parenting or neglect (Mika
238). What seem to be the overall trend is that parents have a role in their childrens behavior and
diagnosis. The help that the child does receives needs to be the best option and the best diagnosis
for them.
Caregivers are sometimes the main issue in causing ADHD, but it seems as though the
diagnosis is geared towards less struggle for the caregiver at fault. Even if the diagnoses are
clinically valid they send a message to the parent and child that the problem lies within the
child, when in reality it is a family issue (Erdman 182). The child should not have to feel as if
they have something wrong with them. The child will only act out more and feel isolated from
the world. Family matters need to be taken a look at when it comes to diagnosis. There are so
many factors that could be playing a role in the childs behavior but currently people arent
concerning themselves with those other issues.

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Treatment of children with ADHD typically involves medication. What needs to be


analyzed is if medication is actually beneficial to the child. According to an article done by
Science and Children medication put in place to treat ADHD can have a negative on children,
such as sleep disruption, increased risk of cardiovascular events and slower growth rates (17).
This statement shows that there are some known side effects that people are aware of. Children
dont have a say in what their parents decide to put them on. The most scary health risk is the one
dealing with cardiovascular occurrences. The cause of slower growth rates is due to suppressed
appetite caused by a common side effect of the ADHD medication (Rinn 42). Children need to
continue to absorb calories but if they dont feel like eating then they wont get essential
nutrients to help with growth.
Besides medication ADHD may be treated differently by teachers and parents, which
could lead to negative self-perception and social issues (Science and Children 17). When a child
has two different people telling them opposing positions it can change how they view
themselves, and also how they perceive situations being handled. Children are influenced
immensely by their elders and it can be easy for them to get confused with what the real problem
actually is. Treatment can be tricky because not only do multiple people have an opinion on
whats best for the child, but also how accurate can the diagnosis be.
It is possible that the child could be going through a phase. There is a concern that it is
difficult to clearly differentiate between what is normal high activity and when it becomes
ADHD (Erdman 182). A child shouldnt have to be forced to take medication when they may
not even have anything wrong with them. The primary caregiver needs to think of whats best for
the child, and how medication could affect their health. There is also a drive for medical facilities
to bring in money. Another factor resulting in treatment, is that medical billing systems may

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result in a tendency to diagnose borderline cases (Koplewicz 2). Society seems to be focuses on
monetary gains so much that it is distinctly possible that a medical facility isnt always keeping
the interest of the patient in mind.
Children go through phases all the time and one of their phases may be over excitability.
What needs to be done is a change in the way a child is diagnosed. Currently children are
typically only evaluated by one doctor which is their primary physician. Since ADHD is a mental
disorder, physiatrists should also be involved with the final prognosis. In todays society people
seek medical treatment for every little thing. Therefore, children are being picked apart when
their behavior doesnt fit normal character traits of a child. There is a fine line between having
a disorder and being different. Its possible that doctors benefit from a positive diagnosis because
they will get more money out of a family if the child has to attend more check-up appointments.
The childs health should always remain first priority because their lives can be greatly affected.
When it comes to the diagnosis of the child, various factors causing the disorder need to
be evaluated. The main cause of ADHD might actually be the family and the household in which
they live. Children are influenced greatly on what they see and hear. When their primary
environment is chaotic they are going to be more high-strung. Children are like sponges and they
absorb everything around them. Neglect and poor parenting styles have been reported with
children of ADHD tendencies. It has also become known that ADHD could be hereditary. By
knowing these possibilities, parents can take precautions early on in their childs life.
Taking precautionary measures can help prevent the need of treatment. Typically,
treatment is either through medication or trying to correct the behavior through teaching right
from wrong. Medication can have lasting effects on a child heart and growth rates. There are
many bad side effects of commonly used ADHD medication. Children should not be put at risk

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period, but especially if they arent properly diagnosed. Parents have the ultimate say in what
happens with their child, so when it comes down to it they are at fault for wrongful treatment. All
these factors from diagnosis, to family issues, to treatment should be analyzed thoroughly.
Children are delicate and so is their health. Making their lives the best for them, is what needs to
be kept in mind.

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Works Cited
Antshel, Kevin M. "Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder A Valid Diagnosis In The
Presence Of High IQ? Results From The MGH Longitudinal Family Studies Of ADHD."
Journal Of Child Psychology And Psychiatry 48.7 (n.d.): 687-694. Social Sciences
Citation Index. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.
Erdman, Phyllis. "Conceptualizing Adhd As A Contextual Response To Parental
Attachment." American Journal Of Family Therapy 26.2 (1998): 177-185.Academic
Search Complete. Web. 5 Feb. 2015.
"Home | Psychiatry.org." Home | Psychiatry.org. Web. 3 Mar. 2015.
<http://www.psychiatry.org>.
Koplewicz, Harold, and Thomas Power. "Is ADHD Overdiagnosed In American Children?." U.S.
News Digital Weekly 5.16 (2013): 16. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 5 Feb. 2015.
Mika, Elizabeth. "Research Commentary Point-Counterpoint: Diagnosis of Giftedness and
ADHD." Roeper Review 28.4 (2006): 237-242. Web. 2 Feb. 2015.
Rinn, Anne N., and Marilyn J. Reynolds. "Overexcitabilities And ADHD In The Gifted: An
Examination." Roeper Review 34.1 (2012): 38. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.
"Younger Children In The Classroom Likely Overdiagnosed With Adhd." Science &
Children 49.8 (2012): 16-17. Education Research Complete. Web. 9 Feb. 2015.