Attention Deficit Disorder ( Add) Essay, Research Paper
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Everybody knows at least on person with a difficulty of staying still, sustaining attention or inconvenient impulses. For some people the problem is so serious that it is regarded as a psychiatric disorder. Formally known as hyperkinesis, hyperactivity, minimal brain damage and minimal brain dysfunction, Attention Deficit disorder received its present name in the late 70s, and was again restored in 1994 edition of DSM IV. ADD is the most commonly diagnosed childhood psychiatric condition with tow somatic treatments, stimulants and therapy. Support groups and many other community resources speed up the course of the disorder.
The disorder is defined as a person having inappropriate degrees of inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity.
The symptoms that have been displays with in the degree of inattention are:
· The difficulty of paying attention in tasks or a certain amount of time.
· Trouble with following instructions.
· Often losing things for needed tasks.
Impulsiveness of the disorder may include the following:
· Acting before thinking – this may lead to failing academically or friction in social relationships.
· Difficulty in waiting turns, interrupting or intruding on conversations/games.
Examples of hyperactivity will be seen through the child often fidgeting or squirming in their seats. The will be described as being “on the go” or acting as if “driven by a motor”.
Many other symptoms like quick shifts of moods temper outbursts, and problems with getting along with others also occur often. Unfortunately, most of the disorders features are negative. Children with ADD can often concentrate and behave more appropriately in small groups with few distractions in the situation. Their intelligence is normal but find it a challenge to sustain mental effort. Throughout the years they become more calm and relaxed but their restlessness is still noticed.
Many of these symptoms will be present before the age of 7. Nearly 90 percent of children diagnosed with these symptoms, of ADD are males. Males are more hyperactive that females, who so not attract as much attention as the male. But the disorder is equally common within both sexes of adults. Dr. Christopher Green (Director of the Child development Unit at Sydney’s new Children’s Hospital) believes that u to 10 percent of children are mildly affected by ADD and 2 percent have a severe form of it.
Although an ADD child is friendly and talkative, they have difficulty establishing relationships and getting along with others. From personal observations of an ADD child, their attitude towards other people if often irritable and impatient. He has displayed many of the symptoms mentioned in texts. Physically his energy levels are remarkably high even though he has his share of accidents. Many of his expected behaviours tend not to maintain for more than a few minutes. His mothers say that he will have trouble with remembering a certain task that has been told to him a couple of times e.g.: cleaning his hands before eating.
It has been noted that during classes, he has trouble with following instructions. He will immediately ask what he is supposed to do after the teacher has explained to the class the instructions. On the contrary, a child with ADD may do very well academically. It has been shown statistically that individuals with ADD do very well even though the disorder is closely related to learning disabilities.
Problems with ADD children begin at early infancy. Infants are slower to establish eating and sleeping patterns (Neale J, 1990,p416). At the expected age they fail to reach developments such as walking. By their preschool years, they will be looked at as emotional and temperamental children. But this tends to disappear in adulthood, and late adolescence. Once in the work place as an adult an their disorder does not show up as prominently as it did throughout their school years. They have already become more subdued, but little features are still noticeable.
CAUSES OF THE DISORDER.
PSYCHOSOCIAL THEORY OF ADD.
Many theories have arisen once research and experiments have been done. But the exact cause will be different in other individuals/ it is thought that ADD has a physical basis in most cases, but on theory tells us that it is possible that AD may be inherited. For example, Morrison and Stewart found that 20 percent of hyperactive children had a parent who had also been hyperactive (Neale, J, 1990,p417). Bit this psychosocial theory cannot be confirmed until more thorough studies have been made.
· In 1973, Feingold had proposed a biochemical theory of ADD. He had been treating a patient for allergies while she was seeing a psychiatrist for frenetic behaviour. He thought that she might have been allergic to the salicylate compounds in her medication so he prescribed a diet, free of them. Both her allergic and overactivity symptoms had dramatically diminished. (Neale, J, 1990,p418).
It has now been noted that salicylates and similar chemicals in foods and dyes affect the hyperactivity of an ADD individual.
· It has been evident that ADD individuals suffer from abnormally low levels of arousal in the nervous system. ADD children are often under high levels of stress due to their behaviour, therefore causing biochemical differences and the increase of their hyperactive behaviour.
· Possible brain damage is another feature that has been shown in an ADD child. During pregnancy, toxins may have been encountered causing infection or slower than normal development in parts of the brain. At the stage of infancy, the child may have already encountered seizures, cerebral palsy or head injuries.(Ibid,p222)
PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORIES OF ADD
The 1973 diathesis-stress theory proposed Bettelheim, suggests that ADD develops when a child has a disposition towards overactivity and moody behaviour coupled with unfortunate rearing by parents (Ibid. 1999,p2). Parents that become easily stressed and impatient behave negatively towards the disobedience of the child, therefore establishing a disruptive pattern that can conflict with the classroom setting. More study had been done by the Fels Research Institute to support the Bettelhiem theory. It has been found that the attachment relationship between mother and child had been quite poor even during infancy. The mother had displayed little affection and continuously disapproved of her child. But it is said that the relationship is – bi-directional, “the behaviour of each being is determined by the reactions of the other.”(Neale, 1990, p.418) This theory has sparked much controversy in the media. Many doctors have said that “Poor parenting does not cause ADD, but the ADD child makes a good parent appear poor.” (Bolt, A, 1999, p.11) Therefore, hyperactivity cannot be modeled on the behaviour of parents.
TREATMENT OF ADD
The treatment of ADD often consists of two somatic treatments, stimulant drugs and the Feingold diet. Support and counseling therapy, occupational and behavioural therapy, special education and support groups will also make the recovery as full as possible.
Stimulant drugs like Ritalin have been prescribed in Australia since 1990. The drug is described as having a calming effect, helping the child concentrate and get on better with routines at home and school. Unfortunately it has some side effects like problems with sleeping and eating.
There are many programs now that therapist’s devise that has seen a positive response from the children. These programs focus on improving academic work, completion of tasks or learning social skills. Even though the treatment for the disorder requires both drugs and therapy, its success has been short termed due to the belief of the symptoms persisting into adulthood.
The disorder is defined as well as divided into three classes: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness in the 1994 edition of DSM IV. For these classes to appear when diagnosing, DSM IV requires at least two settings: at home and school. It would be difficult to diagnose the disorder in an office therapy session or a laboratory because of the inconsistency of the symptoms.
Even though their overactivity tends to diminish in adulthood, there is much support needed throughout the earlier years. Resource centers and places such as universities (Monash, Clayton) or even the Internet, provide a wide range of ideas and information on the disorder. For Christian families, there is a subscription available from the Internet (members.aol.com/addnews/index/html) that will provide them with the latest information in a user-friendly way.
Krongold center, Monash University (Clayton campus)
Wellington Road, Clayton. Vic,Australia 3168
Bram,L(ed.)Dickey(ed.), 1996, Funk & Wagnall New Encyclopedia (vol 13), Funk & Wagnalls Corporation, USA.
Bolt, A, 1999, “Are we creating a generation of Stepford children?” Sunday Magazine, July 11, p. 8-11
Davison, G, Neale, J, 1990, Abnormal Psychology (Fifth Edition), John Wiley & Sons, New York.