Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that occurs and becomes evident at the early stages of childhood and is characterized by extreme cases of inattentiveness, hyperactivity, impulsivity and a high likelihood of being easily distracted. The current official statistics are that it affects over 5% of the whole world’s population. Although traditionally it has been thought to be predominantly diagnosed in children, present studies indicate that it is on the increase in adults with majority of those diagnosed in their childhood still exhibiting the symptoms in their adult life.  Controversy however is rife on whether ADHD is really a medical condition. This is a debate that continues to rage even amongst the experts themselves. The position of this paper is that it is a medical/ psychological condition, in agreement to a number of studies done by renowned experts and medical organizations (Wender, P. 1995).

            The United States National Health Institute of Mental Health concurs that ADHD is purely a psychological condition citing a number of evidences to legitimize these claims. A look at these arguments leaves no doubt on this and rubbishes the counter claims that it is not a medical condition. The symptoms of ADHD indicate that most of them point at mental oriented disorders rather than physiological conditions. It is hence important to take a look at some of these symptoms.

 Hyperactivity, contrary to what the name might suggest is not a child’s engagement in a game non-stop but rather refers to a condition that see somebody becoming easily excited. It is a condition characterized by unreasonable exuberance and inconsistent attention to issues that might otherwise be considered important.

A hyperactive person also tends to respond to issues demonstrating unreasonably strong emotions. Although hyperactivity may be caused by a number of factors such as lead poisoning, in relation to ADHD, it has been found to result to a child intensifying his or her activities to a level far much beyond that of the normal children.

A look through these symptoms legitimizes further the fact that it is a medical condition that is common in the society. Children properly diagnosed to have ADHD tend to exhibit momentary temper explosions. Although some people may claim that such behaviors are common in toddlers, children with ADHD have been found to exhibit exaggerated aggressiveness more than the normal emotional tantrums of small children. Parents who have had more than one child and whose one of the kids has exhibited ADHD symptoms can attest to the fact that ADHD is real and is very much pronounced in some children.

Kids tend to overreact in an aggressive manner to certain stimulus in for example when they sense a feeling of sadden physical affection or in affection. Such behaviors do not tend to be linked to any specific cause but rather occur sporadically, and neither are these tendencies exhibited in all children. This is further evidence that ADHD is a legitimate concern.

Those claiming that ADHD is not real cite the unavailability of any blood test that would give appropriate indications that it exists in one individual while it is non-existent in another.  Such kind of reasoning is not in any way feasible as there are a number of recognized medical complications that cannot be proven through blood samples.

Depression is one such complication that cannot be validated by conducting a lab test. Furthermore psychological complications are not verifiable through blood tests. Claiming that ADHD is not legitimate on such a basis is tantamount to arguing that mental disorders are non-existent, as they too cannot be tested in a lab. Others go further to claim that the said symptoms for ADHS are just too common and do not contain any said pattern to warrant their lumping together as medical disorders. This is not true. Any known disorder has its own symptoms that are common to it. The ADHD symptoms are common to all individuals. These symptoms are bothersome and that is the reason why people go even further to seek treatment or counseling for such symptoms.

A diagnosis of ADHD requires a trained health expert due to a clash of the symptoms with other mental disorders. This can be done through a series of reviews interviews in children to establish whether such a kid might be having ADHD. The argument that ADHD does not qualify to meet the medical disorder criteria does not hold any water as its analysis by scientists has indicated that it is a valid and scientifically recognized psychiatric disorder. For a complication to be considered a medical disorder, it must be established scientifically that such symptoms results to physical and/ or psychological deficiency and that such deficiency be in a position to harm an individual (Russell Barkley et al, 2005).

Majority of the scientists in the world have come to the conclusion that ADHD inhibits psychological capabilities and these inhibitions are bound to result to harm to an individual. It leads to impaired social relations and results to behaviors that might in the long run expose the affected individuals to physically injurious situations. This is the basic criterion for evaluating whether any disorder is harmful enough to warrant its being referred to as a medical disorder. No competent health and medical expert would refute this.  Social critics have been all along beside themselves with counter claims on this maintaining that it is a medical fraud. Those that try to medicate such patients are doing that under questionable grounds, they further claim (Weiss, G. H., LT, 1993).

They further say that ADHD is as a result of social and psychological problems rather that physiological factor. They cite these factors as ranging from lack of parental guidance and love at home and too much watching of the television. If ADHD was not such a serious medical condition as the above social critics try to insinuate, then it would not result to school drop outs, social outcasts and antisocial behaviors in the affected individuals. The problems associated with this disorder are clear evidence on the legitimacy of the concerns.

Other skeptics have been known to cite the fact that no single drug has been known to cure the disorder as evidence that it is not real. The drugs that are available, they claim, are known to cure only some specific symptoms rather than the whole condition.  This however is not enough to prove that it is an illegitimate medical condition as studies are still under way. Advancements in this field have been greatly compounded by the media propaganda where they have influenced the public to belief that it is not a genuine medical disorder. It is agreeable that no one medication is effective in curbing the disorder, but a number of options have been able to deliver the desired results and supplement any therapy on the disorder (Wender, P. 1995).

In addition too, statistics indicate that a large proportion of people are receiving medication on the disorders. Although this number is not as large as it should be, putting into consideration the seriousness of the disorder, the success behind that medication is a prove that ADHD is real and can be treated through a series of therapies.  The debate on whether Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a legitimate medical disorder should not arise anywhere. Those that are suffering from the disorder or those whose loved ones have such a complication understand better.

There is unanimity from medical experts that it is a genuine disorder that has met the basic scientific criterion based on its ability to result to harm to human beings. Some people have called it a fad just because it cannot be proven or ascertained through a blood test. This is being unreasonable as there are other many health complications, for example a headache, which though is recognized, as legitimate disorder cannot be detected through a blood test.

Russell Barkley et al. January 7, 2005. ADHD International consensus statement on ADHD January 2002. Retrieved on 26/11/2007 from

Wender, P. 1995. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults. New York, NY. Oxford University Press

Weiss, G. Hechtman, LT, 1993. Hyperactive Children Grown up. New York, NY. Geiford Press.


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