Drug and Behavioral Treatments for Children with ADHD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric condition in children (Baird, Stevenson, and Williams 2000). There are a variety of treatments available regarding children with ADHD but controversy exists over which ones are most affective. ADHD is poorly understood; its cause is uncertain therefore its means of treatment is unclear. The most common treatments used today are drug therapies and behavioral therapies. Behavioral therapy in combination with drug therapy is most affective in treating children with ADHD.
ADHD affects 3-9% of the population. Different methods of diagnosing, however, make it difficult to determine the exact percentage (Hoagwood, Kelleher, Feil, et al. 98). The cause of ADHD has not been clearly defined but many speculations about it do exist. Baird et al. (2000), believes that the disorder is linked to genetics. It does not appear on one gene, but rather occurs because of a combination of many genes. ADHD is not an effect of parenting but parenting can affect the severity of it. There is a possibility that small birth size and weight or premature births are correlated with ADHD (Wender 1973).
Children with ADHD are believed to have chemical imbalances in their brains. Again, the cause is uncertain but there are two general possibilities for the imbalance. The first one being that abnormalities in the baby occurred before birth and the other being traced back to genetics. Some of the neurons in the brain of an ADHD child work at a slower than normal pace; they need more stimulation to increase their speed. This need for more stimulation causes the child to exhibit hyperactive behavior (Wender 1973). .
More boys are diagnosed with ADHD than girls and the cause for this is unknown. The ratio of boys diagnosed compared to girls is 3:1. Symptoms of the disorder first appear between the ages of three and seven.