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Hyper diagnosis of a hyper nation?

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ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a disorder in which the person afflicted has difficulty processing neural stimuli, causing a lack of control over behavior. Symptoms of ADHD include trouble focusing and hyperactivity.

When we were younger, we had all heard of ADHD. For us, it was a joke. If someone was being hyper, somebody would call out: “do you have ADHD?” followed by a chorus of elementary-aged laughter.

Other micro-aggressive jokes such as “did you take your medication this morning?” were just harmless cracks at someone who was acting crazy.

But for someone diagnosed with ADHD, these jests are not so harmless.

Lately, there has been a rise in the amount of diagnoses of ADHD. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 11% of kids 7-14 were diagnosed with ADHD in 2013, which is a significant increase since 2003, in which 7.8% of kids were diagnosed.

There is a lot of controversy as to why we have seen this sudden increase in diagnoses in the last decade. Some people say that this is due to more knowledge of the disorder and its implications, while others claim that ADHD is being overdiagnosed.

There are many theories behind the idea of overdiagnosis, including the one that states that teachers are too lazy to teach hyper kids, doctors are trying to make more money with the pharmaceutical treatments, and the most common one: that ADHD has a direct correlation with standardized testing.

People also argue whether or not it is a good idea to be put on medication, since most medication for ADHD has symptoms including irritability, insomnia, loss of appetite and, in extreme cases, mental or cardiovascular problems. Not to mention that the good effects of the medicine are temporary.

Also, people who are anti-medication claim that there are plenty of natural remedies such as exercise or a sugar free diet to help with symptoms. People who are pro-medication believe that medication has more positive effects than negative and is much more effective than natural remedies, allowing them to be more focused and organized with minimal symptoms.

Bridgete Franco has a 14 year old son who was diagnosed with ADHD at just 8 years old. Franco states that she was apprehensive about getting her son checked for ADHD, because she felt that it was overdiagnosed and that the teacher who mentioned that he may have it was not trying to better her son, but rather she didn’t want to be “bothered with the fact that he was active or bored.”

Now, she understands the effects that ADHD can have on a person’s daily life and this ultimately led her to put aside the stigma that comes with being medicated for ADHD

As far as the argument of whether or not medication is a good option, Franco states that “we did go down the natural remedies route for many years, eliminating junk foods, sugars, drinking tea, protein shakes, etc. – all gave small to minimal results. Medication has given the constant results we are … striving for.”

Despite the troubles that ADHD has caused in the past, Franco has a positive attitude towards how Ryan will do throughout his life, stating that, “I have a co-worker that pulled me aside recently and said that my son will be okay…He said ‘I am 45 years, old I have ADHD. I had been kicked out of schools for my behavior and struggled most of my childhood because I couldn’t focus. In college, I asked to be medicated and it was the best thing for me. I don’t take the meds now, but sometimes there are days where I could want to.’”

Sarah Fulcher, junior, was diagnosed with ADHD in the third grade. She feels that there is often a misconception between ADHD and just being hyper because “with being hyper, you… grow out of it, but ADHD kind of goes with you, like, you can’t focus in school.”

Fulcher said she feels that “putting a label on it isn’t the best thing… but giving a name to it can help… it allows you to get medicated.”

Although Fulcher thinks medication has been extremely beneficial to her schoolwork and organization, she doesn’t think ADHD is something that needs to be cured. “It is a part of me. I’m me. I just happen to have ADHD.”

Overall, our nation has a stigma against medication for any mental ailment, and ADHD is no exception of this ostracization. Despite the controversy behind whether or not our nation hands out the label ADHD too freely, there are real people suffering with this problem everyday, and how they choose to handle it is different for everyone and clearly depends on the needs of the individual.

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The student news site of Summerville High School.
Hyper diagnosis of a hyper nation?