Essay about The Media and ADHD

2026 Words 9 Pages
A few years ago, a survey of 30,000 children in Virginia found that seventeen percent of fifth grade white boys were taking medications for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (10). Over the past year, several lawsuits have been filed against Novartis, the manufacturers of Ritalin; CHADD, a support group for individuals with ADHD; and The American Psychiatric Association, claiming that the defendants have conspired together to create and promote the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder(8). In Albany, New York, a family court recently ruled that a couple must put their seven-year-old son back on Ritalin after the public schools accused the parents of child abuse for taking him off the medication(7). As …show more content…
First, however, I consider a brief history of ADHD, as the current controversy associated with the diagnosis and treatment of this disorder may be traced, at least in part, to a historical failure of the medical profession to understand its ultimate cause.

History of ADHD

Historically, most attempts to define the cause of ADHD have been biological in nature. In 1902, George Still produced the first clinical description of what we today refer to as ADHD(2). Through his clinical practice he observed children who seemed abnormally aggressive, poorly inhibited, highly emotional, resistant to discipline and easily distractible. Still conceptualized this disorder as the result of biological factors, including heredity and central nervous system damage(2). Widespread interest in children such as those described by Still did not arise until after World War II. At this time, scientists began to consider brain damage as the exclusive cause for restless and inattentive behavior, and they coined the term "minimal brain damage" to refer to this disorder in children(2). Doctors and scientists continued to accept neurological damage as the central causative explanation for this disorder until the 1970s, when a series of publications refuted the relationship between abnormally hyperactive, inattentive and

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