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Psychology 630: Psychopharmacology
Dr. Lisa Kubat
The range of treatment options available for any disease are usually met with an equal amount of praise and criticism. The treatments in place for ADHD are no different. ADHD is a disorder, categorized by some as "mental", that affects 11 percent of children living in the U.S. ages 4 to 17 (CDC.com) and is marked by an inability to focus, control behavior and impulses. It typically has an onset at an early age and lasts throughout the person's life. How a person deals with this disorder is once they have reached an age of independence is based on what was done when they were children. Currently, popular treatments for ADHD include therapy, the use of non-stimulant and stimulant drugs. The latter is where the controversy in treating ADHD comes in. Stimulants are the most popular form of relief prescribed for many individuals living with ADHD but they aren't always the most wanted option. Some of the most common forms of stimulants are methylphenidate, amphetamine, and methamphetamine. Within these three categories are some of the more well-known treatments for ADHD which include Ritalin, Adderall, and Vyvanse. But how do they work and why the controversy?
When discussing ADHD , it is important to have an understanding of where it comes from before it can be treated. In many regards, it is a disorder but by others, just an over active mind that needs to be able to release energy into something structured. However, a lack of structure could be the cause of the disorder in the first place. Maria Pozzo (2012) addre sses the formation of ADHD along with the treatments used for it in her article. Here, the author states that ADHD can be referred to as a genetic disease that can usually be brought on by trauma in the child' s life. She also contests that insecure attachment with caregivers and emotional instability can affect neurological development in children leading to the formation of ADHD. Ritalin is one of the first treatments under fire in this reading. Pozzo (2012) refers to Ritalin as being a "benefit" for teachers and parents who do not know how to deal with the over activity of the child diagnosed and doctors who don't have many options to help them. Even if this statement holds some truth, it is still a very effective drug for ADHD. Ritalin, which is a methylphenidate, is probably the most known medicine us ed for ADHD treatment . One of the major anomalies involved with ADHD is found in the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is known to be the center of our adrenaline and behavior controls. Dysfunction here causes the lack of impulse control and displaying appropriate behavior. Dopamine, our "pleasure" center , needs to be stimulated and seeks it out in various ways that may be intensified by the overload of norepinephrine. Essentially the two feed off each other and the observed behavioral attributes present in ADHD are noticed. Ritalin helps with reuptake of these dopamine and norepinephrine and assists with balance in brain activity making the symptoms of ADHD less frequent. Unfortunately, it doubles as a stimulant that encourages dopamine and norepinephrine which may not be a good thing in some cases of ADHD .
Despite being one of the most researched disorder in science and psychological fields, little new development has come about for treating ADHD past the age of 12 . There is a rising number of college students with ADH D according to Lisa Weyandt and her colleagues in her 2017 article . It is mostly known that a sizable portion of college students have a challenging time balancing new responsibilities, passing classes and developing socially. And because ADHD stays with the person for life with varying degrees of difficulty in managing it, it is no surprise that children with ADHD become young adults with ADHD. This population of people are embarking on a new journey in life with a disorder that makes them more susceptible to academic challenges and psychosocial issues. Many adults with ADHD are at higher risk for neuropsychological deficits, comorbid psychiatric diagnoses, vehicular accidents, criminal offenses, and psychosocial