ADHD & MAM, Part 1

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), commonly referred to as ADD, is one of the polarizing subjects. Some think it’s a money-making scheme cooked up by pharmaceutical conglomerates, others think it’s a legitimate disease and diagnosis, but most simply don’t know much about it.

Related Article: ADHD & MAM, Part 2

It is vital that all summer camp personnel be aware of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), what it means, and the most common medications prescribed to treat it.

Here we’ll discuss the high incidence of dispensation of psychotropic medications for children, while also identifying the highest prescribed medications for the treatment of ADHD.

Defining Terms

For the past five summers I have dedicated my time, service and commitment to camp nursing. During this time, I have witnessed the prevalence of campers on psychotropic medications rising dramatically. Where, once upon a time, camp nursing meant band aids, bear hugs and bug juice, it now means prescriptions, packets and Prozac.

Children who experience high levels of activity or are boisterous and disorderly, do not necessarily suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

ADHD, according to Mosby’s (1998), is defined as “a syndrome affecting children, adolescents, and adults characterized by short attention span, hyperactivity, and poor concentration.”

Those children diagnosed with ADHD are noted to always be in a hurry and have a heightened level of frustration when attempting to complete tasks. They give up accuracy for hastiness. They display moderate to severe distractibility, short attention span, impulsive behavior, and extreme mood changes.

Usually these children are in “societal and environmental overload.”

According to Wong (1993), confirmation cannot be made until a series of tests confirm a learning disability. These include intelligence tests (these children tend to have above-average IQs), hand-eye coordination tests, and measurements of auditory and visual perception, comprehension and memory.

Psychotropic medications are defined as those meds that have an altering effect on perception or behavior and they are used to treat a myriad of behavior, emotional, and mental disorders, which include ADHD.

Many clinical trials for medications have proven effective for the treatment of ADHD. This does not mean, however, that the treatment is indeed necessary and should be prescribed for all hyperactive children. Many of the drugs under this classification cause more harm than good if over-utilized or abused.

The literature does not state whether the prevalence of ADHD has risen, but what is quite clear is that the number of children identified with the disorder who obtain treatment has risen over the past decade.

Some of this increased identification and increased treatment may be due to greater media coverage, coupled with consumer awareness, and the availability of the treatments.

A study by Medco Health Solutions Inc., recently reported that there is 23 percent increase in the use of medication for altering behavior for all children, including a 49 percent increase in ADHD drugs by children under five!

Americans are now spending more on drugs for ADHD and depression than they do on antibiotics, asthma or allergy medications for children. Some of these commonly used medications for the treatment of ADHD are Ritalin, Adderral, Strattera and Concerta.

Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant and comes in tablets of 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg. Ritalin also comes longer-acting: Ritalin-SR, sustained release tablets that come in 20 mg, and Ritalin LA, extended release capsules that come in 20 mg, 30 mg, and 40 mg.

Some side effects of Ritalin include: nervousness, decreased appetite, head aches, heart problems, rapid heart rate, trouble sleeping, nausea, stomach aches, joint pain, skin rashes and hives, peeling skin, skin redness and itching.

Adderral is a stronger form of the natural body stimulant adrenaline, which helps a child who has ADHD focus and reduces the child’s excess fidgeting and hyperactivity. The side effects of this medication include restlessness, tremor, dizziness, anxiety, insomnia, nervousness, dryness of the mouth, diarrhea, and headaches.

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Related posts:

  1. ADHD & MAM, Part II
  2. ADHD At Camp
  3. Reevaluating the Camp, Part 1
  4. Access to Adventure
  5. Reevaluating the Camp, Part 2
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