Though not diagnosed until the 1980s, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, has been around for a very long time. Before medications were used to control it the behavior was often grossly misdiagnosed as a number of different issues and treated almost like lunacy in extreme circumstances. To date the disorder has been reevaluated and given the attention it deserves, though many methods are still questionable. Treating ADHD with medication alone is not the viable answer.
In fact it has been seen that in adults who deal with ADHD that substances that are designed to help an individual focus and thereby increase their cognitive awareness do not always work as they are designed to (Advokat, 2010). In the first article, “What are the cognitive effects of stimulant medications? Emphasis on adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)”, the discussion is focused upon how drugs that are created to help with ADHD lack any cognitive effects. Such drugs as amphetamine and methylphenidate can build up a dependency but are often not taken unless they are needed. They also have little if any real impact upon any significant cognitive enhancement.
Despite the lack of any noticeable changes in behavior with some drugs, such substances as Adderall have attempted to prove their efficacy amongst patients. In the article, “Efficacy of Adderall® for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A meta-analysis”, the test of how effective Adderall is shows that it is not completely comprehensive (Faraone, Biederman, 2002). When using a meta-analysis to show the overall efficacy of the drug it becomes noticeable that the substance is useful, but the problem remains that it is continually prescribed for those who do not truly need the drug.
Both articles are correct in their assumptions, as medication is both useful and over-used
in many cases. ADHD is a very real condition that can require medication to correct or at least alleviate, but it is far too easy to over-medicate and thereby create an unwanted dependency. In adults the effects become less and less pronounced and offer few benefits aside from the overall use they are intended to produce. Medication is still able to take a needed effect, but can be greatly enhanced with psychiatric therapy.
Since being first diagnosed in the 1980s ADHD has been a continual issue over how and when to medicate. Very often it has been prescribed as a means of correcting a disorder that is believed to cause the individual with the disorder to be unable to focus or concentrate on anything for a long period of time. Unfortunately the understanding of the disorder rarely ever comes to light. ADHD does not make a person unfocused, but rather hyperactive as a result of their focus being broad and far too spread out over a wide variety of incoming information. Adderall is designed to help patients focus, though it often does little more than dull down their senses under the pretense of calming them down.
Along with the misdiagnosis comes the fact that too many people are finding it easier and easier to obtain Adderall and other substances to gain the supposed cognitive enhancements that are a supposed benefit of the drug (Rivas, 2014). College students have been known to ingest Adderall in order to gain better focus during tests and to study harder with greater attention to their work. This is a highly ineffective practice and builds a dependency upon Adderall that is best avoided. Adderall and many other drugs designed to help with ADHD have a proven track record in many cases, but are far too often a fallback drug that is prescribed when all else fails. To actually treat the disorder it is necessary to implement therapy along with medication. In this manner it is easier to determine doses, actual need, and whether or not the medication should be discontinued at some point.
Advokat, C. What are the cognitive effects of stimulant medications? Emphasis on adults with
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 34(8): 1256-1266.
Faraone, S.V., Biederman, J. (2002). Efficacy of Adderall for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder: A meta-analysis. Journal of Attention Disorders, 6(2): 69-75.
Rivas, A. (2014). Adderall’s Effect On Your Brain: Whatever Obscure Benefits There Are, It’s
Not Worth It. Medical Daily. Retrieved from