ADD is overdiagnosed
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 23:02
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is very common. It is characterized by impulsiveness, short attention span and hyperactivity interfering with typical daily activities. Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that includes very similar symptoms to ADD but is predominantly characterized by more impulsiveness and hyperactivity. People who are diagnosed with these disorders are often treated with medicines such as Adderall or Ritalin.
The problem with treating “disorders” is it’s hard to determine whether it is necessary to treat with prescribed drugs.
Unless the symptoms are out of control, ADD or ADHD is not as common as it is claimed to be. It seems so easy for parents or doctors to immediately think something is wrong with children. But the symptoms associated with ADD or ADHD are too common and too vague.
Every student learns differently, which may have something to do with it. Some students are strictly visual learners, some learn well by reading but either way it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with them.
According to an article in the Examiner, TV, video games and computers are strongly affecting peoples’ attention spans.
An article from 2010 reported a study conducted by an Iowa State University graduate surveying elementary and middle school students as well as college students. The survey results reported college students as more likely to have attention issues, which makes sense. We are older and have spent much more time on computers, watching TV and playing video games than younger students.
This is because we have formed a habit of going on the computer or TV and changing the channels constantly or opening up multiple browser windows or tabs.
“Brain science demonstrates that [the] brain becomes what the brain does,” wrote Douglas Gentile in the article. Gentile is an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University and co-author of the study.
“If we train the brain to require constant stimulation and constant flickering lights, changes in sound and camera angle, or immediate feedback, such as video games can provide, then when the child lands in a classroom where the teacher doesn’t have a million-dollar-per-episode budget, it may be hard to get children to sustain their attention.”
ADD and ADHD is overdiagnosed. Misdiagnosing children only gives them a reason to think they are sick when they’re not.
We need to be more aware of how much time we are spending doing these activities. When we watch TV, watch one show at a time and relax. There is no need to feel rushed, to change the channels back and forth. Take a break every once in a while. When using the computer, know exactly what it is you want to look up and try not to get too distracted. It’s when you have a bunch of windows up at the same time that you are ruining your attention span.
Unfortunately at this rate technology is going to dominate our means of living and this problem will become more extreme as time goes on. Do what you can and take a rest every once in a while. Read a book or do something peaceful to put your mind at ease.
Masami Wadama is a sophomore in business marketing. The opinions expressed in her columns do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff. Wadama can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.