ADHD appears among the most diagnosed disorders in child health. The acronym ADHD stands for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The term is broadly defined in scholarly literature. However, a succinct and complete definition by American Psychological Association defined the term as a mental condition in which an individual “displays patterns of, inattention, impulsivity and overactive behavior that interfere with daily functioning” (106). ADHD has established a causal relationship with a diverse number of mental and behavioral problems, including high school dropout rates, frequent accidents, and lower academic performance, to mention a few (Felt et al. 456). Scholars and scientists interested in cognitive science have established three distinct levels of ADHD. They suggest that when people living with ADHD are examined in a participant group consisting of students, three distinct groups can be identified from a selected sample depending on the severity and seriousness of the condition. The first set of victims tend to submit assignments late, are easily distracted, and less cooperative in class. These are the predominantly inattentive set of victims. The second group is predominantly hyperactive/ impulsive.
These victims are highly active and fidget in class. They also fidget constantly while in class and tend to talk more than their colleagues. The last set of victims is the combined type who displays both inattentiveness and high levels of impulsivity (APA 106). Although multiple interventions have been historically used to suppress ADHD among children, medical intervention has a richer history and strong research support in treating ADHD. Stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine are the most commonly used medical interventions for ADHD among children and adults. However, the use of medical intervention has introduced previously non-existent challenges such as overdoses, with statistical trends suggesting that the rate of ADHD drug overdoses continues to soar with time.
As mentioned in the preceding paragraph, overdoses related to ADHD drug use is a worrying trend that continues to soar with time. This conclusion is consistent with the findings of King et al. In King et al. (3), an extensive empirical study was conducted to determine the trend of exposures to ADHD medication in the 15-year period between 2000 and 2014. The study involved an analysis of data from the US poison control centers within this period. Study findings reported a total of 156365 exposures to medications that were ADHD-related. Researchers also noted diversities in a 15-year period with the number of total exposures to ADHD drugs returning an estimated percentage of 71.2% between 2000 and 2011 and then decreasing steadily by 6.2% percent from 2011 through 2014 (King et al. 5). When the research question was narrowed down to determine the prevalence of ADHD medicine overdose based on specific drugs, it was revealed that Methylphenidate recorded higher cases. This pattern is also consistent with the conclusions of similar research in 2010, where at least 17000 Americans had reportedly diagnosed ADHD medication with children of age <19 years, recording the highest prevalence rates (80%) (as cited in Spiller et al. 531). These statistics make ADHD a threat to national health and wellbeing.
ADHD overdoses trigger widely varying side effects depending on the type of medication involved. Essentially, medical interventions to ADHD may be stimulants or non-stimulants. Stimulant drugs include amphetamine, Methylphenidate, and modafinil. Non-stimulant drugs commonly used to suppress ADHD include clonidine and guanfacine (Spiller et al. 532). When a victim is exposed to an overdose of stimulant ADHD medications, they are more likely to report intestinal and pulmonary complications. Cases of combative behavior, hallucinations, delirium, movement disorders, and seizures have also been reported following ADHD drug exposure when stimulant drugs are involved (Spiller et al. 532). Overdoses involving non-stimulant prescriptions such as modafinil trigger neurological side effects such as insomnia, headache, agitation, and anxiety (Spiller et al. 533). Therefore, when providing intervention in such cases, it is of imperial importance the medical intervention involved before intervening.
From the discussions above, it is clear that ADHD drug overdose is a prevalent issue with far-reaching consequences not only to children but also to adults; hence, the need to develop plausible recommendations against the problem remains a topic of inherent importance. In the study that sought to determine the prevalence rates of ADHD drug overdoses among youth and children, four major causes of this trend were identified; medical errors, improper intervention, suicide, and intentional misuse. Therefore in order to guarantee effective intervention, policy-making and remediation programs should reflect these realities. Parents should be encouraged to store ADHD drugs far from the reach of children. It is known that most of the drugs that are used as medical interventions against ADHD are stimulants. This makes the drug an even bigger threat to society, especially the youth. Therefore, parents should also be keen enough to store such drugs far from the reach of youth. Another possible intervention that could help remediate the problem would pursue a counseling approach, especially in areas where suicide cases are prevalent. When these recommendations are implemented meticulously with input from multiple stakeholders such as parents, teachers, practitioners, the youth, and the government, it is expected that ADHD drug overdoses will decrease tremendously with the coming years.
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Works cited American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (5th ed.) (2013). Washington, DC: Author. Rapaport, Lisa. "ADHD Medication Overdoses Rising in US Kids." (2018). Psychiatry and behavioral learning of health. Web Felt, Barbara T., et al. "Diagnosis and Management of ADHD in Children." American Family Physician, vol. 90, no. 7, 2014, pp. 456-464. King, Samantha A., et al. "Pediatric ADHD Medication Exposures Reported to US Poison Control Centers." Pediatrics, vol. 141, 6, 2018, pp. 1-14. Spiller, Henry A, et al. "Overdose of Drugs for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Clinical Presentation, Mechanisms of Toxicity, and Management." CNS drugs, vol. 27, no. 7, 2013, pp. 531-43.