Education & Medication Part 1: You do have a choice

On Tuesday 7th March 2017 Dr Beulah van der Westhuizen gave a presentation on the typical medication prescribed to learners with ADHD. The talk was presented at our Noordhoek Campus and attended by teachers, parents, medical professions and other interested parties. The objective of Dr. van der Westhuizen’s presentation was to allow parents to make informed decision around medication. To neither take a hard-lined stance for or against medication as a rule but rather to present under-reported facts on the medication and ensure that parents are aware of all other avenues that can to be explored before resorting to medication.

Information from that talk will be reproduced here and broken down into a series of blog posts.

Part 1: The clinical definition of Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD according to the DSM.

Part 2: The breakdown of the eight Medication Schedules

Part 3: The four most common prescribed medications, namely; Ritalin, Concerta, Strattera and Tofranil

Part 4: An alternative approach

Part 5: Links to a video of the presentation and links to further your own research

Part 1: The clinical definition of ADHD according to the DSM.

The DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disordersas produced and maintained by the American Psychiatric Association. First released in 1952 it is now in its 5th Version.

Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is described in the DSM-5 as “a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity or impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development as characterized by the list of symptomatic listed below. These behaviors are grouped as either Inattention or Hyperactivity. The infographic below represents the information.

In addition it provides some history with respect to the changes in definition of ADHD and how these changes in definition resulted in an increase in levels of children diagnosed with ADHD. This is in turn off-set against a European (specifically French) understanding of ADHD which results in a significantly lower (0.5% as opposed to 9%) levels of diagnosis.

For an interesting historical perspective on the DSM, within the specific context of Autism, please consider reading Steve Silberman’s book NeuroTribes.

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