Rambunctious children unable to focus on a task or sit still for an extended period of time used to be criticized for a lack of discipline and will power. These children previously called "wild" and "out of control," may be suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD was virtually unknown 15 years ago, but now "is the most common behavioral disorder in American children." This recent surge in the "popularity" has `given some doctors cause for concern. Is ADHD the latest "fad" in the medical community or is it a truly a widespread affliction whose scope is just now being discovered?
The nature and causes of ADHD are still largely unknown to the medical community. Common characteristics of ADHD include extreme distractibility, the inability to sit still for extended periods, and increased anxiety and impulsiveness. These factors are so common by themselves that doctors and researchers have even gone so far as to hypothesize that ADHD is not actually a disorder, but rather a number of characteristics that tend to "bunch" together. These behaviors have the tendency to appear concurrently and thus account for the symptoms of ADHD.
These questions have potentially significant implications for American schools, who would need to seriously consider reorienting a significant part of their budget to research and implement programs to teach ADHD children both cost-effectively and efficiently. American companies would also need to make changes to working environments and training to help maximize the effectiveness of their employees in order to comply with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
Views and arguments tend to take one of two major arguments. The more prevalent view is that ADHD is an actual identifiable disorder whose true extent among the American public is just now being discovered. A second view, which is gaining support amongst doctors due to the massive surge is ADHD diagnoses, is that ADHD is instead a grouping of symptoms from...