If you were to ask a doctor, paediatrician on the best way to define ADHD, you would probably get quite a few varied responses. There might be an ADHD definition as a mental disorder which should be treated as a mental illness and therefore the use of antipsychotic drugs would be perfectly acceptable. Nobody can agree or knows the cause of the disorder, the diagnosis is sometimes vague and the treatment of this condition has led to fierce arguments among child carers, teachers, parents and doctors.
One of the main problems is the actual diagnosis of this condition which is also why it is so hard to define ADHD! Brain scans on a massive scale are advocated by ADHD expert Dr. Amen. Others claim that there is no great difference in the brain scans of ADHD children and those of normal children. One doctor said that ‘diagnosis is a mess’. There are rating scales, such as the Connors rating scales used and questionnaires are given to teachers and parents but it is generally felt that diagnosis can sometimes be hit and miss.
There seems to be some evidence that some genes are responsible and indeed the strong hereditary link would seem to support that theory. Others say it is a result of an imbalance in the neurotransmitters which carry messages to the brain and these control our moods, impulsivity and our hyperactivity or lack of it. While this seems a most reasonable ADHD definition, the problem is that nobody knows exactly how the ADHD drugs work on the brain and what the long term effects could be!
Once a diagnosis by a specialist has been made, then the next challenge begins about how ADHD should be treated and this very much depends on how the doctor wants to define ADHD. If he believes that it is neurological imbalance , then he will recommend the prescription of psychostimulants. These will certainly reduce the symptoms of inattention, lack of focus but they will not teach the child self-control or how to modify his behavior in any way. The problem here is that this type of treatment has considerable health risks and seizures, heart attacks and psychotic episodes such as hallucinations and suicidal thoughts are not as rare as doctors would like us to believe. This is why ADHD homeopathic remedies are now a much sought after alternative as there are no side effects and the risk to the child’s overall health will not be compromised in any way.
More enlightened doctors and pediatricians (supported by the more prestigious medical and psychological associations) recommend a complete and comprehensive plan which must include behaviour modification in addition to or even without medication. However you may want to define ADHD, ADHD behaviour is quite different in many ways from a normal child. The great challenge is to influence that in a positive way through good parenting which takes into account ways of reinforcing acceptable behaviour and trying to discourage inappropriate behaviour. This is basically what ADHD behaviour therapy is and I know many parents who have found it to be a life saver.