ADHD - Research

ADHD - Hammerness, P.G. (2008)  Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

I enjoyed reading this book and found it to have a really positive message. Its main purpose is obviously to educate the reader about ADHD; it's characteristics, causes and treatments. But it goes further to give some interesting background information about the historical background of the condition, including the varying conclusions medical professionals have arrived at in an attempt to explain the behaviours associated with ADHD. I particularly liked the 19th century poems included (see picture), which gave an insight into how children suffering with ADHD were perceived in the past

As an american publication, the author is very keen to stress the point that ADHD is a clinically proven condition - in America, there is a school of thought that ADHD is 'made up'; an excuse for poor parenting and badly behaved children. Hammerness states at many points in the book that research proves the existence of ADHD which makes me think that he has been faced with a number of 'non-believers' during his career.

I now have a much clearer understanding of the chemical/physical reasons why ADHD symptoms occur. The chapter on the treatment of ADHD has very clear diagrams and explanations to show why messages don't pass easily between neurons: the reason why ADHD sufferers find it hard to organise, concentrate and retain instructions. It was a good chapter to look at with Joe as the pictures made it easier for him to understand why his brain works a little bit differently to his friends. 

Reading about the treatments available for ADHD has also been useful as at some point in the future we will have to make a decision as to whether or not we will go down that road with Joe. The information in this chapter was clear and detailed, but not so much that it was indecipherable to a non-scientific brain like mine! It used to seem odd to me that stimulant drugs were used to treat a child with hyperactivity, but after reading the section describing how poor production of dopamine can be responsible for the slow transfer of messages between neurons, it now seems logical that a stimulant would be required to encourage faster/greater production of dopamine.

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