ADHD is an acronym for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It can also be abbreviated as ADD, which is a short for Attention Deficit Disorder. ADHD is a psychological problem of paying attention, which affects both children and adults. The condition limits one’s ability to pay attention to complex tasks in life that require organization, planning and a lengthy and detailed focus. Understanding ADHD is challenging since childhood is often marked with a varying degree of losing attention. However, once one learns that his or her child has this condition, then it is possible to solve the problem by developing the child’s ability to pay attention (American Psychiatric Association 2012).
If unidentified at childhood, ADHD can persist across the lifespan of an individual, impairing an adult’s ability to perform executive functions. At adulthood, ADHD is invisible in patients that have diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, but it is frequent for adults suffering from anxiety or substance abuse problems. Distinctively, none of the symptoms of Attention deficit disorder is abnormal. It is normal for children to be unfocussed, scattered and distracted. Moreover, ADD symptoms may be easily confused with disorder such as learning disabilities, and emotional challenges. DSM-IV is am instrumental tool for accurate determination of ADHD.
The identification and analysis of children suffering from ADHD is a systematic process. Still, there is no agreed model of testing ADHD and many other challenges like depression, anxiety and other learning disabilities. The American Psychiatric Association’s applies DSM-IV-TR to help in diagnosing ADH amongst young children. However, there should be a common standard of measuring ADH using the same standard across communities to determine the prevalence and the impact of ADHD on young children.
Problems with DSM-IV assessment of ADHD become subjects of discussions as scholars and practitioners seek improvement. Some of the salient issues with DSM-V measurement of ADHD lie in the measuring model. The most visible changes proposed to improve DSM-IV include a diversion from the black and white determination of behavioral issues to a more dimensional approach. This new dimensional approach is nuance and subtle and follows an observational model that follows the individual’s assessment to develop overtime. The DSM-V employs a dimensional model that provides a better account using the nature, degree and extent of severity that DSM-IV lack. While measuring the ADHT, the DSM propose a change in the structure form the DSM-IV model of on seven and under to more broad analysis that embraces the age seven to twelve bracket. DSM-V focuses on the older children over age seven as effective in determining the occurrence of ADHD. However, research has pointed out that an accurate assessment of ADHD symptoms among children aged between seven and twelve is just as accurate as children studied below age 12. Polanczyk et al (2010) reported that risk factors of ADHD will not be troubled if the new analytical scheme expands the age of onset criteria to children who manifested ADHD symptoms between ages 7 and 12. These children do not present correlates or risk factors that are significantly different from children who manifested symptoms before age 7.
Polanczyk et al (2010) make a case that extending the age-of-onset criterion to would be helpful to the study since it would increase the period that the children are required to recollect and transfer the focus of memory to middle childhood. This would increase the validity of the study. The study discovered that there are no children suffering from ADHD at the age of 12 that the symptoms appeared after the age of seven. Considering that the age-of-onset criterion is assessed retrospectively in clinical settings, individuals who meet full ADHD criteria and recall the onset of symptoms between ages 7 and 12 should have access to treatment, because the symptoms almost certainly emerged before age 7. The new diagnostic scheme for ADHD can safely extend the age-of-onset of symptoms to 12 years of age (Polanczyk et al, 2010).
Changing the age of onset is still a debatable issue. The rationale behind the argument proposes that retrospective studies demonstrate that the age of an initial display of ADHD can occur on the age seven and extends to the age of twelve. The complexity of the situation may be difficult to ascertain if the age limit is restricted to seven, an extension to the age of twelve gives a broad room for a continued study of the problem and to see if there could be other problems apart from ADHD.
The opponents of increasing the age bracket for assessing the symptoms of ADHD argue that increasing the age bracket would not help much since ADHD is a likely to be recognized at childhood and may persist until adulthood if not corrected (Barkley & Brown, 2008). While these arguments are correct, it is essential to recognize that previous tools of assessment have produced varying degree of measurement that not were not accurate. DSM III and DSM III-R required symptoms of ADHD before seven to ensure that symptoms occurring out of school stress were eliminated. DSM-IV improved to require the presence of symptoms that cause impairments before seven. The common denominator of the previous models was the lack of empirical and dimensional approaches in the system of study. The changes were mostly made out of ad hoc committees without substantial empirical backing. DSM-V provides a platform for an accurate study of ADHD. DSM-V uses an approach that will give coherent analysis by increasing the age limit.
In conclusion, despite the ongoing debate on whether the extension of the age bracket would be helpful for the study of ADHD, many agree that the extension of the age of testing criterion would be a harmless endeavor. Polanczyk et al (2010) study found out that children with ADHD symptoms ages of seven and twelve and differed with those before age seven four times out of the twenty-one measures that were investigated. A retest pointed out only one differences. Evidently, according to this research, an increase in the age bracket of measurements increases life span of study with exceedingly little changes to the overall outcome but with a more valid and on-point study analysis.
American Psychiatric Association (2012) DSM-5 Development. http://www.dsm5.org/about/Pages/Default.aspx Retrieved August 30, 2012, published, March, 2012.
Barkley, R and Brown, E. (2008) “Unrecognized Attention –Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults Presenting with other Psychiatric Disorders” CSN, Spect, Vol. 13 no, 11.
Polaynczyk, G et al (2011). “Implications of Extending the ADHD Age of Onset Criterion to Age 12: Results from a prospectively Studied Birth Cohort.” Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Vol 39, Number 3.