Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The social stigma of having ADHD

The Social Stigma of Having ADHD

Researchers discovered that a social stigma is attached to kids with ADHD. In a first ever, four-part study, sociologists at Indiana University, University of Virginia and Columbia University looked at how the world perceives children with Attention Deficit Disorder.

These researchers found that 66 percent of the almost 1,400 adults interviewed believe ADHD medication only delays solving the real behavior problems, and 86 percent said their doctors overmedicated children that had common behavior problems. Most were concerned about confidentiality and the long term and immediate effects treatments had on their children's futures.

Key findings of this study include:

- 45 percent believed rejection at school is a consequence of getting treatment and 43 percent believe the stigma associated with childhood treatment will also have negative ramifications in adulthood.

- 40 percent believed children with depression would be dangerous to others, compared to 30 percent who believed adults with depression would be dangerous to others. And 31 percent believed that children with ADHD would be dangerous to others.

- 85 percent felt that doctors overmedicated children, 68 percent believed medications have long term negative effects on children's development. 52 percent believed that children turned into "zombies" due to medication, and therefore, 56 percent said that prevented families from working out problems.

- 64 percent claimed they have heard of ADHD, but only 46 percent were able to identify symptoms, medications to treat it and causes of ADHD. Lack of this knowledge makes it difficult for parents, teachers, and others to make well informed decisions about how to help children with this problem.

- 57 percent worried whether confidentiality regarding these matters would be maintained.

Having to deal with the stigma of ADHD creates a reluctance to find help, fears from children and their parents of being excluded, and feelings of lower self esteem among the children, which can make a child's situation even worse.

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