Tarheel Health Portal/ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment Disparity in African American males
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder[edit | edit source]
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is a developmental neuropsychiatric disorder that is commonly exhibited in children from four to seventeen when they show signs of excessive hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness to activities and tasks.  The cause of ADHD is unknown, however the statistics of the disease are apparent; 11& of children are said to have ADHD (since 2011) and continue to increase year by year and three times of those individuals are males: (13.2% boys to 5.6% girls).  ADHD Within this diagnosed population, African American males take up 5.56% because of shown learning disabilities and emotional disturbances. However, the disturbing number of African American males that are characterized of having ADHD is not the only alarming incident, individuals in the medical field have started to question whether the numbers actually match with the symptoms that the individuals show and are genuinely diagnosed aside from cultural misconceptions.
Social Influences[edit | edit source]
Race and Ethnicity[edit | edit source]
Even in today's society, it is still recognized that African American males are extensively generalized as rowdy, unruly and threatening to the society. Though the actions taken against African American men are not displayed as they were in the Jim Crow Era and post CivIl Rights, the destabilization of African American males has been promoted through social institutions and healthcare is one of them. The growing diagnosis of ADHD in African American boys arouses the belief that black boys are uncontrollable and need to be tamed.
Socioeconomic Status[edit | edit source]
The majority of African American males that are diagnosed with ADHD reside in the lower middle class and working class social classes. In relation to their race, socioeconomic status acts as another marker of discrimination in the misdiagnosis of African American males. People in society instantly stereotype children that reside in these classes as facing harsh realities and easily susceptible to acquiring mental conditions and or most likely being affiliated with influences in their neighborhoods such as violence,drugs, and gangs. Due to this expectation, it's been easier to diagnosis African American males living in lower middle class and working class divisions because of the concept of what their home life is like and what has been promoted in the media.
Academic behavior and achievement[edit | edit source]
Most African American males/ youth are pre-diagnosed by school administration because of their inattentive behavior in classrooms and their disregard for their teachers.Students inattention is commonly tied to the structure of their household when the real reason why African American males and youth are inattentive in classrooms is due to the scant amount of minorities in teaching positions and a lack of curriculum that is focused on teaching minority students about their heritage. Since the teachers in the predicament with "inattentive" African American students typically do not know how to relate to the student which further agitates the feelings between the teacher and the student and forces the student to completely detach themselves from the classroom and decreases the attention paid to their academic success.
Disparity in Treatment and Attention[edit | edit source]
Living in lower middle class and working class divisions already present limited or inadequate resources such as medical attention. In order to treat or limit the symptoms of ADHD, parents of the diagnosed child are expected to get immediate treatment that is extremely expensive considering the amount of income their household receives. There are various treatments that are largely promoted but due to the cost, it's imperative to look at treatments if the misdiagnosis is a true diagnosis that fit for the individual and are easily accessible
Psychological Therapies[edit | edit source]
Psychotherapies including cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, neurofeedback, family therapies, and school based interventions are the most popular psychological therapies that are promoted for children that have PTSD; however, the cost of these therapies can range from $120-$210 per session with an expected term of therapy ranging from 10-12 sessions. In addition, therapies that are education and family based, have shown to have little effect on the child's behavior and only last for a short period of time. ADHD
Medications[edit | edit source]
Medications are typically the optimal choice that health professionals approve as being the most effective and long lasting are usually the optimal choice that health professionals approve as being the most long lasting resolution to ADHD. There are two categories of medications, stimulants and non-stimulants. Stimulants help manage hyperactivity, impulsivity and, increase one's attention span by increasing certain levels of neural chemicals in the brain such as norepinephrine and dopamine; popular stimulant medications include Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, and Daytrana.   Non-stimulant ADHD medications only increase the amount of norepinephrine in the system rather than focusing on two receptors like the stimulant medications. Non-stimulants have considerable amount of advantages over stimulant medication including how they don't pose the same risk of abuse or addiction as stimulants and they are longer lasting and easier to transition into.  Popular non-stimulant medications include Strattera, Intuniv, and Kapvay.  Even though medications are counted as the most significant source of treatment for ADHD, the cost of them can range from $300 if they are brand-name drugs to $500 for liquid formations. Generic brand medications are available and are at a significantly lower cost such as $15, however, these medications do not have the same level of treatment as compared to the name brand ones.
Studies on University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Campus[edit | edit source]
There has been extensive research on the UNC campus that focus on the relationship between the factors discussed in this article and other factors such as family involvement, community involvement, environment and genetics, that play into the growing diagnosis of African American children, particularly boys, with ADHD. The following sources are examples of the extent of the research and departments that are leaders in promoting knowledge about the occurrence to the community.
- Prevalence of ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in African American Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review of Literature: https://cdr.lib.unc.edu/indexablecontent/uuid:31a00c7f-aece-4511-bc31-150ce3fd496f
- School Competence of African American High School Youth: http://fpg.unc.edu/node/4559
- Methylphenidate in Children with ADHD With or Without Learning Disability: http://fpg.unc.edu/node/7492
Further Readings[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]