Briefly share with the class the issue you wrote about in your Week 4 Issue Analysis and Application Paper. Also share at least one recommendation you made for solving the problem you identified.
Childhood conduct problems and adult criminality
Part I, Issue Analysis
This paper will focus on childhood conduct problems and adult criminality. In the paper deficit disorders with or without hyperactivity (ADHD) will be analyzed and how it causes criminal activity in adulthood. According to past research, adult males are more affected by the ADHD compared to adult women. This paper will help us understand why this is the case. It is not in all cases that a child diagnosed with ADHD will be a criminal, but the occurrence rate of ADHD patients being criminals is considerably high. About 50% of children with the disorder ends up committing serious activities of crime and widens records of arrest.
Attention Deficit Disorders With or Without Hyperactivity (ADHD)
When a person has low brain dysfunctions or unusual cerebral structures he/she may experience explosive rage periods that may cause violent episodes, hence violent crimes. It is these brain dysfunctions that are diagnosed as ADHD that causes antisocial behavior. It is very common to find ADHD levels among criminal justice system offenders. About 25% of inmates in prison are diagnosed with ADHD with about 70% percent of prisoners exhibiting a considerable level of ADHD symptoms. Further, there is an association of ADHD with other conditions that increases levels of offending, including deficits in neuropsychological, low cognitive and academic skills, psychological problems, defiance and aggression and also truancy.
ADHD Characteristic Traits
A child with ADHD will have concentration problems, hyperactivity and will be impulsive. The child will not be able to sit still, control his/her behavior, will have problems with concentration. ADHD is classified into three categories: Type one is called predominantly inattentive type. Children with this disorder show difficulty with focusing on school work, being organized, keeping track and paying attention. The second type is called the hyperactive-inattentive. Children with this type of disorder tend to twitch and squirm, do not manage to play silently, are over-talkative, and are not able to sit still. They are also the most talkative in groups. The last type of this classification is a combination that shows traits of the two categories. A child with this classification is overly active, inattentive, or impetuous.
Environmental and Biological Influences
According to Carry George, 80% of ADHD variation traits are genetically passed. The disorder is only passed between biological parent and child, but never passed to adopted child. Besides the genetic influence, ADHD is also influenced by an environment where the young mind of children is affected by the environment. When a child is an infant, the environment majorly consists of the mother. The child will tend to develop the parents’ traits because at a young age they imitate their parent’s behavior. Some parents may lack the psychological or physical skill to cope and deal with a difficult child, so they respond negatively and impulsively. Even if the behavior is inappropriate, the child will learn to think it is okay (Carey, 2011).
Besides ADHD being an attribute that can be inherited or developed in childhood, the antisocial traits are seen shared between parents and their children. Approximately two-thirds of antisocial boys had a father with a criminal record. Research shows that a boy with a criminal biological father will become a criminal. Besides the biological influence, young boys will always look upon their fathers and want to imitate them. If the father has an antisocial behavior, that is what the boys will view as being normal, hence will imitate.
When ADHD is detected early in a child, then there are high chances that the treatment will be effective in minimizing these traits. Medicine and behavioral therapy can assist in diminishing negative ADHD personality traits. In many cases, ADHD is treated as a risk factor for delinquent action, which is a major risk factor for delinquency and crime. A plausible clarification for this could be that ADHD trait is the failure to control behavior (Carey, 2011).
ADHD in prisons
As mentioned earlier, the major characters of ADHD are hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and inattention. This makes it difficult for the patient to function well in school, at home or in other social settings. There are approximately 5.4 million children aged between 4 and 17 diagnosed with ADHD, with approximately 66% of those children receiving treatment (Andershed, 2012). Treatments for ADHD include a parent or school training, behavioral counseling, and medications such as drugs like Ritalin and Vyvanse. Compared to girls, boys suffer ADHD at a higher rate. In prisons, ADHD cases are more compared to the general population with most of the prisoners with ADHD being the main trouble makers. ADHD offenders commit more acts of violence and abuse substance at a higher level compared to other prisoners (Andershed, 2012). Violent behaviors among prisoners are majorly caused by ADHD symptoms followed by dependence on alcohol. This problem starts at an early stage of life with children having ADHD having higher chances of being involved in criminal acts in comparison of normal children.
Why some individuals with ADHD are more likely to commit crime
It is not certain that an adult with ADHD will engage in acts of crime. There are many ADHD patients that never commit crimes. Nevertheless, ADHD is a major risk factor for violent acts being committed. Additionally, acts of crime from people with the condition may be triggered by environmental conditions like poverty. It is probable that criminal acts are common among ADHD patients since they mostly suffer from other behavioral disorders besides the condition. Common disorders associated with ADHD are Conduct disorder and Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). People with this and other disorders may contain antisocial behaviors that lead to criminal behaviors. (Kellam, 2013)
Treatment of the Problem
This paper clearly establishes that a link exists between conduct problems in childhood and adult criminality. Nevertheless, it is still challenging to come up with a way of treating children with ADHD before they get involved in criminal acts. As girls with ADHD or other conduct disorders grow up, they ultimately internalize their actions. Men, on the other hand,externalize their behavior as they grow older. The advantages of treating kids for conduct disorder should be investigated. (Kellam, 2013).
Childhood conduct disorder among the leading causes of adult criminality. As children with conduct disorder mature to be adults, they get to higher risk of growing antisocial personality disorder. The fact that mental disorders in children is a solid cause of criminality in adults, more stress should be rested on diagnosis and treatment before it develops into harmful personality disorder. It is very easy to identify and diagnose conduct disorder in young children, since their behaviors are quite obvious and easy to identify. Despite the conduct disorder treatment in children being difficult, antisocial personality disorder treatment in adults is almost impractical, just like it is difficult to treat majority of sociopathic personality disorders. Girls according to varying studies are less likely to partake in criminal activity after growing older unlike boys who majorly participate more in crime. As girls grow, they internalize problems instead of committing criminal acts outwardly like men do. It is not known why most women internalize the problems. Understanding this dilemma will be important in assisting men reduce criminal activities (Unnever, J. 2012).
Individuals with ADHD involved in crime can stop re-offending if taken through treatment. With ADHD victims more likely to commit criminal offences compared to general population, proper treatment would mean reducing crime and saving a lot of money. There are more benefits of treating the problem compared to the harm it causes. Most of the children diagnosed with ADHD, continue to have the problem even in their adult life.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) Treatment
There are major components in treating ADHD. These components include psychotherapy interventions and medications. There is massive research that demonstrates that medication on its own cannot address all attention and hyperactivity problems in a patient. Medication may help with immediate relief from a number of symptoms; nevertheless, the patient of attention deficit disorder will still require learning special skills that will help him/her overcome the disorder.
For so many years now, most of ADHD treatment was centered on use of medications. The exact medication class commonly prescribed for patients of ADHD is stimulants. The stimulant medication that includes Ritalin is mostly well-tolerated, prescribed, act quickly and in majority of the people contains only minor side effects. ADHD medications further have been proved to be effective in treatment of the disorder. Different Children will differ in their medication treatments’ response. It is nevertheless challenging in all cases to find a combination of medication that is highly effective with lesser side effects. It is therefore the duty f physicians to ensure that they treat each case of ADHD uniquely and treat the child uniquely depending on the best medication for the patient. The doctors should also be willing to change medication if it does not work after a given duration of time. Through switching of medication, the doctors finally manage to treat the ADHD problem in a child hence minimizing their chances of being affected in their adulthood.
Most of the medications come with side effects. This side effects include loss of appetite, mild headache, a feeling of nuisance, being irritable, lack of good sleep, gastrointestinal distress, high blood pressure, anxiety or depression, and/ paranoia. If a child experiences some of the mentioned side effects, it is he/she sees a doctor. Though the children are prescribed with stimulant medications, parents should not worry since they are not addictive. This drugs are totally safe and do not cause the patient to feel ‘high’ in any way. The ADHD stimulant drugs are very effectual since they help correct neurotransmitters problem in the patients’ brain. The drugs have been proved to work in most of the people that take them. Though children can be treated ADHD through therapy, it should always be combined with drugs since ADHD drugs helpchildren focus and improve their behavior and also help them avoid or reduce addictions or emotional problems (Richardson, 2010)
Andershed, H. (2012). Linking adult psychopathy with childhood hyperactivity-impulsivity-attention problems and conduct problems through retrospective self-reports. Journal of Personality Disorder
Carey, G. (2011). Genetic and environmental architecture of human aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 207-217.
Kellam, S. (2013). Modeling growth in boys’ aggressive behavior across elementary school: Links to later criminal involvement, conduct disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. Developmental Psychology,