Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type



School of Unrestricted Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Grace Veach


The American culture values speed. While this is often beneficial, making it the chief value is dangerous. In that position, it drives people to pursue instant gratification with minimal effort or risk other values of greater importance. This is evident in America’s medical field, where the rapid results of ADHD medication are embraced at the expense of children’s health. ADHD stands for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, “one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood” (“What is ADHD?”, “Symptoms and Diagnosis of ADHD”). Once it is diagnosed by a clinician, treatment options are evaluated. Medication, both stimulant and non-stimulant, is a primary form of treatment, with 62% of children aged 2-17 taking medication (“Data and Statistics About ADHD”, U.S. Food and Drug Administration). While some may support the use of medication as the primary treatment of ADHD, the reality is that this is an example of where the fastest solution may not be the best and certainly should not be the first. Modifications to lifestyle and social settings can improve ADHD symptoms in children and adolescents with ADHD in the U.S. and should be considered before medication. This becomes clear after analyzing the following three areas: the effectiveness of changing lifestyle, the efficacy of altering social setting, and the harms of medication. More and more American children are being exposed to the risks of medication without other alternatives being considered. American medical experts, schools, and parents must embrace the mentality of seeking medication last to protect children from its risks. If there is the possibility of giving these children and adolescents a better life, does not every American medical expert, school board member, and parent have the responsibility to try?