The Ethical Dilemma Of Using Drug Stimulants In Children

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The Ethical Dilemma of Using Drug Stimulants in Children and Adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity. Because of this, ADHD patients fare worse compared to healthy controls in terms of affect, quality of life, and attention. Thus, they are more prone to anxiety, depression, learning-related disorders, poor life productivity, pessimism, and relationship issues (Bueno, Kozasa, da Silva, Alves, Louza, & Pompeia, 2015; Ogrim & Hestad, 2013). In the US, 6.7% to 12% of children are diagnosed with this disorder. It is more prevalent in boys than in girls (Shier, Reichenbacher,…show more content…
This is in line with my moral obligation as a nurse. In my pursuit of arriving at an ethical resolution, I will reference the bioethical principles of justice and beneficence/nonmaleficence to analyze this predicament. Justice Justice demands that all patients be given equal and fair treatment. In the case of drug stimulants, this is not so. Singh, Filipe, Bard, Bergey, and Baker (2013) claim that in the US, children diagnosed with ADHD do not have equal access to stimulants because ethnic minorities are less likely to receive them than Whites. This disparity is a result of many factors such as social status, stigma and culture. For instance, poor and uninsured children are less likely to be treated for this disorder. In addition, ADHD is still viewed negatively by the public in many parts of the world. Therefore, some chose not to be treated due to fear of rejection. Furthermore, there are certain cultures that do not view children’s behavior as a result of biomedical processes. As a consequence, they do not see drug stimulants as something beneficial to their children. Therefore, considering drug stimulants as a treatment of choice for ADHD that can be adopted in all cultures undermines the importance of providing culturally and socially sensitive nursing care. To address this ethical issue, Sing et al. (2013) suggest that health practitioners provide ‘ecologically sensitive’ clinical practice. This can be attained by ensuring that
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