ADHD is it over diagnosed according to reportsIt is estimated that approximately 2.4 million children between the ages of 8 and 15 in the U.S. have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD). According to WebMD, the symptoms of ADHD include inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Recently the definition of the condition has been broadened by the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Some doctors and researchers, however, are increasingly concerned that the definition may be too broad and could lead not only unnecessary medicating of too many children, but the devaluing of the diagnosis for those who have serious problems.
This is the primary concern of Rae Thomas, who recently published a report in the British Medical Journal. According to Thomas, The broadening of the diagnostic criteria is likely to increase what is already a significant concern about over diagnosis, Thomas told Reuters. It risks resulting in a diagnosis of ADHD being regarded with skepticism, to the harm of those with severe problems who unquestionably need sensitive, skilled specialist help and support.
These particular authors are not the only ones who have voiced concern about the proliferation of diagnosis and the subsequent prescribing of medication for ADHD. In fact, ADHD diagnosis increased by 22% from 2003 to 2007, leading the number of kids who are treated with medication to grow substantially within that same time period.
Under treatment of ADHD
Other medical experts think, however, that the rise in prescription medication to treat this condition may have less to do with over diagnosing and more to do with the increased detection in children. Its a common question for a number of medical conditions- is there a higher incidence of the condition or are we simply better able to diagnosis and treat the condition? Other researchers note that while the medical community has done a good job of detecting ADHD in the United States, there may still be some parts of the world where the condition is not as easily diagnosed.
Downside of medications
The most common medication used to treat ADHD is Ritalin, and it can be extremely effective for those with the disorder. Like most medication, however, there can be extreme side-effects. For instance, liver toxicity, suicidal thoughts and weight loss can occur, especially with high levels of the drug. Its also not uncommon for ADHD medication to be abused by those who do not have an ADHD diagnosis. Those who abuse the drug argue it also helps them with improved concentration.
What do the doctors say? Most doctors argue they are making careful diagnoses and getting the right medication to the right kids which can help them remain focused, have better relationships and live more productive lives.
Doctors also argue that ADHD is a real condition where children have persistent patterns of inattention or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. What doctors dont want, especially Dr. Harold Koplewicz, president of the Child Mind Institute in New York, is for people to believe that they are handing out dangerous drugs to kids like candy.