Wednesday, August 5, 2015

ADHD: A False Epidemic

I had heard about the supposed "outbreak" or rapid increases in the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children, however I was unsure of the actual accuracy of such claims until I read "Scientific Perspectives on Pseudoscience and the Paranormal" by Timothy J. Lawson.  Within the last decade or so, the number of children diagnosed with ADHD has erupted and debates have taken place over whether or not physicians are actually finding this disorder.  In order for the diagnosis to be accurate, the child must express symptoms of fidgeting, short attention span, etc. for an extended period of time at high intensities.  The misunderstandings lie in the fact that physicians may have a difficult time distinguishing between extended symptoms and a child's regular fidgetiness.

As a result of the over-diagnosis, too many children have been prescribed drugs like Ridelin to "even them out."  A comfortable response to the first intake of Ridelin causes physicians and parents alike to gather a false comfort in the belief that this must be solving the child's/children's issues, when in fact the prescribed medicine was both unnecessary and harmful to perfectly healthy children.Here are a few statistics regarding ADHD diagnosis:

- The ratio between ADHD diagnostics in males to females is 3-1, likely because younger boys are generally the most energetic.

- Current polls suggest ADHD affects 1 in 20 American children, however these numbers are shaky because of false diagnosis and misinterpretations in symptom criteria.

Is ADHD diagnosed in accord with diagnostic criteria? Overdiagnosis and influence of client gender on diagnosis.
Bruchm├╝ller, Katrin; Margraf, J├╝rgen; Schneider, Silvia
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 80(1), Feb 2012, 128-138.

Faraone SV, Doyle AE, Lasky-Su J, Sklar PB, D’Angelo E, Gonzalez-Heydrich J, Kratochvil C, Mick E, Klein K, Rezac AJ, Biederman J. American journal of medical genetics. Part B, Neuropsychiatric genetics : the official publication of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. 2008/12/05 00:00; 0(8)1387-1391

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