Is ADHD on the Rise or Over-diagnosed?

The latest numbers on the rate of ADHD are extraordinary. The New York Times has reported datacollected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which suggest that 11% of youth (between 4 and 17 years of age) have been diagnosed with ADHD at some point in their lifetime.  This is troubling – primarily because the data come from phone surveys of parents. This means that parents are receiving this diagnosis at unprecedented rates – not that kids are being properly diagnosed with ADHD at higher rates than before. It is too easy for kids to get labeled ADHD and not go through the comprehensive screening that should take place as administered by a multidisciplinary team of professionals. It’s becoming clear that ADHD is being used as a label to try to provide a quick handle on behavior that may – or even may not – be somewhat troublesome. ADHD involves much more than not sitting still and not paying attention. All kids exhibit “ADHD” like behaviors now and then. It’s a difficult condition to diagnose because it is based on increased frequencies of a number of behaviors across a number of contexts (home and school) for a sustained period of time which cause impairment for the child. Without a detailed diagnostic process, it can be too easy to misread normative behaviors as symptoms of ADHD. Read the rest of the article at Parents.com

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