Causes for Misdiagnosis of ADHD

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavior disorder with symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity and difficulty concentrating. Misdiagnosis of ADHA is common, because doctors place a diagnosis and prescribe medication when in fact there could be other behavioral problems involved or just normal teenage behavior. This disorder is inherently difficult to diagnose and has a well-known controversy about the treatment plan used to treat it.

Causes for Misdiagnosis of ADHD Causes for Misdiagnosis of ADHD Picture


Because Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is the most commonly diagnosed disorder for children in the US, with more than 4.5 million diagnoses, it is also the most commonly misdiagnosed, with nearly 1 million children. According to new research by a Michigan State University, the misdiagnosis of ADHD occurs simply because children are the most intellectually immature and youngest in their kindergarten class. As a consequence, they are more likely to be prescribed behavior-modifying stimulants that have unknown long-term impacts. Moreover, $320 million-$500 million a year are wasted on unnecessary treatments.

Other relevant situational factor to the problem of misdiagnosis of ADHD are the impatience, idealism, intensity and sensitivity of the individual. These are characteristics that people generally value if they don’t occur in an organized business setting, a structured classroom or if they somehow challenge traditional principles. Moreover, many talented and gifted children are being mis-diagnosed by medical health professionals for ADHD, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. These mis-diagnoses are a result of medical neglicence and ignorance among psychiatrists, pediatricians and psychologists.

Causes for Misdiagnosis of ADHD Causes for Misdiagnosis of ADHD Picture


Furthermore, the ADHD is not considered a genuine psychological or biological disorder, and according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders it is an enumeration of behaviors that requires attention: inattention (forgetful, easily distracted), impulsivity (interrupts, blurts out answers), hyperactivity (talks excessively, leaves seat). However, normal children manifest such spontaneous behaviors every day. Individuals who are suffering from stress or bullying may excessively display these conducts. Other causes include poor teaching, boredom, tiredness and inconsistent discipline at home.

In the 70’s, drug companies have focused on selling the drugs and the diagnosis to American teachers and parents. Such treatments work by suppressing normal spontaneous behavior and compulsive activities in children. This may look like an improvement in the environment of a classroom for a child who required a lot of attention, but the reality is that they do not improve the psychosocial and learning development. Therefore, a misdiagnosis of ADHD can be harmful, so a real psychosocial and medical evaluation is mandatory. In most cases, children respond quickly to improved parenting and teaching.