By: Connie Young.
In today’s society Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are often terms that are thrown around like candy. Everyone has it or knows someone who has it or who thought they had it but don’t anymore. Are therapists leaning too heavily on this diagnosis when they don’t know what else to say? Are they misdiagnosing because it’s an easy and vague way out? Now, more than ever, it’s important to listen to your therapist but also to do your own research and make sure that your outcomes relate to what you’re being told in your session.
A new European study suggests that ADHD can be significantly over-diagnosed; but, it can also be under-diagnosed. So, the bottom line is to pay close attention so that you’re not part of either category. Researchers from Ruhr-Universitat Bochum and University of Basel show that children are typically over diagnosed because these therapists are basing their diagnosis on a checklist rather than on observation. Boys are especially prone to misdiagnosis.
The ‘check-list’ for kids with ADD and ADHD can often be too close to the definition of childhood: interrupts, blurts out answers out of turn, fidgets, talks a lot, can’t focus. Most naysayers cite these ADD attributes as signs of childhood or intelligence and label it an over-drugging of children when they are treated with drugs for the condition. They also argue that conditions of child abuse, neglect and otherwise complicated home life can lead to the same symptoms of ADD but can really just be a matter of environment and poor circumstance.
In a study conducted by Drs. Silvia Schneider and Jurgen Margraf and Dr. Katrin Bruchmuller, therapists were given various cases throughout Germany. They were asked to diagnose and recommend therapy.
Only 1 in 4 cases were actually ADHD and therapists diagnosed more boys than girls. A boy will often have part of the characteristics of ADHD leading to a misdiagnosis. On the other hand, a girl’s case may not considered because the obvious ‘checklist points’ are not present. Not much work is being done to improve the means for diagnostic testing on this mental health issue, though plenty of therapists are jumping on the band wagon. Thirty percent more ADHD diagnoses have been made in Germany in the last decade.
With new diagnoses, it’s important to assess whether you think your therapist is depending on an easy solution and is sincerely concerned about the well-being of your family member. While it’s important not to discount the legitimacy of the disease – which is real and which does affect many adults and children – it’s equally as important to make sure that your family member is not misdiagnosed due to the miseducation of the therapist.
Children who have ADHD very rarely outgrow it. In fact, sometimes it may get worse. However, if your daughter has, for example, anxiety and not ADHD, parents should make sure she’s being treated for the specific disorder and not for a blanket diagnosis such as ADD or ADHD. Likewise if your daughter is simply acting out because she is not getting enough attention at home or at school or has another health problem, she may be acting out because there is no way to communicate the pain. If it is really and truly ADHD, don’t write it off. As with any mental health disorder, it’s important to seek professional help.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Connie Young writes for medical blogs and journals. She writes for www.adultadhd.net where you can find useful information on medications used to treat adult ADHD. Please see the following links to compare medications pemoline and dexedrine.
- The Truth about ADHD and Girls.
- Childhood ADHD may lead to troubles in adulthood
- Boys with ADHD twice as likely to grow up obese
- Childhood ADHD may limit adult achievements
- How to Interview Your Daughter's Therapist