Millions of children in the United States are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder—despite the fact that there has been controversy about the diagnosis for decades.
Research has yielded more questions than answers over the years about the disorder, which is characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness to a degree that it interfere’s with a child’s daily functioning when compared to other children of the same age.
Part of the controversy that’s always raged over the disorder is that while there are quite probably true cases of children with the problem, many people feel like the condition is over-diagnosed and used to essentially medicate children who are just more outgoing in nature into being more compliant with the demands of a structured school system where they’re asked to sit at a desk for the large part of the day.
One of the things that proponents of that idea point to in order to support their theory is the fact that boys are twice as likely to be medicated for ADHD than girls. They question whether or not the modern social structure essentially prefers boys to behave more socially compliant—in other words, more like girls—and labels those who don’t with a disorder.
A new study may indicate something similar. Research on over 300,000 schoolchildren found that the youngest children (those with presumably the poorest impulse control because of their developmental stage) were twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and medicated for it than their older (more socialized) peers.
It’s important to understand that ADHD medication can have serious long-term effects on a child. They’re stimulants that affect the heart rate and they’ve been linked to seizures. Those who don’t really need the drug can become addicted to it or even develop other psychiatric disorders. It’s been linked to bipolar disorder, psychosis and paranoia.
It’s important if you have any doubts about your child’s ADHD diagnosis that you seek a second opinion. You should also question the judgment of any doctor who prescribed medication for the condition based merely on a school complaint that your child was inattentive or couldn’t sit still without undertaking a full diagnostic workup for the disorder.
In addition, if your child has developed signs of another disorder, a heart condition or an addiction to the ADHD medication and you suspect that it was never needed, you may want to explore your legal options with an attorney.
Source: Medical News Today, “ADHD: Younger children ‘may be overdiagnosed’,” Ana Sandoiu, Jan. 23, 2017