Over Diagnosis of ADHD Indicated

Source: "An 'astronomical' rise in ADHD diagnosis, The New York Times, published in Omaha World-Herald, 02 April 2013.

I don't know why this is so surprising. Common sense has indicated for decades that children were being drugged for no other reason than to keep classrooms calm and to allow parents to control their children with little effort.

"Nearly 1 in 5 high-school-age boys in the United States and 11 percent of school-age children overall have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ... About one in 10 high-school boys takes ADHD medication ..." This reflects a continuing rise in diagnosis. "A 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 53 percent rise in 10 years."

"'Those are astronomical numbers. I'm floored,' said Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. 'Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy.'"

Unfortunately the American Psycholocigal Association plans to ease the definition of ADHD. The result will be that more people will be classifed as having the disorder and more will be medicated. "The new rates suggest that millions of children may be taking medication merely to calm their behavior or to do better in school."

The real problem is that there is no objective test for ADHD. Supposedly it is determined through extensive interviews of the child and everyone involved with him. The diagnosis is supposed to come after ruling out all other possibilities, but this is too often skipped because of expense, time, and pressure from parents and teachers to "do something." "Unfortunately, misuse appears to be growing at an alarming rate."