Getting Serious about ADD/ADHD Misdiagnosis

Medical Records & StethoscopeIf you are a regular user of this website you will have noticed that I devote a considerable amount of attention to the problem of ADD/ADHD misdiagnosis. I realize that some people may find this focus a bit strange. Surely there can be no harm in treating someone for ADD/ADHD ‘just in case’, right!? Dead wrong!

A mistaken ADD/ADHD diagnosis can have consequences that are nothing short of devastating. Any initial diagnosis should therefore be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism and followed up by second and even third opinions. Care should also be taken to ensure that all possible alternative explanations are investigated. Why do I feel so strongly about this? Here are a few reasons:

The process of diagnosing ADD/ADHD is often sloppy and inaccurate. ADD/ADHD has entered into the public consciousness as the number one reason behind attention and behavioral problems (How often have you heard someone being described as being ‘A bit ADD’?). It therefore, sadly, an unchallenged belief among many that this is the first door that should be knocked on whenever a child with problems in these areas is presented to a health professional. This means that diagnosis is often done with improper haste and without the careful weighing of all factors. Hot on the heels of this diagnosis will be the ‘cure’, presented as a panacea that will ‘solve everything’: Heavy doses of psycho-stimulant medication. I shudder to think how many children have been condemned to years of unnecessary ‘treatment’ at the hands of medical professionals and drug companies who, in an ideal world, are supposed to have their best interests at heart. This is a scenario that could easily have been avoided if more care was taken during the initial diagnosis.