If 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 â€˜just in caseâ€™, 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 â€˜A bit ADDâ€™?). 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 â€˜cureâ€™, presented as a panacea that will â€˜solve everythingâ€™: Heavy doses of psycho-stimulant medication. I shudder to think how many children have been condemned to years of unnecessary â€˜treatmentâ€™ 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.