Last week we started our look at the huge problem of ADD/ADHD misdiagnosis. The true extent of this problem becomes apparent when you stop to analyse the diagnosis rates over the past decade and also the rate at which ADD/ADHD medication is prescribed. The results of such an analysis will astound you! When plotted on a graph it appears as if the ADD/ADHD â€˜industryâ€™ can look forward to being one of the few â€˜growth industriesâ€™ left in the wider economy! So what is happening? It seems that we are either facing an epidemic of catastrophic proportions or a diagnostic system that is driven by something else besides clinical accuracy. It is my conviction that the latter is the case and that vast numbers of people receive incorrect ADD/ADHD diagnoses (with life changing implications) every year. I want to repeat that I believe that the reasons behind these wrong diagnoses are:
Failure to investigate alternative explanations â€“ An ADD/ADHD diagnosis has become almost â€˜fashionableâ€™ in some circles and is therefore the first thing some medical professionals reach for when confronted with behavioural problems.
Outside pressure â€“ Some teachers and caregivers see an ADD/ADHD diagnosis, and the resultant prescription of mind altering chemicals, as the quickest way out of their difficulties in dealing with a particular student. This results in pressure on parents to have a child tested (usually by a professional who can be relied upon to make the â€˜desiredâ€™ diagnosis).
Money â€“ The manufacturers of ADD/ADHD medication have access to multi-million dollar marketing budgets that serve to keep the possibility of an ADD/ADHD diagnosis â€˜warmâ€™ in the mind of medical professionals, teachers and parents.
This weekâ€™s article will focus on a cause of misdiagnosis that could very easily be filed under the first alternative: Failure to investigate alternative explanations. It is a well established fact that many children who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD were actually gifted students who â€˜acted outâ€™ in response to being bored with the educational environments in which they have been placed.