Misdiagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Term Paper

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ablechild.org),child abuse allegations appear to be infrequent, perhaps because states are moving to pass laws that to some degree limit what schools can say or do regarding ADHD and other behavioral disorders.

To date, according to activists who track the issue, seven states have laws prohibiting school personnel from recommending psychotropic drugs for children. Over the past few years, 46 bills in 28 states have either passed or are awaiting action (Hearn, 2004)." recent study in Australia produced even more shocking results. According to this study on ADHD children and misdiagnosed there were a full 75% of the children in the study misdiagnosed. According to the published report following the study the children being medicated with stimulant medications were at risk for side affects and addiction for a medication they did not even need to take (Clarke, 2004).

In our experience, many of the children misdiagnosed with ADHD in fact are assessed to be suffering from significant developmental and learning disorders; attachment problems, anxiety or depression (Clarke, 2004)." Coupled with the misdiagnosis was the nationally high rate of prescriptions of stimulant drugs prescribed by WA doctors to treat ADHD - due, the report said, to a lack of knowledge about other possible therapies. "By virtue of their training and workload it is likely that pediatricians are more prone to use drug therapy in the first instance than the other therapies recommended for the management of ADHD," the report said. "There may be many children receiving stimulant medication when it is not necessary or warranted," the report said (Clarke, 2004)."

Doctors see children with ADHD. They also sees children with learning disabilities, depression, dysfunctional families, hearing loss, severe anxiety, seizure disorders, psychosis and plain old boredom who have had ADHD misdiagnosed by doctors (Poirot, 2000).

The children are inattentive, energetic and impulsive, they fidget, daydream, don't pay attention and are academic underachievers. For these kids, the physician's long-held dictum, "First, do no harm," requires a prerequisite: First, get the diagnosis right (Poirot, 2000).

The National Institute of Mental Health says the incidence of ADHD among school-aged children in this country is 3 to 5%. The American Academy of Pediatrics puts it at about 8%.

But, in some schools, Haber says, 15% of the children are taking medication _ mostly Ritalin or Dexedrine _ to treat ADHD."

Haber also warns against using Ritalin as an enhancement drug to help perfectly healthy children concentrate and perform better in school or on tests. "It's like using steroids for enhancement in athletics. That's nonsense. it's just not acceptable," he says. Behavior, depression or anxiety that may make the diagnosis more difficult or complicate treatment.

The guidelines for diagnosis remind clinicians to check into other possible causes or problems when the list seems to fit for ADHD. In addition the clinicians are cautioned against making assumptions, especially when it comes to small children who may just be slower to develop emotionally.

Stimulant medications carry risks of addiction, heart related issues and other things that are not something that should be risked on children who do not have definitive need for the medication. There are several studies indicating that ADHD is a real disorder but that there are many children on medications that do not actually have a defined diagnosis.


It is important to the future health of children to work on a more definable diagnosis process and to take the process out of the hands of schools and teachers and leave it up to the medical profession. This will significantly reduce the chance of medicating children who do not have the disorder.


Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


Copyright © 1996-2005

Kids on drugs? (News Shorts).(an investigation into treatment of attention deficit disorder is launched in the U.S.)(Brief Article)

Practical Homeschooling; 11/1/2000

Some parents just say 'whoa' to school-required medications; as parents seek more legal protection, controversy over drugs' impact deepens.(FEATURES)(CURRENTS)

The Christian Science Monitor; 6/14/2004

Byline: Kelly Hearn Correspondent of the Christian Science Monitor


Congressional Testimony; 9/29/2000

Congressional Testimony

WA: 75 per cent of ADHD diagnoses in WA wrong, report says

AAP General News (Australia); 11/10/2004

AAP General News (Australia)

Pediatrician says attention-deficit disorder…

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