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ADHD Diagnosis Too Subjective

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Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 12:10 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The first writings about ADHD were attributed to Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann, who wrote a children’s book titled, “The Story of Fidgety Philip.” Since that time, there have been tens of thousands of papers describing impulsivity and hyperactivity in both children and adults.

The name Attention Deficit Disorder was introduced in 1980 in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, volume III.

No one knows what causes ADHD, and there are no laboratory tests to prove that a person has the condition. Rather, ADHD is diagnosed by observing behavior. To fit the criteria for ADHD, a patient must exhibit six or more symptoms, including:

• Does not give close attention to details and makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities

• Does not seem to listen when spoken to

• Fidgets with hands or feet

• Is easily distracted

• Often acts as if “driven by a motor”

• Talks excessively

• Trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities

As you can see, a diagnosis of ADHD is dependent on very subjective factors. When I was a child, I remember many children at school (myself included, at times) who could have met the diagnosis for ADHD.

But the diagnosis didn’t exist back then. And the treatment for ADHD — stimulant drugs — were not available at that time.

Over the last decade, the diagnosis rate of ADHD has been skyrocketing: Between 2003 and 2007, the CDC reported that ADHD prevalence increased by 22 percent.

Why is ADHD seemingly increasing at epidemic rates?

One reason we are seeing such an increase is the changing criteria used by psychiatrists to diagnose ADHD. The criteria established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
(DSM) has been written in such a way that, over the years, it has become easier to diagnose children and adults with the condition.

In fact, the new, fifth volume of the DSM relaxes criteria for diagnosis of ADHD even further. This will undoubtedly increase the number of patients diagnosed and the number of prescriptions written for ADHD therapies.

Stimulant medications used to treat ADHD include Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine, and
Vyvanse.

In my opinion, doctors prescribe these stimulant medications much too easily and without thinking about their adverse effects.

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Dr-Brownstein
No one knows what causes ADHD, and there are no laboratory tests to prove that a person has the condition. Rather, ADHD is diagnosed by observing behavior.
adhd, childrens health, Ritalin, Adderall
367
2015-10-17
Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 12:10 PM
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