Often wrong ADHD diagnosis in children

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Often too fast and incorrect ADHD diagnosis in children.

(08/18/2010) As a US study found, ADHD diagnoses are too hastily made in children. The study's authors estimate that around one million children in the United States live with an incorrectly diagnosed ADHD.

Children play and are often very lively. Many parents, teachers, and doctors sometimes attest children to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD), although other reasons for behavior play a role. As a result, the children have to go to therapy and receive medication such as Ritalin, Medikinet, Concerta or Strattera. According to a study from the University of Michigan, one million children in the United States live with an incorrect diagnosis of ADHD. The youngest children in kindergartens or schools are particularly affected, as study leader Todd Elder explained in the "Journal of Health Economics". ADHD diagnoses have also increased rapidly in recent years.

On the one hand, it is because parents and educators now take a closer look, on the other hand, children are put in the ADHD corner too quickly in the event of abnormalities or lively behavior. This could have serious consequences for children because such medications can of course also interfere with the child's development and cause side effects such as headache, loss of appetite, insomnia or stomach problems. An overdose can cause dizziness, palpitations, increased blood pressure and sleep problems. A very strong overdose can lead to overexcitement of the central nervous system, cramps, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias.

Unlike in Germany, preschool children are prescribed ADHD medication in the United States. This is also evident from the study results. On average, ADHD is diagnosed 60 percent more often in toddlers than in children who are older in the respective kindergarten or school group. The proportion of schoolchildren is even twice as high as reported in the study.

Scientist Todd Elder therefore warns to equate impulsive behavior with an ADHD disorder. The following symptoms occur with ADHD: poor concentration, a strong urge to move and extreme impulsiveness. But "the symptoms can simply reflect the emotional and mental immaturity of the younger children," said Todd Elder in the magazine. It is downright fatal that the children are wrongly exposed to the drugs. The long-term effects of therapy for children with psychotropic drugs have not been researched well enough. In the presented study, the data from around 12,000 children were examined.

According to the Techniker Krankenkasse, more and more ADHD medicines are being prescribed in Germany. The number of ADHD medications has increased by almost 30 percent in the past three years. It can therefore be assumed that many children in Germany live with the wrong diagnosis of ADHD. (sb)

Also read:
Attention Deficit Disorder AD (H) S
ADHD portal against premature diagnoses
Environmental factors in ADHD hardly examined

Image: Rainer Sturm /Pixelio.de

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