How is ADHD Diagnosed and can it be Misdiagnosed or Overdiagnosed – Yes

Almost one million U.S children may currently be misdiagnosed with ADHD, according to a recent study. Todd Elder, a researcher at Michigan State University, discovered that kids who are the youngest in their grade level, may be misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. The study conducted, indicted that 60% of younger children were more likely to be labeled as having ADHD or ADD due to lack of  maturity growth when compared to their peers

How attention deficit disorder, ADHD, is diagnosed

The hard thing with diagnosing ADHD or ADD, is that there is no concrete test to determine if a child suffers from ADHD. Common diagnosis involves caregivers, teachers and medical professionals to asses the child’s behavior and compare it to peers of the same age level. Symptoms often appear between the ages of three and six, but they can appear later and vary in severity.

The Elder study indicates that when comparing a younger student to an older student in the same grade level, it is more likely for a teacher to be under the perception that the younger child is suffering from ADHD, when in fact, he is simply not as mature as his peers. This consideration is necessary, according to Elder, when diagnosing children with ADHD.

How to avoid misdiagnosing ADHD in children

Various questions will be asked of the child’s behavior and development. Teachers, caregivers and other individuals who are familiar with the child’s personality will be asked to complete a questionnaire, known as the DSM-IV, to help medical professionals determine if ADHD is a factor. Medical professionals will also look at other considerations to see if there could be alternative reasons to explain the child’s behavior. Other considerations include: Possible hearing loss, possible vision problems, learning disabilities, anxiety or depression, life changes such as death in family, marriage, new baby, new home etc.; frequency of occurrences and any factors that may contribute to those occurrences.

Why ADHD is commonly diagnosed

In general, children are hyperactive and full of energy. It is quite normal for children to want to play and do things that interest them; and to avoid doing things they don’t like. Children should not be zombies and without emotion, it is part of their normal development to be energetic and creative. ADHD is considered when the child’s actions begin to interfere with her learning and development. If she is unable to sit and learn and do what the situation is asking for, ADHD may be the reason.

When ADHD begins to interfere with the child’s daily activities, it is seen as a problem and needs to be addressed. There are many options in treating ADHD, ranging from pharmaceutical medications to natural approaches. Learning how ADHD works and how you can treat it will be an on-going process and will be supported by medical professionals to offer you the information you require in making an informed decision.