Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is an increasingly common diagnosis among children. It is estimated that 3%-5% of the children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD.
In our experience, more children are misdiagnosed with ADHD than any other mental health diagnosis.
Why is that?
We believe two factors contribute to the problem.
- True ADHD is a brain function issue.
The parts of the brain that have to do with hyperactivity and the ability to focus one's attention are not working properly.
It has been demonstrated that amphetamine-like drugs can stimulate these parts of the brain and cause improved self-control and calm.
However, there are many other causes for hyperactivity and lack of focus, besides a malfunction of the brain.
You may have noticed when you are anxious, for example, that it is harder to be still and focus. Yet you do not have ADHD. Because there are so many possible causes, some health care professionals mistake them for ADHD.
And yet, if the diagnosis is not correct the current generation of ADHD medications can actually increase a child's hyperactivity and attentional problems. They are, after all amphetamines. Consequently, if we want to see results, it's important to get the diagnosis correct.
- The second contributing factor to misdiagnosis, in my opinion, is a conflict of interest related to research on this disorder. Most of the money funding mental health research comes from drug companies.
It shouldn't surprise us that many environmentally caused problems are labeled "disorders" for which drugs are the solution. Drug companies thrive on the "medical model' so many health care professionals embrace.
We tend to follow a "relational model' instead in our Albuquerque counseling practice.
All the sub-topics in this section on ADHD Help are: