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Add/Adhd: The Misdiagnosis Epidemic Essay

1409 words - 6 pages

ADD/ADHD: The Misdiagnosis EpidemicThere is an epidemic in this country today. You will not see any reports on it on the evening news. You will not read a story about it in your newspaper. However, you may hear little things about it here and there. You may be talking to a friend, who in the course of a conversation says, " My child has been having trouble in school. I brought him/her to the doctor, and the doctor said my child has ADD, and is probably going to go on some medication". You think little of it, until you hear the same comment over and over again. Then it may come through loud and clear. "It seems like kids all over have ADD these days!"It does indeed seem that kids are diagnosed more and more with ADD these days. According to White, "The number of diagnosed cases of ADHD in the United States has reached an all-time high. It continues to rise at what many assert is an alarming rate, making ADHD America's number-one childhood psychiatric disorder"(White, Education).In fact, it was not even an actual named disorder by the American Psychiatric Association until 1980(Armstrong, 8). The history on the disorder is astounding gin that it never was really classified or determined by targeted research and study, but rather it has developed in an almost reactionary fashion, like a ball in a pinball machine (Armstrong, 8). It seems interesting, then, having such a recent determination, and such a dubious history, it is all the rage in diagnosis today.Now this leads to some questions. One of which is, "How do doctors actually determine if a child has ADD/ADHD? There are some diagnostic standards to go by. There are diagnostic standards in a manual called the DSM IV, which outlines what conditions need to be present for the correct diagnosis. However, "diagnosis of ADHD in adolescence is elusive and adolescents may easily be misdiagnosed."(Nahlik, Clinical Pediatrics). That is because to a large degree, the conditions that need to be present are often subjective, or can indicate other conditions. According to Nahlik, "There is the further difficulty of distinguishing symptoms of ADHD from typical adolescent behavior; normal adolescents can easily become distracted when tasks do not interest them. They can also be impatient to try new experiences, and appear not to listen to adult instructions"(Nahlik, Clinical Pediatrics). Also, in order to use the DSM IV, there is required a high level of proficiency in interpreting both diagnostic data, and the criteria used in the manual. This level of competency can not be assumed. For example, in one study, " Morey and Ochoa (1989) asked 291 psychiatrists and psychologists to complete a symptom checklist for a client whom they had diagnosed with a personality disorder. When the checklists were later correlated with the DSM criteria, nearly three of four clinicians had made mistakes in applying the diagnostic criteria"(Laughlin, Journal of Mental Health Counseling).Already, it can be seen that ADD/ADHD is not...

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