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Analysis Of Over Diagnosing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

3044 words - 13 pages

The mental health community has been noticeably slow in identifying that there may be a problem with diagnoses and prescriptions for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health government publication, “Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General” notes a rise in concerns regarding over-diagnosis and overprescribing of stimulant therapy, by stating there may be "inappropriate diagnosis and treatment" taking place (National Institute of Mental Health, 2001). The US Dept. of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported in 2011 that an estimated 9% of children in the United States had ADHD (Bloom, 2011). This paper will define the disorder, discuss the notion of over-diagnosing, and the potential risks of overprescribing medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Adolescence is often a time of bodily, societal, and mental evolution. Some will go through certain sequences or experiences that can be linked to specific choices concerning “family and peer relationships, sexual expression, vocational/educational development, and experimenting with drugs and alcohol” (Maag and Irvin, 2005). Having a consistent view of your life will help adolescents to effectively steer their life transitions in a positive direction. Steering these transitions can be difficult for some adolescents due to their specific personality structures. When adolescents have a compromised capability to deal with pressure, apprehension, and interpersonal relationships they have a higher possibility of emerging with any of the various psychological disorders.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neuropsychiatric condition with onset in childhood, generally becoming obvious during the first few years of grade school (Goldman, Genel, Bezman & Slanetz, 1998). Children with ADHD generally have problems paying attention and/or concentrating on tasks. They can't seem to follow directions and are easily bored or frustrated with tasks. They also tend to move constantly and are impulsive, not stopping to think before they act (Goldman, Genel, Bezman & Slanetz, 1998).

How Does a Child Develop ADHD
Researchers are not sure what causes ADHD, although previous research has suggested that genetics contribute to the disorder. Fritz (2011) suggested that like many other illnesses, ADHD probably results from a combination of influences other than just genetics. Currently studies are being conducted to looking at possible connections between environmental factors and how brain injuries, nutrition, and/or social environment might contribute to the development of ADHD. Fritz (2011) also noted that there have been some studies to suggest a probable connection between cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy with ADHD in children (Fritz, 2011).

How Does a Child Get Diagnosed with ADHD
Because ADHD does not have a single, simply...

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