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The ADHD Misdiagnosis

By Dr. Emily Kensington

"Is Your Child Being Misdiagnosed? Find Out Here!"

The ADHD Misdiagnosis: Fact Or Fiction?

Like any mental health professional or family struggling with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, I am familiar with the arguments that ADHD is a largely “manufactured” condition

Some say it is a great hoax committed by the pharmaceutical industry in order to make money by prescribing unnecessary medications to children who are simply behaving like energetic children.

Are most young children occasionally exhibit exuberance and hyperactivity? Of course. Do they watch too much television, eat too much sugar, play too many video games, and spend too much time in front of computers rather than play outside or engage in other meaningful activities? Sure. Is our culture too busy, fast-paced, and too work-centric that parents do not have sufficient opportunities to enjoy activities with their children? Yes.

However, as a doctor who specializes in treating ADD/ADHD, and as the mother of a son with ADHD, the pivotal difference between children merely behaving like children and children with ADHD is that the diagnostic criteria for ADD/ADHD is very specific in that it stipulates that the severity of symptoms grossly inhibit daily functioning.

In other words, many young children are occasionally hyperactive but when it gets to the point that the child is unable to sit still in class, unable to focus on schoolwork to the point of failing classes, or the parents are unable to handle the child's meltdowns in public settings, then the possibility of ADD/ADHD must be assessed.

Therefore, my answer is always the same: the condition is as real as Cancer or Diabetes. Brain scans of children with ADHD are different than those without the condition. For example, the frontal lobes in children with ADHD receive less blood flow and show less brainwave activity compared to children without ADD/ADHD.

The frontal lobes are responsible for executive functioning and are involved in higher order cognitive tasks such as attention, organization, and impulse control. If this area of the brain receives less blood flow and is less developed, then ADHD is a likely result.

However, if you feel that you or your child is receiving an ADHD misdiagnosis, then seek a second opinion from another mental health professional. Do not rely on primary care physicians to make the diagnosis, as they do not specialize in treating the condition. See a psychiatrist or neurological psychologist.

Do some homework by learning about the condition. Check the ADHD symptoms to see if they match your child.

And keep in mind that the some symptoms of conditions such as depression or anxiety (inability to focus, worrying, daydreaming) can mirror the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. That is why it is import to know what is involved in diagnosing ADHD.

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