While some people question the existence of ADHD many others are becoming concerned about the dramatic rise in the number of diagnosed cases in this country. The U.S. is the only country that recognizes this as a condition. Other industrialized nations consider this part of normal childhood behavior. They also have a tendency to use natural remedies to treat children that are over active and have problems with concentration. While the United States accounts for 5% of the world's population we consume 90% of all the Ritalin produced in it.
For people that do have ADHD proper diagnosis and treatment can have profound effects on their lives. They do better in school, at work and get along better with their peers. These drugs have been shown to help these people. The problem is that these drugs have the same type of affect on people that do not have ADHD. Diagnosis is sometimes a blurry area. There is no biological test that tells us if a person has it or not. It is more objective than scientific. If a person becomes well versed in the symptoms they can fake it. The positive affects of these treatments can only be obtained by a diagnosis of ADHD and a prescription for these drugs.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF OVERDIAGNOSIS?
Many times parents and teachers do not feel like dealing with a child that is out of control. Diagnosis and treatment is a quick fix to change any negative behavior. A positive diagnosis is seen as an aid to general parenting. It solves the problem of an unruly child. The problem is that treatment usually takes one form and that is to medicate them.
It is much easier when a problem child just stops being a problem. This solves the problem for parents that do not have the time to parent and teachers that feel they do not have the time to teach. What it does not do is address the underlying problem that the child has
The problem is not the manufacturers of these medications it is the people that use them as the only or primary way to treat ADHD. Even in children that are not a problem it has become all too easy to call them a problem and subject them with unneeded treatments.
Abuse of ADHD medications
These drugs have become noticed by students, professional athletes and teenagers. They are looked at by these people as performance enhancers. They can provide several hours of intense focus that can help get a student through the next test or assist an athlete with their performance in an important upcoming event. This may be something that is too hard to resist for some.
Use as a recreational drug
Many teenagers are buying them from their friends to get high. They consume these in large amounts and may be setting themselves up for some serious consequences. These drugs have side effects such as suicidal tendencies, insomnia, stunted growth and liver and heart damage. Because they are taking many times the recommended dosages these side effects can be magnified.
Adults that are looking for an advantage in the workplace
If you have adult ADHD a correct diagnosis and treatment can assist in better performance and a better life. The problem is that diagnosis in adults is very difficult. It requires one to look back on their childhood for information which will assist in the diagnosis. An adult with knowledge of the symptoms may be able to answer questions in a way to obtain the desired diagnosis.
The business aspect
An entire industry has been spawned by the increase in ADHD diagnosis. Some of these are legitimate and bring value to people lives while others are only designed to benefit the business owner.
We have coaches and councilors, programs for parents, software, websites and books. All of these companies depend on treating people that have been positively diagnosed and may contribute to the over diagnosis.