A new study is coming to some conclusions about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that is likely to surprise a lot of parents out there.
Namely, there’s a good chance that your child who has been diagnosed with it doesn’t actually have it at all.
The study found that ADHD has been vastly over-diagnosed, and children who are slightly younger than their peers and are thus disproportionately targeted for ADHD assessment when their maturity levels are actually fairly normal for their age, according to a Elsevier Health Services statement.
Behavioral problems like poor attention span, low concentration, restlessness, and other issues that become a problem in the schoolroom are the hallmarks of ADHD, often leading to prescriptions of Ritalin, which can have bad side effects like weight loss, liver problems, or even suicidal thoughts.
About 400,000 children in Britain alone have been prescribed drugs, and prescriptions are only going up. The study involved about that money children between four and 17 years of age in Taiwan, and it found that the ADHD diagnoses change depending on what month they were born, with the number of diagnoses increasing as the school year goes on — indicating that teachers may be comparing their behavior to older, more mature children and concluding that ADHD is the culprit.
“Our findings emphasize the importance of considering the age of a child within a grade when diagnosing ADHD and prescribing medication to treat ADHD,” Dr. Mu-Hong Chen said in the statement.
The statement noted: “When looking at the database as a whole, children born in August were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and/or receive ADHD medication than those born in September. When broken down and analyzed according to age, only preschool or elementary school-aged children born in August had an increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD and receiving ADHD medication. However, adolescents born in August did not have an increased risk of ADHD diagnosis. This may imply that increasing age and maturity lessens the impact of birth month on ADHD diagnoses.”