Overdiagnosis of Adhd in Children

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Erin Harvell
English 2000
Professor Panos
13 April 2010

Overdiagnosis of AD(H)D in Children
Disruptive behavior, distractibility in the classroom, and inability to pay attention are just a few symptoms that most children diagnosed with AD(H)D have. However, are these few symptoms what doctors look at when diagnosing a child for AD(HD)? More and more research is leading doctors to believe that AD(H)D is being over diagnosed because of the lack of time doctors have to spend with their patients, doctors are not doing complete evaluations, and doctors who have the power of the prescription pad.

Talking with a local doctor here in town, Dr. Patricia Depuy said, “We just don’t have time.” Like Dr. Depuy, many other doctors say the same thing. With a lack of time, it gives more room for error. Doctors do not have adequate enough time to do extensive evaluations on patients along with a background check of family history. As stated before and I will explain later in the paper, doctors that do not have adequate enough time also have the power of the prescription pad. Miami neurologist Sara Dorison says, “There’s no way you can screen for side effects in a 10-year-old in five minutes. You have to chat about their summer, their friends.” (www.time.com) Throughout all of my research I have repeatedly found doctors admitting that they simply do not have enough time to do extensive background checks and evaluations on the child and so they just diagnose them, give them a prescription and get them out of there. 8 to 10% of children in the 2nd through 5th grades were found to routinely take ADHD medication in school during the 1995-96 school year. (www.thenaturalbeat.com) With the growing numbers of children being diagnosed with AD(H)D since 1996, research shows that more and more kids are taking medications and do not go a day without them. In a group of about 15 third grade boys, 9 out of the 15 moms required their sons to take their medication at an overnight...
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