Thursday, 27 June 2013

ADHD Diagnosis Observations- No Room For Complacency

I have just been reading a report in Pediatrics where a study shows that if you are a minority child from Asian, African or Hispanic background, then you are much less likely to be taken for an ADHD diagnosis. 

The result is that among these minorities, the detection, diagnosis and treatment of ADHD is just way below that of white Caucasian origin.  The study was done after the researchers had followed about 17,000 children from kindergarten to the eighth grade.

The conclusion was that among these minorities as many as a half to two thirds were less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than their white counterparts. This is not because ADHD is not present in these minorities. It is just that there are many factors at play here.

One may be the lack of awareness of what ADHD is and what the warning signs are. Other factors could be economic ones where access to healthcare is expensive or non existent so many of these children just go through their childhood and into adulthood without ever realizing that they have a problem.

Another issue is that minorities are just outside the diagnostic net while it could also be said that white children are being overdiagnosed. There is no definite agreement or consensus on this one.

All too often behavior issues which are plain and simple and need parental intervention. These cases have nothing to do with ADHD. Similarly, behavioral problems or learning disabilities at school may be the result of some other problem. But all too often, teachers want problem children quiet and calm and will often put pressure on parents to get the ADHD label, meds and all the other problems that go with that.

Misdiagnosing a case of ADHD is very serious as medication in the long term can lead to health problems.  
Even more worrying is that fact that original disturbance or disorder may never be properly diagnosed, with all the implications this has as the child moves into adulthood.

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