Although there has been talk recently that doctors are over-diagnosing ADHD, leading to ‘zombie’ children who are all but sedated using Ritalin, etc.1, there is a risk in being too conservative with the diagnosis too as ADHD can be quite debilitating.
Not hyper, but not much else. [Image credit danabooo]
The main three elements of this behavior disorder are 1) inability to remain focused on a task for very long 2) bouts of extreme energy and often disruptive activity and 3) impulsive or reckless behavior acted out without concern for consequences. However, these symptoms must be experienced in a manner far more exaggerated than normal to constitute ADHD as many children display one of all of them on occasion. As with many disorders, a requirement for diagnosis is that it gets in the way of the sufferer’s functioning in everyday life.
While ADHD is recognized in people of a range of ages, it is most commonly associated with young children and tends to manifest, if it is going to, by the end of adolescence. Estimates put ADHD prevalence at 3-5% of children in the US, and almost twice as many boys as girls within that2. Treatments are often mixed and highly individualized but usually contains elements like educational intervention, family therapy and medications.
1. Dr. Koplewicz (2013). Are ADHD Medications Overprescribed?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10000872396390444301704577631591596516110. [Last Accessed 11.12.13].>
2. Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota (). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.childrensmn.org/web/mentalhealth/009413.asp?gclid=CKfor7KS2LoCFewRMwodAhUA_w#P10_2365. [Last Accessed 11.12.13].