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ADHD Overdiagnosed?

Posted by on Oct. 13, 2012 at 4:48 PM
  • 12 Replies

What do you think of this article? Do you agree or disagree? Do you think we need to rethink how we teach kids?

Drugging Your 'ADHD' Kid Could Be Lazy Parenting

AdderallAdderallI have always been astonished by the number of kids diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder -- especially boys. Nearly 10 percent of children 4 to 14 reportedly have ADHD. That's 5.4 million kids!

As some moms tell it, Adderall -- a drug that boosts focus and helps impulse control -- is the best thing that ever happened to their kid (and them by default!). One mommy friend, who gladly gives it to her grade-schooler, used to complain about how he didn't like to sit still, wouldn't focus on any one thing for more than a half-hour, and how impulsive he was. I felt for her -- I really did. But a part of me always wondered if all those complaints were just a part of being a rambunctious kid. Well, that actually may be the case. Some experts are questioning whether ADHD is even real

More from The Stir: Latest Info on ADHD Could Disappoint a Lot of Moms

One doctor goes as far as to say the entire disorder is "made up" and an "excuse." The reason? He claims most children are given Adderall to actually treat poor academic performance in school, which is conveniently blamed on ADHD. Instead of medicating kids, he suggests addressing the real issue -- a bad academic environment or one that just doesn't jive with the way they learn.

In a way, Adderall has become a popular cure-all for struggling students. It's not surprising to hear teens and even college students still take it. "My kids don't want to take it, but I told them, 'These are your grades when you're taking it, this is when you don't,' and they understood," one mom said.

It wasn't until I became a parent that I realized that not every child learns the same way. Some can thrive in a noisy, hectic environment. Others need more order and solitude. Some blossom in an artistic curriculum; others crave math and science. Education isn't a one size fits all kind of thing. So a child who is not doing well in school, who lacks focus, who can't seem to sit still, may not always have ADHD. She might be frustrated by the teaching method, unchallenged, or not getting the type of interaction she may need. Unfortunately, that solution costs money and time most parents, schools, and communities can't or are not willing to spend.

More from The Stir: 'Coffee Mom' Speaks Out on Giving Son Caffeine for ADHD (VIDEO)

Now, just to be clear, I don't really buy that ADHD does not exist at all. It's a very real affliction for a lot of kids and adults too, I'm sure. I think some children exhibit behavior so unmanageable, so out-of-control, there is clearly something emotionally amiss. However, I think far too many parents are too quick to pop a pill in their child's mouth. We owe it to them to try to find another way first.

Do you think ADHD is over-diagnosed?

by on Oct. 13, 2012 at 4:48 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Panty.Pirate
by Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 5:07 PM
I think some of it is bullshit. While yes, I agree it's very overdiagnosed, I think it is also very very real. Gorwing up I had 4 brothers, one of them had ADHD. It was very obvious. My brother had to take a tape recorder (with written permission from the school) to record each day's lessons in case he didn't catch it. He was all over the place and couldn't focus even if it was life or death I swear to you. I have 3 kids. My oldest son is in fact ADHD. It's not lazy parenting. I tried sooooo many tactics, changed his diet, etc. The schools tried different tactics too. Finally we broke down and the I gave permission to the school to do needed testing. I took all the reports the school gave me and took my son to the doctor. We needed it in writing to get him further special attention he needed in school. The doctor worked with him for a while and confirmed, he said it's been pretty obvious to him through all of our visits but we needed proper paper work.



Ryan had to write a 3 paragraph paper for class the other day. It was just me and him and no distracting noises or sounds and I will be damned if it didn't take 3 or more hours to finish this thing. Why? He couldn't focus. His attention wanders very very easily. I wanted to scream, I wanted to cry, I wanted to just write the damn paper for him. We peristed with a little help from me in regards to spelling and what not, and he finished it. Mind you, this was after school, he took his medicine in the morning and by the time we got to homework I am sure it had worn off for the most part.



To me, it's very real. To me, it's a big pain in the ass. My other children act nothing like Ryan. It's obvious he is different. He can't make it through brushing his teeth without noticing the sound of the wind chime outside on the other end of the house. He can't tie his shoe without losing focus and stop to pick up that penny he saw on the floor out of the corner of his eye. It takes FOREVER to get any task done. To me, ADHD is very real. Without his medication he would have failed last year. I gave it my best and still do, and so does his school (It's a top ranked school and recognized as a "School of Excellance" in my state.)
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cjsmom1
by Platinum Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM

I think it's a real diagnosis, but I also think medication should be a last resort. It's disgusting how many kids have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and how many of them are on meds. I honestly think a lot of the times a diagnosis and meds are the easy way out for the parent. I work in a pharmacy and when there was an adderall shortage parents were flipping out and acting like the world was ending. I understand some kids need this medication but I think therapy that teaches coping skills should be used first.

People often don't want to deal with their active child and want medication to make them sit still. I think a lot of the time when kids are diagnosed it's because they are a typical energetic child. It seems that so many people just want kids to sit and focus all the time. Guess what kids should run around, have active imaginations, jump around, and enjoy being a kid. Kids were not meant to sit in front of a tv all day.

Marti123
by Platinum Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 7:27 PM
ADHD is real. It is the parent's & provider's decision how to treat. End of the story in my mind
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Nighttiger
by Ashley on Oct. 13, 2012 at 10:28 PM

I didn't get the feeling the writing was saying it doesn't exist. She was simply stating there are experts who feel it may not exist. In her words, she very much sees that the disorder does exist to a smaller extent than we like to diagnose it. I felt her focus was more on changing the way we look at teaching kids and trying other ways of dealing with hyper kids other than just giving them pills. From what you wrote, it sounds like you are one of those that it really does exist for and you've tried other methods of dealing with it. There are some parents out there though that would rather pop a pill in their kids mouth rather than attempting everything you did to help the situation.

From the article: "Now, just to be clear, I don't really buy that ADHD does not exist at all. It's a very real affliction for a lot of kids and adults too, I'm sure. I think some children exhibit behavior so unmanageable, so out-of-control, there is clearly something emotionally amiss. However, I think far too many parents are too quick to pop a pill in their child's mouth. We owe it to them to try to find another way first."

Quoting Panty.Pirate:

I



To me, it's very real. To me, it's a big pain in the ass. My other children act nothing like Ryan. It's obvious he is different. He can't make it through brushing his teeth without noticing the sound of the wind chime outside on the other end of the house. He can't tie his shoe without losing focus and stop to pick up that penny he saw on the floor out of the corner of his eye. It takes FOREVER to get any task done. To me, ADHD is very real. Without his medication he would have failed last year. I gave it my best and still do, and so does his school (It's a top ranked school and recognized as a "School of Excellance" in my state.)


Nighttiger
by Ashley on Oct. 13, 2012 at 10:32 PM

I agree. With some kids it can be as simple as changing a diet or running the room 10 times before class. I can 100% see a difference in my kids behaviour depending on his food that day. Yoga is a great example. There were days I was trying to work business stuff while getting him breakfast and out the door to yoga. He could not sit still those days. I didn't give him sugar, but I don't think I filled him up enough. The last 2 classes I've been sure to give him eggs and cheese before class and all I get are compliments of how well he's listening and behaving. Just switching from yogurt and toast for breakfast to adding eggs and cheese transformed my 2 year old.

Quoting cjsmom1:

I think it's a real diagnosis, but I also think medication should be a last resort. It's disgusting how many kids have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and how many of them are on meds. I honestly think a lot of the times a diagnosis and meds are the easy way out for the parent. I work in a pharmacy and when there was an adderall shortage parents were flipping out and acting like the world was ending. I understand some kids need this medication but I think therapy that teaches coping skills should be used first.

People often don't want to deal with their active child and want medication to make them sit still. I think a lot of the time when kids are diagnosed it's because they are a typical energetic child. It seems that so many people just want kids to sit and focus all the time. Guess what kids should run around, have active imaginations, jump around, and enjoy being a kid. Kids were not meant to sit in front of a tv all day.


Nighttiger
by Ashley on Oct. 13, 2012 at 10:33 PM

I don't think her statement was that it doesn't exist, but more that we tend to overdiagnose as a society and maybe we should look at other methods of teaching and more on nutrition than popping pills.

From the article: Now, just to be clear, I don't really buy that ADHD does not exist at all. It's a very real affliction for a lot of kids and adults too, I'm sure. I think some children exhibit behavior so unmanageable, so out-of-control, there is clearly something emotionally amiss. However, I think far too many parents are too quick to pop a pill in their child's mouth. We owe it to them to try to find another way first.

Quoting Marti123:

ADHD is real. It is the parent's & provider's decision how to treat. End of the story in my mind


rissarin
by Gold Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 10:46 PM
2 moms liked this
It definitely exists. No doubt about it. But yes, I think it may be used as a diagnosis too frequently and medicated to quickly. Some kids may just need a little tweak here and there. Medication should be a last resort, but I think that with nearly everything involving medication. ;)
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cjsmom1
by Platinum Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 10:51 PM
1 mom liked this

It's crazy how the little things can affect our kids. I noticed by setting a schedule and allowing ds to help make it has made a huge difference in getting things done (we're homeschooling). I also found unconventional punishments have worked for us and have seen a huge improvement in his behavior.

Quoting Nighttiger:

I agree. With some kids it can be as simple as changing a diet or running the room 10 times before class. I can 100% see a difference in my kids behaviour depending on his food that day. Yoga is a great example. There were days I was trying to work business stuff while getting him breakfast and out the door to yoga. He could not sit still those days. I didn't give him sugar, but I don't think I filled him up enough. The last 2 classes I've been sure to give him eggs and cheese before class and all I get are compliments of how well he's listening and behaving. Just switching from yogurt and toast for breakfast to adding eggs and cheese transformed my 2 year old.

cjsmom1
by Platinum Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 11:00 PM

I completely agree, medication should be a last resort not the first choice

Quoting rissarin:

It definitely exists. No doubt about it. But yes, I think it may be used as a diagnosis too frequently and medicated to quickly. Some kids may just need a little tweak here and there. Medication should be a last resort, but I think that with nearly everything involving medication. ;)


BrennaLyons
by Member on Oct. 14, 2012 at 1:47 AM

Is it overdiagnsed? Yes. Is it overmedicated? Yes. Is it real and a real problem for families afflicted? Yes.

FWIW, two of my kids are ADHD. They are also OCD and high-functioning autistic. When they got their original diagnoses, the Navy doctors diagnosed symptomatically instead of looking for the umbrella cause of many of the symptoms that indicated autism. I refused medication for the ADHD, and I later learned that it was good I'd refused and demanded to use behavior mods. The meds they use for ADHD would have been a bad idea on a child who has autism.

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