Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder generally observed in children. Children with ADHD find it difficult to pay attention and are generally hyperactive.
Recent studies by Todd Elder, Michigan State University economist, have shown that nearly one million children in the United States of America are misdiagnosed with ADHD. Todd Elder is assistant professor in Economics. Study was conducted on a sample of 12,000 children from Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Cohort. Study clearly indicated that youngest children were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. They are 60 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD when compared to their older counterparts in the same class. He estimated that 1 in 5 diagnosis was incorrect.
Lack of maturity because of the fact that they are younger than their classmates is misinterpreted as ADHD by some medical practitioners. Children may not be able to concentrate or may be hyperactive just because they are younger than their class mates. Some children have short attention span. Another cause of concern is that in most of the cases teacher’s opinion about the child’s behavior is considered for diagnosis.
This incorrect diagnosis is dangerous for the children. Because once they are diagnosed with ADHD, they are administered with Ritalin, a psycho-stimulant drug. Administration of this drug to a normal child will have negative impact on its health in the long run.
It is also costing money for treatment. As per the study, nearly $500 million is unnecessarily wasted on medication. Out of this nearly $90 million is paid by Medicaid according to Todd.
ADHD is very difficult to diagnose. It symptoms are similar to symptoms of other conditions like conduct disorder, anxiety disorder, etc. Also there are no medical tests like blood test to determine if a person is suffering from ADHD. Medical practitioners should consider all the factors before concluding that a particular child is affected by ADHD.