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Adhd Over Dianosed Essay

3080 words - 13 pages

ADHD is over Diagnosed
A simple way to describe Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is that it is a brain based condition where there is an imbalance of the brains chemicals dopamine and noradrenaline, these chemicals being responsible for self-control and slowing down of impulses. Because of the slight imbalance of these important chemicals, people with ADHD will experience impulsive, hyperactive behavior as well as inattentiveness with short term memory and in some cases, learning difficulties. Although doctors and scientists have more information about the causes and treatment of ADHD today, there is an interesting history around this disorder which had many different theories and ...view middle of the document...

As ADHD is a common condition, doctors need to be certain when assessing a child for ADHD. Some simple symptoms of the disorder are; disorganization, restlessness, fidgeting, clumsiness, forgetfulness and being easily distracted. Although every person does experience at least one or more of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that they have ADHD. People with ADHD will experience these symptoms, but at a far greater level of severity than those without the disorder would, and with negative outcomes because of the severity .Therefore, focusing on the simple symptoms of ADHD is what often leads to an over diagnosis of the disorder, such as if a child has a lot of energy and doesn't like to sit still, the child may just be an active child and will not necessarily have ADHD. As Dr Sam Goldstein says, "just as not every sneeze is indicative of a cold, so too not every restless, impulsive and inattentive behavior is indicative of ADHD." shows how easily one can confuse normal behaviors with the simple ADHD behaviors, leading to an over diagnosis of the disorder. When observing a child for ADHD, tests must be done and observations will be made according to the DSM-IV criteria to make a correct diagnosis of ADHD.
There are two main features of ADHD, these being inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. Under each feature there are diagnostic criteria which need to be addressed when assessing a child who possibly has ADHD. These criteria are called DSM-IV, which stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth addition. Under the inattention feature, DSM-IV symptoms include; not paying attention to detail, difficulty focusing and keeping attention on tasks, not listening or following instructions, poor organizational skills, being easily distracted, very forgetful and often losing important items. The hyperactivity-impulsivity feature is arranged under two different subheadings but these are both very closely linked. Hyperactivity DSM-IV symptoms include fidgeting with hands and feet, often leaving ones seat, excessive running and climbing in inappropriate situations, difficulty engaging quietly in relaxing activities, always has endless energy and talks excessively. The impulsivity criteria include blurting out answers, difficulty being patient and interrupting and intruding on others. Using these criteria, further steps are then taken to make a diagnosis of ADHD.
When making the diagnosis of ADHD, there are a number of steps to follow to make sure of an accurate diagnosis. Dr Christopher Green (1997: 61) states that there are four simple steps to diagnosis; firstly to look for alarm signals - any behaviors or symptoms that could indicate ADHD. Secondly, to exclude ADHD 'lookalikes'- the behaviors or disorders that are often confused with ADHD. Thirdly, to use objective pointers towards the diagnosis, such as tests and questionnaires, and lastly, to take a detailed history of the child being assessed and link it to...

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