1 million U.S. kids misdiagnosed with ADHD: study - Macleans.ca

1 million U.S. kids misdiagnosed with ADHD: study

Children tend to be the youngest in kindergarten class


Nearly 1 million U.S. children have potentially been misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder just because they’re the youngest in their kindergarten class—meaning they’re also the most immature—according to a new study from Michigan State University economist Todd Elder. They’re more likely than older classmates to receive behaviour-modifying drugs like Ritalin, Elder reports in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Health Economics, which is concerning because long-term stimulant use may have long-term effects that aren’t entirely understood. It also wastes millions of dollars on unnecessary medications. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behaviour disorder in American children, with at least 4.5 million diagnosed under age 18, but there are no neurological markers for it. The study found that the youngest kindergartners were 60 per cent more likely to be misdiagnosed with ADHD than the oldest kids in their grade. By the fifth and eighth grades, the youngest were more than twice as likely to be prescribed with stimulants. Overall, about 30 per cent of 4.5 million children identified with ADHD are probably misdiagnosed, it found.

Michigan State University

Filed under:

1 million U.S. kids misdiagnosed with ADHD: study

  1. When are people (a) going to realize that big pharma runs our medical system; and (b) do something about it? How many doctors aren't just Ritalin or anti-depressent dispensing machines? (It took me a while to find one who wasn't, and he's worth his weight in gold)

  2. Drugging them to zombiehood to keep them docile, that should make the medical profession proud. When medical doctors become legalize drug pushers, it is time to review what is going on with our health care.

  3. This fits with Malcolm Gladwell's position in Outliers — his research showed that if you look at most successful athletes, they are typically born in January, Feb, or March — ie they are older, more mature, and bigger than the other kids in class, and from there, get more attention from coaches, etc.

    So the elder kids get to be kings of the class, and their younger classmates get drugged for life? Yikes. Seems like a good reason to take this into account when planning parenthood.

  4. Some children have behavioral issues due to maturity, age, lack of discipline, or problems at home but there are SOME children with real neurological disorders. It may manifest itself in withdrawn behavior or hyper behavior – it depends on the child. I like what Brain Balance has to say about the issue – http://www.brainbalancecenters.com . Strengthening brain communication (between the right and left sides of the brain) through education, exercises, occupational therapy, etc. can make a big difference without drugs. I understand the difficult job that teachers have with 20 or more students who learn differently and at different levels. Never-the-less, it's not as “easy” as every child with behavior or attention problems having ADHD. Some have sensory issues, parent issues, etc.

  5. Children should not be allowed to start JK unless they are 4 years old when the new school year starts. This study shows that the children born after the school year start date get misdiagnosed with ADHD. Then they get a little older and also get misdiagnosed with Learning Disabilities. Risky to generalize but let's err on the side of caution and have children wait until they are 4.

  6. Children diagnosed with ADHD have significant differences in the functioning of brain as compared to normal counterparts.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder describes a condition that affects the ability of children to concentrate or focus on anything. This often leads to hyperactivity and causes forgetfulness. The identification of ADHD causes is difficult. Moreover, the diagnosis of ADHD becomes even more complicated since it influences a considerable part of their childhood. Though the disorder generally affects children, recent studies have confirmed its presence in adults also.