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News2012April › ADHD wrongly diagnosed in three out of four cases › April 2012

ADHD wrongly diagnosed in three out of four cases

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit, hyperactive disorder), there's a good chance he doesn't actually have it

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit, hyperactive disorder), there's a good chance he doesn't actually have it. Up to 75 per cent of diagnoses may be wrong - and this alarming figure could be even higher if the child is a boy.
Cases of ADHD have risen fourfold in the past 10 years, while prescriptions for pharmaceuticals have increased at a similar rate - and yet diagnosis is alarmingly unscientific, random and even biased.
Psychotherapists and psychiatrists are routinely diagnosing ADHD wrongly, and they could be misdiagnosing in three out of four cases, a new study has discovered. German researchers also discovered that a diagnosis was even more likely if the child was a boy.
In a study involving 473 therapists, girls with the exact same symptoms as a boy were routinely told they did not have ADHD whereas the boy was wrongly diagnosed, and treated with a power pharmaceutical drug.
Researchers urge therapists not to rely on their intuition and hunches, but instead carry out proper scientific tests before arriving at an ADHD diagnosis.
(Source: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2012; 80: 128-38).


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