Is ADHD "Over-Diagnosed"?

 11/02/2017 - 16:29

I'm sure you're aware of the debate: Is ADHD a true psychological disorder, or is it "over-diagnosed", possibly for the sake of pharmaceutical company profits? Can it be both real AND over-diagnosed?

What does "over-diagnosed" mean, anyway? Over-diagnosed refers to diagnosing something more frequently than it actually exists in people. 

Well then, what about "misdiagnosed"? Misdiagnosis refers to attributing symptoms to the wrong thing. For example, anxiety and ADHD share many symptoms, and individuals with either can be misdiagnosed with the other, leading to inappropriate treatment and potentially worsened symptoms.

Is it possible, then, that ADHD is misdiagnosed, rather than over-diagnosed? Maybe it is less a case of assigning ADHD diagnoses excessively for the purpose of diagnosing ADHD, and more a case of misunderstanding the true cause of symptoms. Maybe the accusations of the mental health industry over-diagnosing ADHD for profit is a misuse of language.

What individuals should be aware of, then, is the need to seek out centers that do comprehensive psychological assessment to differentiate ADHD from other disorders and delivering a careful diagnosis, prior to pursuing ADHD treatment (e.g. medication), rather than relying on quick screening procedures by primary care doctors and psychiatrists.

Our mission at Still Waters Counseling is not only to provide therapy and psychological assessment to those who need it, but to spread information in the community so that everyone, even those who are not our clients, can have access to informative and potentially life-changing information! 

Keep an eye out for future posts about ADHD, as well as "life-hacks" for those with ADHD-like symptoms (and the life-hacks work for those without ADHD, too, like people experiencing stress or anxiety, to make life feel a little more organized!).