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ADD: The Catch-All Diagnosis

Wednesday, 22 October 2008 15:08

ADD/ADHD has become the catch all diagnosis. It is conservatively estimated that between 5 and 7 million have been diagnosed with ADHD!

"There is a myriad of disorders that can mimic ADHD. Often parents or teachers, through their own investigation, will determine the diagnosis for their child's school problems as ADHD, when in fact, the difficulties are unrelated to ADHD." View the abstract

The following website, ADHD Parents Support Website offers 50 different conditions that mimic the symptoms of ADD/ADHD leading to some of the over diagnosis. Although there is acknowledgment of the necessity for improved diagnosis, this type of extensive assessment is not frequently employed:

"There is no diagnostically definitive test for ADHD. Therefore, assessments for ADHD need to be comprehensive and should involve multiple domains, informants, methods, and settings. The comprehensive assessment needs to determine whether the subject has ADHD or another disorder. Thus, evaluation of various organic conditions, functional disorders, developmental status, situational, environmental, and family problems should all be explored. The clinical interview of the child and family is one of the cornerstones of the assessment process. A comprehensive medical history and examination, psychoeducational tests, and school-related evaluation, as well as a view of the child's social and emotional functioning, are also crucial. A wide array of rating scales, tests, and measures have been developed to aid in the systematic standardized assessment of the various deficits associated with ADHD. None of these tests is definitive, however." View complete abstract.

What results then is protocol inadequacies combined with practitioner, parental and school official frustration with a child's behavior. This leads to the extensive administration of a wide array of psycotropic drugs we see in our society today. The following site lists the drugs used.Pharmacological and Psychostimulants Used for ADHD.

The most commonly prescribed drug is Ritalin. Billed as a successful treatment whose side effects are minimal. Here is the package insert for Ritalin. Let the parents decide for themselves...Ritalin Side Effects.

And our final link on ADD is one which brings to light the relationship between some ADD support groups and self interested pharmeceutical companies. This statement on their website summarizes it quite well: "Trust not in “ADD” labels and organizations but rather in the belief that all children have the potential to live well-adjusted lives."

ADD/ADHD will continue to be used as a catch all diagnosis unless parents become informed. We as Doctors of Chiropractic remain the best patient advocates and educators in any health field today. Our enthusiasm and commitment in providing information for parents to make informed health choices for their families is unprecedented. Keep up your awesome work--it does matter!