A new report analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in just a decade the number of kids diagnosed with ADHD has jumped by 53 percent, with nearly one in five high-school-aged boys being told they have the disorder. The Today Show reported on April 2, 2013, that the alarmingly high numbers have parents, educators and other experts wondering whether the disorder is being overdiagnosed and healthy kids being unnecessarily treated with powerful stimulants.
Some are quick to blame pharmaceutical companies for pushing ADHD medications, however Dr. Nancy Snyderman, chief medical editor at NBC points to elimination of daily recess and gym activities. The move, in favor of activities focused on raising standardized test scores, may cause antsy children to have no release for energy in the school day. DrSnyderman also suggests that technology has a major impact. Children who grow up with daily exposure to ipads and other digital gadgets are used to multitasking and exposure to fast-moving video games and thus may not be able to hold attention to a teacher speaking in a typical classroom setting. Research shows brains are changing in connection with this new technology. Dr. Snyderman says “There’s been a technological shift, if you, as an adult, feel really connected to this and you didn’t even grow up with it, imagine what it is like when you are a 2-year-old and you get your first iPad. You bet their brains are going faster. And they bore more easily.”
Birmingham Maple Clinic therapist Dave Garvelink, MA LLP, also suggests that increased use of marijuana among young people can also be mistaken for and incorrectly diagnosed as ADHD; adding to the elevated rates of diagnosis. Low motivation, poor attention and poor completion of tasks are observable symptoms of both ADHD and marijuana and other drug use. He says, “The symptoms look very similar.”
Dr. Snyderman advocates for rigorous psychological testing to determine if ADHD is truly present in your child. She also remarks although stimulants can be helpful in many cases, when wrongly prescribed, or in doses too high, the consequences can be “psychosis or death,” which is why she emphasizes the importance of complete testing and in some cases classroom observations.
Harriet Green, educational tutor at Birmingham Maple Clinic says “Medication, when prescribed correctly, can be a dose of confidence for an ADHD child.” She finds for children that are properly treated the ability to focus gives the self-confidence they need to make it through their daily homework routine.
Psychologists at The Center for ADHD at Birmingham Maple Clinic can provide comprehensive psychological testing to determine if ADHD is present. When ADHD really is the problem an individual treatment plan is developed. The Center for ADHD offers an array of services to meet the needs of the individual plan. Psychiatric evaluations for medication, psychological testing, individual and/or family therapy, psycho-educational seminars for parents of children with ADHD, seminars for adults with ADHD, educational tutoring, and academic or career coaching are each available at Birmingham Maple Clinic. To learn more about treatment of ADHD at Birmingham Maple Clinic visit www.birminghammaple.com or call (248) 646-6659.