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ADHD in the News – Diagnosis Rates

April 26, 2012

In the last few weeks, new research was published indicating that the diagnosis rate of ADHD in American children increased by 66 percent from 2001 to 2010.   While some may use this statistic to hold up as an example of overdiagnosis, overmedication, or really anything negative about ADHD, I agree with the research team.  They attribute this increase to a better understanding of the condition and an increased awareness amidst the medical community and the general population.  To me, the increase is diagnosis rate is great news because it means there are 66% less children who will grow into adults thinking that there is something wrong with them because they can’t do things the way other people can.  There are 66% less children who will think their shortcomings in the eyes of others are some kind of character flaw.  There are 66% less children in our country who will have to struggle to do everyday things in the “normal” way without an explanation as to why or an idea that things could be different.

How can this be a bad thing?

I take this diagnosis increase as good news because diagnosing a problem means that it can be treated.  Anyone who understands how devastating growing up with untreated ADHD can be must understand how critical it is to get children diagnosed and treated early in life.   Diagnosis makes it possible for a child with ADHD to learn management strategies and get the support and resources they need not only to survive, but to thrive.

It is far easier to help a child with ADHD understand why they struggle to do “normal” things and that it is OK for them to do things in different ways than it is to dismantle a lifetime of conditioning and bad experiences.  People can literally have a completely different life if their ADHD is diagnosed and treated during childhood.

I view the increase in diagnosis rate as a positive thing  because it shows an increase in general ADHD awareness and because it means that children who were not previously diagnosed are now getting the support, encouragement, guidance, and skills that they need to create a successful path into adulthood.

Turning Leaf Life Coaching offers coaching for ADHD over the phone and in person throughout NH, ME, MA, and VT.  For more information, go to www.turningleafcoaching.com.

 

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