ADHD and the difficulty in making a correct diagnosis

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The so-called ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is increasingly diagnosed in more children (who are treated with drugs) in Western societies.

Since the turn of the century, the number of children diagnosed with ADHD has risen by 40%. The figures in the U.S., for instance, are very representative: 11% of children are diagnosed with ADHD, while 4 out of every 100 adults are affected. This happens to be the most common mental illness in the UK as well.

But the real question remains: Is there really such a thing as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? For Dr. Richard Saul Chicago, the answer is a resounding no.

According to the recent and controversial book by Dr. Saul, “ADHD Does Not Exist,” he argues that there is not a single individual in the world affected by this disorder.

The supposed symptoms of ADHD manifest themselves through, for example, the inability to pay attention and sit still in a chair – typical behaviour of millions of students around the globe.

ADHD has also been associated with a number of behavioural patterns: excessive talking, low tolerance for delays or disorder. These are just some of its alleged manifestations.

As far as ADHD is concerned, the tendency of some physicians has been the diagnosis and treatment with drugs capable of calming the activity of small children – something that according to the discretion of the author of the book, “ADHD Does Not Exist,” could be considered a true “epidemic of misdiagnosis.”

At the discretion of Dr. Saul, there are many underlying issues that have been overlooked and have not been resolved, among which he mentions: vision problems, lack of sleep or learning difficulties. In any case, for Dr. Saul, ADHD would only be a symptom that can alert us about some of the above circumstances.

Furthermore, some conditions such as hearing problems, drug addiction, Asperger syndrome or even cases of gifted children are other possible causes that can lead us to consider a child patient as an ADHD sufferer.

At any rate, it is important to reflect in this post the opinions of some sectors of the medical community who have qualified Dr. Saul as an advocator of using sensationalism, and dangerous in his assertions regarding ADHD.

According to Dr. Michael Kohn of the Sydney Children’s Hospital, who has worked with ADHD patients for 20 years, Dr. Saul is trying to persuade through fear. In his own words he states, “It’s more manipulative than informative.”

At Best Doctors we believe that an accurate diagnosis is central to achieving the most appropriate treatment for the patient, as well as being a tool for optimisation of limited health resources. Therefore, we encourage you to learn about Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity and, if you need a second opinion from the best specialists in the world, count on us.

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