Is ADHD over-diagnosed?

A common perception is that ADHD is over-diagnosed. But is this actually true? Or is this belief a reaction to bias in the media? Or, are we actually seeing an increase in rates of appropriate ADHD diagnoses?

The answer to this is somewhat complex. Part of the reason this is even an issue is the fact that ADHD can't be diagnosed with something definitive like a blood test or brain scan. Instead, it relies on a thorough assessment of symptoms on a continuum.

With that in mind, on one hand, yes, some practitioners are over-diagnosing ADHD. There are many professionals out there who do not spend the time doing a thorough ADHD assessment and might be more quick to diagnose than they should. This is an issue that needs addressing.

On the other hand, ADHD is not being over-diagnosed. In fact, our diagnostic practices have improved so we're only now starting to catch previously under-diagnosed populations. There has been an increased awareness and understanding of ADHD, particularly in adults, leading to an increase of diagnoses. But are they needless diagnoses? No, they just flew under the radar before.

So, is ADHD over-diagnosed? Yes and no. But, for the most part, it seems to be mostly media bias making it seem like there's an epidemic of over-diagnosis of ADHD.

For a related article, check out: Why it's important to get a thorough ADHD assessment

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