Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disease that affects one’s ability to sustain attention and involves excessive activity and deficiencies in impulse control. Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder is a lifetime disorder that is often found in the early childhood years and affects the individual throughout their lifetime. For children who are diagnosed with the disorder, it makes it difficult for them to focus in school causing them to receive poor grades, they tend to be more awkward in social settings, and performing simple everyday tasks becomes a challenge. While they are able to learn how to cope as they get older, the problem will always exist. For adults who were diagnosed with ADHD during their childhood and still experience symptoms might end up being forgetful, disorganized and overwhelmed when it comes to their daily lives and jobs. The symptoms being experienced are more frustrating as an adult because of the impact it can have on work and an individual’s personal relationships. Proper maintenance of their medication and simply learning more about their own disorder can potentially provide great help to adults diagnosed with ADHD.
I believe that in today’s times, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder is one that is overdiagnosed and often misdiagnosed. When I was 8 years old, my baby brother was diagnosed with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder. He showed very apparent symptoms and because I lived with him, I saw the diagnosis to be an accurate one. At that age, it seemed as if the discussion of mental disorders was taboo and my family was in denial, but of course my brother’s diagnosis appeared to be the truth because the symptoms the disorder seemed to accurately match what I saw in my brother’s behavior. When high school came around, a lot of my classmates suddenly began to claim to have been diagnosed with ADHD, as if it were a trend. When those classmates were asked why they believed they had such a life altering biological mental condition, their answers would be something like, “I can never focus in class” and “I get distracted so easily” like they were making it out to be a joke. We all get distracted and sitting through a 50 minute history class might cause one to gaze out the window and day dream or play on their phone, so I never took their claims seriously. However, the frequency at which the topic was brought up sparked curiosity in me. It is true that more and more young children are receiving a diagnosis of ADHD and my classmates’ claims are exactly the type of claims and beliefs that lead pediatricians to make those diagnoses. While my high school classmates may have been making up stories for attention, there is no true way to know the accuracy of the growing epidemic.
The sudden increase of children being diagnosed with ADHD is growing at an alarming rate. While looking through statistical articles regarding the rise of diagnosis, I found that 6.4 million children between the ages of 4 through 17 years old have been diagnosed with the disorder in the years 2011 and 2012 alone. The prevalence rate of Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity disorder between the years 2003 and 2011 went up by 35%. At the rate of which ADHD diagnosis is increasing, this disorder is now the second most diagnosed child disease, right next to childhood obesity. A study conducted in September of 2010 by the Journal of Health Economics has determined that a child’s birth month has a great impact on their likelihood of being diagnosed with ADHD and their treatments. According to the study, kindergarten aged children who were born in August, otherwise known as before the kindergarten cutoff date, were said to be more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than those children who were born in September, after the kindergarten cutoff date. Those children born in August were also believed to be twice as likely to be treated with medications for their diagnosis. It was later found that the study could have possibly resulted in 900,000 cases of the misdiagnosis of ADHD.