Over the course of 10 years, the prevalence rates of Attention Deficit-Hyperactive Disorder diagnoses have increased by approximately 40%. The cause of the sudden increase is relatively unknown. There are possibilities that it could be due to genetics, diet or environment.
While there is an apparent up rise of patients being diagnosed with ADHD, some argue that there is a significant problem with under-diagnosis. In the article, Underdiagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adult Patients, it states that adults with ADHD tend to show more symptoms of co morbid disorders, such as alcoholism or anxiety, rather than the symptoms of their ADHD. When adults go to a physicist for a clinical evaluation, they usually go for their co morbid symptoms and the ADHD goes undiagnosed. This can result in poor outcomes, whether or not the co morbid disorders are the ones being treated .
Prior to the extensive research of Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, it was believed that the disorder was only present in young children and they often grew out of it as they got older and began to mature. However, that belief was incorrect and ADHD is a disorder that is carried into adulthood. Adults who have ADHD will seek help for disorders other than that of ADHD because they are unaware.
Another believed case of underdiagnosis and undertreatment of ADHD could be related to an individual’s cultural and ethnic backgrounds . Due to the symptoms of Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity disorder being very similar to the symptoms of another disorder such as Fetal Alcohol syndrome or problems that result from poor perinatal care, the prevalence of ADHD among different ethnic groups is unclear. African-american youth who have ADHD tend to go untreated, as well as other nonwhites. Beliefs of illness and care differ upon various ethnic groups and religions, often leaving many children to go undiagnosed or untreated. I find this the be an accurate account and very interesting. Mental illness among people of color; African-Americans, Hispanics, Indians, etc. is a very rare topic to discuss. Families that come from minority backgrounds usually don’t believe mental illness is a true and sometimes severe, disorder. Parents will often see their kids who have ADHD, and show symptoms of the disorder, as misbehaved and deserving punishment, instead of taking them to see a physiatrist for clinical help.
Although the prevalence rates of ADHD have made a dramatic increase, there are still those who disagree. My belief is that Attention Deficit- Hyperactivity disorder is overdiagnosed to young children today caused them to be mistreated. To put an end to the rising epidemic, clinicians must first, be able to accurately evaluate their young patients. Diagnosing a child with the disorder because of behavioral problems in school or at home is not always the most adequate diagnosis. The disorder needs to be further looked into over a period of time, as opposed to just a single doctor’s appointment. Secondly, finding new ways to treat a child who does have Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity disorder might decrease the risk of substance abuse in the child’s future. Changing our perspectives and treating children with apparent behavioral or mood disorders could greatly affect how we diagnose and care for our children.