ADHD overdiagnosed in children?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be over-diagnosed, new research has suggested. Published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, the findings are likely to lend more backing to a notion that has long been suspected by many.

According to investigators from Ruhr-Universitat Bochum (RUB) and the University of Basel - home to more than 300 professors - both child and adult psychiatrists and psychotherapists often fail to adhere to recognised criteria when considering the condition, choosing instead to stick to unclear rules of thumb.

It was also demonstrated that boys are more regularly misdiagnosed than their female counterparts in this regard.

RUB Professors Silvia Schneider and Jurgen Margraf noted: "In spite of the strong public interest, only very few empirical studies have addressed this issue."

The duo explained current research has done little to properly delve into misdiagnoses of the condition, adding therapists should adhere to defined and established guidance rather than relying on intuition.

Paul Mawer, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "I feel that a diagnosis of ADHD should only be made if school parents and the professionals all agree on the child's behaviour.

"A variety of behavioural techniques should be used over a period of time before any diagnosis is made. If medication is prescribed a double blind method should be used to ensure that it is being effective and not serving to alter people's perceptions of the child's behaviour.

"Questionnaires used to help diagnose ADHD should also be examined to see if they can be improved in anyway."