ADD/ADHD: Personality Type or Neurological Disorder? A refutation on the misdiagnosis of ADD/ADHD

Essay by Auttong6University, Bachelor'sA, April 2004

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In the last 30 years, the diagnosis and treatment of ADD/ADHD has become a national debate, with many critics questioning the validity, diagnosis and treatment methods of the disorder. In 2000, Larry S. Goldman, M.D., and colleagues from the Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that reviewed data from 1975 through March 1997 from the National Library of Medicine's database, looking for trends in the diagnosis of ADHD. They concluded that there was little evidence of over diagnosis of ADD/ADHD, over prescription of methylphenidate, or stimulant abuse. Although their data contained twenty years of information, the study is not entirely convincing because it fails to test college students and adults. With a wider test sample, their study would be more accurate and more appropriate, especially with the increasing number of adults being diagnosed with ADHD.

In addition, their study was based on "all English-language studies dealing with children of elementary school through high school-age," however, Goldman does not state the number of test or information pertaining to their economic, social or living environment--all in which could play a significant role in their health and mental state. Finally, the authors fail to backup their claims with statistics or strong arguments, suggesting to the reader that their study is inaccurate because they apparently ignored the shocking statistics.

By the mid-1970s, Ritalin had become the most prescribed drug for what was eventually termed, in 1987, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Today, Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD/ADHD, is a psychological term applied to anyone who meets the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for impulsivity, hyperactivity and/or inattention. The key elements in diagnosis include a thorough history covering the presenting symptoms, differential diagnosis, possible co-morbid conditions, as well as medical, developmental, school,