This is the fifth installment in a series on understanding Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Diagnosing ADHD – it’s harder than you think.
Currently there is no diagnostic test for ADHD. Diagnosis requires a clinical interview, parent and teacher ratings for children, and self and other ratings for adults. In addition, it is estimated that two-thirds of children diagnosed with ADHD have additional learning disorders or other mental health or neurodevelopmental conditions. This makes it all the more important that the diagnosis is made in a multi-disciplinary environment, where the child or adult is assessed by a medical doctor, counsellor, clinical psychologist and if necessary by a psychiatrist. This is important because problems with attention can be triggered by many other conditions; in particular, adults may have attention issues along with other disorders such as depression.
….and there’s more…
Other factors have been found to affect diagnosis of ADHD. For example, the youngest children in a class are much more likely to be diagnosed as having ADHD compared to their older counterparts in the same year. This is because these children may behave more hyperactively, not because they have ADHD, but because they are younger and developmentally behind their classmates. In fact, it is estimated that about 20% of children given a diagnosis of ADHD are misdiagnosed because of the month they were born with children born in December (the youngest in class) 39% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than those born in January (the oldest in class).
Journal reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22392937