Diagnosing ADHD: why is it so challenging?

An increasing number of children are being diagnosed with ADHD. But what is the basis for these diagnoses, are we seeing too many of them and what is the harm of overdiagnosis?

Toddlers are hard work. As any parent knows, they’re into everything, they have the attention span of a goldfish, the focus of a spinning disco ball, and the exploratory instincts of a spaniel puppy.

That’s all well and good when they’re toddlers, but what happens when those traits persist into early childhood, teenage years and even adulthood?

This is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD and it’s one of the most controversial diagnoses to hit the headlines in recent years, largely because it touches a raw nerve in society about how we expect children to behave, and who is to blame when they don’t.

Further complicating the issue is the fact that the most common treatment for ADHD is medication, which can be effective, though not always, and can have serious side effects.

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