Study: 20% Of Children Are Improperly Diagnosed With ADHD

Of the 6.4 million children labeled to have ADHD, 20% have been improperly diagnosed.

Credit: unique-design.net

Credit: unique-design.net

The number of kids diagnosed with ADHD has skyrocketed in recent years, with a staggering 42% increase reported between 2004 and 2011. Why the huge increase in behavioral disorders? Many theories exist, such as chemicals in the environment, processed sugar, allergenic additives, and plain old paranoia. While studies have concluded chemicals like fluoride and refined sugar to cause and/or worsen ADHD, little has been done to remedy the cause contributing to the development of behavioral disorders – except personal initiative.

As of 2011, 6.4 million youngsters have been diagnosed with ADHD. The accepted Western approach to treating this ‘disease’ is to send hyperactive children to therapy, feed them powerful mind-altering drugs, or both.

But according to a new study conducted by the CDC, 20% of children (or 1 in 5) believed to have ADHD have been improperly diagnosed. Doctors wrongly diagnosing young ones could account for the ever-increasing spike of hyper-active children and teens.


The CDC surveyed 2,976 families then examined how children received the label of ADHD. They found that for the majority of cases, doctors used the American Academy of Pediatrics’ strict diagnostic guidelines. However, the physicians failed to use these guidelines in a shockingly high number of cases. 

It was discovered that in 18% of cases, doctors relied solely on family members’ reports, a method which has proven time and again to be inconsistent with AAP recommendations. In addition, they are expected to cull information from other sources, such as a teacher, piano instructor, or coach. As the Washington Post shares, ADHD is supposed to be diagnosed with the help of a behavior rating scale, but that was not done with one out of every 10 children given the label.

Credit: learningworksforkids.com

Credit: learningworksforkids.com

In addition, the survey led CDC investigators to conclude that children are being diagnosed with ADHD at younger ages; half of the children were diagnosed at age 6 or below: 17% at age 6, 14.6% at age 5, and 16% at age 4 or young.

It is pertinent to note that while a large number of children are likely being given an incorrect diagnosis of ADHD, there may be some who legitimately suffer from some aspect of the disorder and aren’t receiving the help they need, simply because they aren’t acting out as much as others.

The fact that children are being diagnosed with ADHD at such a young age indicates to Thomas Brown, a psychologist at Yale University, that the data is “loaded in the direction of hyperactive kids.” Children who are “quiet and spacey tend to be missed at that age,” he says.

Children – when healthy and full of life – are joyous, excited, difficult-to-catch little buggers. The current school system does not take into account the necessity for children to be constantly exploring and, oftentimes, moving! Instead, at a time in one’s life when they should be infatuated with the idea of running around and exhausting bursts of energy, they are expected to sit still in school and learn subjects that inspire little to no creativity.

The Green School in Bali understands that there is more to a conducive school environment than the curriculum and that every unique child and teenager needs to be respected and given the opportunity to thrive as nature intends. 

While of course refined sugar and fluoride in the water are likely contributing to hyperactivity in children, other factors need to be taken into account and weighed when diagnosing young ones with any behavioral disorder.

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