Researchers have discovered that only 3% of children of those same ages in Britain are diagnosed with ADHD. That's a significant difference in ADHD rates between the U.S. and Britain. We wonder what causes this significant difference between American and British kids. Some researchers believe the difference is more likely the result of wrong diagnoses of ADHD.
A recent publication in the Journal of Health Economics revealed another troubling pattern in ADHD diagnoses. A study compared the youngest kindergartners to other kindergartners who were only 11 months older. The younger children were 40% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than the kindergartners who were just slightly older. And what is worse, the younger children were twice as likely to be put on drugs.
If ADHD diagnoses were accurate, we would expect equal proportions of the two groups of kindergartners (who really were only a few months different in age) to be diagnosed with ADHD. The difference in rates of ADHD suggests that doctors are labeling children as having ADHD simply because, being younger, they displayed more immature behaviors. Instead of labeling many normal children as having disorders, and putting them on medications, we should acknowledge what mothers have always known: children are often overactive, especially boys, and will eventually learn how to behave.
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