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ADHD: Diagnosing and Medicating Children

The Anastopoulo Law Firm

Most children struggle at some point or another with following directions, sitting still, or paying attention to what their parents or teachers are trying to tell them. When do these behaviors cross the line from being a normal part of child development to being the indicator of a serious medical disorder? There is fierce debate over the diagnosis and treatment of children who have been classified as having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and accusations of medical malpractice have caused divisions within the medical community itself over the issue. Where some claim doctors are actually harming children and their parents by over diagnosing and over-medicating healthy children, others claim medical providers are only doing what is necessary to treat a common childhood illness.

Are Children Being Over Diagnosed?

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states ADHD is one of the most common types of childhood disorders, and the number of children diagnosed with the condition continues to increase each year. According to the latest statistics, it is estimated that over 11 percent of children aged four to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD in the United States, an increase of nearly five percent per year since 2006. While some claim this increase is due to increased efforts at outreach and treatment and that there are more cases of ADHD just waiting to be discovered in children, others in the medical community claim that ADHD is vastly over diagnosed. According to a report in Psychiatry Advisor, an information journal for psychiatric healthcare professionals, some doctors feels the increases in reported cases of ADHD have occurred due to the following:

  • Pressure from society to label these children as having a medical disorder
  • Lack of proper evaluation techniques in diagnosing ADHD
  • Increases in the demands made on children through schools and their families

Potential Problems with ADHD Medications

The CDC reports on treatment for ADHD state that behavioral modification is often used, in addition to stimulant and non-stimulant based medications, including Ritalin, Dexedrine, Strattera, and Vyvanse. Amidst concerns that ADHD is being over diagnosed, there are also concerns that children are being over-medicated and suffering dangerous side effects as the result. According to studies conducted by the National Institute of Health, side effects of the medications used to treat ADHD may include symptoms ranging from sleeplessness and loss of appetite to stunted growth and cardiovascular problems. A March 2016 report in Medical News Today on ADHD medication side effects asserts new studies indicate these medicines may also impact bone development in children, leading to low bone density that could create problems later in life.

Contact Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you suspect your child has been misdiagnosed, over medicated, or has suffered adverse effects as the result of ADHD medication, contact our experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorney today. At Anastopoulo Law Firm we provide professional, compassionate legal representation and can advise you on the best course of action in your particular case. Your child’s health and well-being is of the utmost important. With offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, we can help; call or contact us online today for a free consultation.

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