Broader ADHD definitions may have spurred unnecessary treatments

11/5/2013 | Reuters · Google

The widening of the diagnostic criteria for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder has contributed to a significant increase in diagnoses as well as unnecessary use of stimulant drugs, according to an Australian study published in the British Medical Journal. Despite the recommendation to restrict use of Ritalin and other ADHD drugs to just severe cases, which equates to approximately 14% of U.S. children with the condition, the study showed that about 87% of those diagnosed with ADHD in 2010 received such medications. The broadened classification of ADHD symptoms "devalues the diagnosis in those with serious problems," said senior researcher Rae Thomas.

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