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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.


(113 Posts)
Hopandaskip Sun 01-Apr-12 17:03:24

AIBU to think that if up to 16% of kids in one US state are diagnosed with ADHD that ADHD isn't a syndrome, it is normal?

It seems crazy to me the number of children who are being medicated with mind altering drugs. Up to 10% of school age boys in the U.S?

ABatInBunkFive Sun 01-Apr-12 17:06:32

No normal would be the majority have it. Never has 16% been a majority.

AgentZigzag Sun 01-Apr-12 17:06:56

If anything I thought it was an underdiagnosed syndrome?

Got any research to back up your claims?

MagsAloof Sun 01-Apr-12 17:07:09

It is a very tricky area. Yes, ADHD very definitely exists. Yes, it is often inaccurately.

I would urge anyone without expertise not to make big pronouncements.

catgirl1976 Sun 01-Apr-12 17:07:14

I agree with you that it seems that things like ADHD are over diagnosed, however I don't have any direct experience of the issue so am not qualified to think that, its just a feeling and my opinion and I don't want to minimise the issue.

I think you might get a flaming on here though.

MagsAloof Sun 01-Apr-12 17:07:20

Often USED

AgentZigzag Sun 01-Apr-12 17:08:03

And I mean peer reviewed journal research rather than the Daily Mail.

catgirl1976 Sun 01-Apr-12 17:14:03

There does seem to be a fair bit, going off a quick google and skim read


Although the first page of stories all relate to the same study done very recently and without reading it, it would be hard to assess how robust it was

amothersplaceisinthewrong Sun 01-Apr-12 17:16:51

My son had/has ADHD and it was my experience that medication (Ritalin in hsi case) was offered only when all other avenues had been exhausted and by a psychaitrist and quite reluctantly at that. But wow it works! GPs can't prescribe Ritalin over here. Believe you me if you have a child with ADHD, thye can push you to the absolute limit - their behaviour is NOT normal. Thins are not made any easier by the fact that many people think the child is just badly behaved and badly brought up.

MrsKittyFane Sun 01-Apr-12 17:17:20

Abat Approx 1 in 6. Not a majority but a significant minority.

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 01-Apr-12 17:18:35

I see what the OP is saying. I have blonde hair. Perfectly normal but only a small % of people have blonde hair. I know very little about ADHD but have work with young offenders, lots of whom had a diagnosis. From what I saw a lot of them benefited from small class sizes, different styles of learning, better nutrition, massive amounts of exercise and so on. Very few were medicated.

I live in North America and the answer to everything is meds. Can't sleep, meds. Feel sad, meds. Can't self-motivate, meds. Possibly seeing ADHD as a normal fluctuation in behavior would help people to manage it rather than to medicate it solely.

ABatInBunkFive Sun 01-Apr-12 17:21:01

MrsKitty - Still not normal though.

ABatInBunkFive Sun 01-Apr-12 17:22:16

MrsTerry - x posts re the normal.

catsareevil Sun 01-Apr-12 17:30:48

The DSM criteria for ADHD include the condition that the symptoms have "persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level"

The need for symptoms to be inappropriate for the developmental level should mean that if it is being diagnosed correctly then it shouldnt be regarded as 'normal'.

The US does use psychotropic medication much more than the UK.

Just as an example this study from 2008 states that in Texas 34.7% of children in foster care were prescribed psychotropic medication.

jemsgem Sun 01-Apr-12 17:35:50

there have been a few studies that say that its over diagnosed.

i suppose its easy to fling a label around, saves having to sort out the real causes

MrsKittyFane Sun 01-Apr-12 17:37:50

Abat Not normal??

ABatInBunkFive Sun 01-Apr-12 17:38:16

God yeah cos i diagnosis is sooooo easy to get. hmm

MrsKittyFane Sun 01-Apr-12 17:38:48

Depends how you define 'normal'.

nenevomito Sun 01-Apr-12 17:39:37

I don't know how it works in the US, but certainly in the UK its not easy to get an ADHD diagnosis (note, not label, diagnosis) and medication is only used as a last resort.

ABatInBunkFive Sun 01-Apr-12 17:40:18

OP said it was normal, i don't think one in six is normal but Mrsterryprachett explained why it could have been said.

molepom Sun 01-Apr-12 18:31:07

Here here amotherplaceisinthewrong.

cronsilksilt Sun 01-Apr-12 19:12:37

In the UK getting a dx of ADHD certainly isn't easy.
When Louis Theroux did his documentary about medicating children with ADHD in America, his views shifted after spending time with the children and their families from being very negative about meds, to not being able to dismiss their value.
I really hope that this thread doesn't upset anybody. It is very challenging to parent a child with ADHD.

Lougle Sun 01-Apr-12 19:26:34

Why? Just.....Why?

What makes children with SN such an easy pop? A bored Sunday afternoon....Oh well, let's talk about the fake 'ADHD'.

DD1 is 6.5. She has been under a consultant Paed for 3 years. She is still no closer to a proper diagnosis, yet her difficulties are pronounced enough that she goes to Special School.

At her Paed appointments:

-we have to lock the door of the consultation room to stop her escaping
-she tries to force her way into the Paed's drawers (he has paperclips there)
-she climbs up on his couch and overextends herself to try and get his otoscope down (despite having poor balance).
-she has climbed up to try and get out of a window.
-she repeatedly turns the taps on full blast
-she tries to get copious amounts of soap from the dispenser
-she takes his stethescope, examination light, telephone, etc.
-she pulls his handgel bottle to try and get some - it's attached to his belt!

The list goes on.

She doesn't have an ADHD diagnosis. The Paed feels that some of her behaviours may be explained by her cognitive level, so she doesn't get diagnosis.

It is incredibly hard. She is a delight, but her behaviours and frustrations at home make it unsafe when I'm home alone with her and her siblings, so Social Services provide support on 2 evenings each week (we have Homestart on 1 evening and DD1 attends Kids Club 2 evenings).

If you are interested in ADHD, volunteer with children who 'have' it. Don't just make a kneejerk assumption that it's an easy card to play.

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 01-Apr-12 19:35:55

I know that people who have kids with these type of needs feel that everyone is having a go. I don't think saying that it is quite common and that it seems to be part of the 'normal' range of behaviours is being mean. It may be quite common and we can argue about normality but that doesn't mean that anyone on this thread thinks it's easy. Far from it. I spent a few hours a week with the young people I worked with and it was fucking hard work. And, I could go home.

RaspberrySheep Sun 01-Apr-12 19:51:31

My son has ADHD, he is 9 yrs but I count ourselves as 'lucky' as he was diagnosed at 5 after just a couple of weeks in school. It's not easy, he also has Dyspraxia. He is medicated and with a controlled drug, which is locked away in the pharmacy until I collect it. I have to sign for it and declare who I am when I pick it up. He also has to have checks once every six months to check that the medication isn't affecting his height and weight. There is something very difficult about giving your child medication that is treated with such caution.

But what is the alternative? Without the medication, people make judgements and can not see past the 'crazy' behaviour. The school say that without his medication, it's like 'flicking a switch'. We find the medication keeps my son calm enough to allow his wonderful personality shine through.

We are so dependant on it now, which is a worry. If we spend time together for the day, I don't medicate him (as a one off) however I don't let him play out with friends or socialise without his medication and it's hard to accept that my child has to take a pill in order for his behaviour to be acceptable. I just want him to be the same as everybody else. I'm worried that when he gets older he will forget to take his tablet and of the repercussions this may have on him and others around him.

I am a single mum and he has never needed much sleep (awake at 4:45am and will not sleep until 10pm) and the excercise he takes is relentless!! I know I have it easy compared to other parent with SN children and above everything that I have rambled on about above, I love him so much and totally unconditionally. I just want the best for him but I understand that social stigma and a little ignorance about the condition means that for now, we wil continue to medicate him and hope that the long term effects on his health, if any, can be overcome.

So sorry for such a long post and thank you to the OP for getting a discussion going on ADHD, I will read this thread with interest.

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