Nearly 1 million children in the United States are potentially misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder simply because they are the youngest -- and most immature -- in their kindergarten class, according to new research by a Michigan State University economist.
These children are significantly more likely than their older classmates to be prescribed behavior-modifying stimulants such as Ritalin, said Todd Elder, whose study will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Health Economics.
Such inappropriate treatment is particularly worrisome because of the unknown impacts of long-term stimulant use on children's health, Elder said. It also wastes an estimated $320 million-$500 million a year on unnecessary medication -- some $80 million-$90 million of it paid by Medicaid, he said.
Elder said the "smoking gun" of the study is that ADHD diagnoses depend on a child's age relative to classmates and the teacher's perceptions of whether the child has symptoms.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is on the rise, with nearly one in 10 American children receiving an ADHD diagnosis, according to a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"ADHD continues to increase, and that has implications for educational and health care because kids with ADHD disproportionately use more services, and there are several co-morbid conditions that go along with it," Dr. Lara J. Akinbami, lead author of the study, told ABCNews.com.
Confirm Your Child’s Diagnosis and ADHD Medication Effectiveness at Portrait Health Centers With Continuous Performance Testing
What is “Continuous Performance Testing” (CPT)?
Specialized computer testing programs are now available to assess attention, concentration, and impulsivity. Research strongly supports the diagnostic ability of these programs that use sight and sound to check how a child responds to a variety of challenges. Following each 30-minute test, a preliminary score is generated, determining the presence and severity of inattentiveness and impulsivity. Researchers now say that, without CPT, ADHD-treatment is not up-to-date. There are a few different CPT programs, and Portrait Health Centers uses the program with the most research behind it.
Why use CPT?
When ADHD-like symptoms are present, the use of CPT is a quick, non-invasive, effective, and reliable way to establish a
“baseline”. CPT can then be used to test medications for effectiveness. Since there is no “practice effect,” and patients can do CPT several times, the impact of different dosages and medications can be measured. This means that you no longer need to wonder if a prescribed drug is appropriate and effective. Upon completion of a CPT test, results are immediately analyzed and a complete interpretation and graphical report is provided to you and explained through a personal consultation. With your consent, CPT reports are shared with the prescribing physician.
When the Treatment Path is Idenitifed
The side effects of ADHD medications are well documented, but can be effectively managed by working with the team of specialists at The Portrait Health Centers. Studies have shown that patients treated for ADHD benefit most from a combination of therapies, including nutritional and psychological counseling. Also, throughout the course of treatment, CPT can be periodically administered to monitor your child’s progress to provide you and your doctor with reassurance,
or as necessary, to identify the need for adjustments in therapies. Since dosages are likely to change your child grows, this kind of continual assessment is critical.
Portrait Health Centers, the industry leader in the treatment of learning disorders for children and adults, shares tips, news, and advice about the treatment, diagnosis, and therapy options for people struggling with Attention Deficit (ADHD) and other learning disorders.