Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ADHD Evals for Preschoolers: New Guidelines Stir Overdiagnosis Fears

The American Academy of Pediatrics expanded its guidelines regarding attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder this weekend, recommending that pediatricians start evaluations as early as preschool and continue them through high school

Previous guidelines, developed more than a decade ago, targeted kids between the ages of 6 and 12, but mounting evidence suggests that it's possible to diagnose and treat the disorder starting at age 4 and as late as age 18, according to a report on ADHD released Sunday.

The verifiable explosion of ADHD diagnoses in the past decade has fanned fears over the potential to overdiagnosis it. According to the Academy of Pediatrics, anywhere from 4 to 12 percent of school-age kids are diagnosed with ADHD, and in many cases, are prescribed stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall as the first-line approach to treatment.

Broadening the age group for evaluation fans fears that ADHD coud be overdiagnosed and kids overmedicated.

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