Thursday, April 4, 2013

ADHD dianoses skyrocket - are children being inappropriately diagnosed? Vision problems can cause the same symptoms.

Vancouver optometrist finds that ADHD is sometimes really a vision problem
It is shocking that 11% of children have received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  This sharp rise in ADHD diagnoses over the last decade is cause many to worry about inappropriate diagnosis and the unnecessary overmedication of children.

Even more troubling, we can expect over-treatment to increase in the near future because, according to the New York Times:

the American Psychiatric Association plans to change the definition of A.D.H.D. to allow more people to receive the diagnosis and treatment. A.D.H.D. is described by most experts as resulting from abnormal chemical levels in the brain that impair a person’s impulse control and attention skills.
There are many reasons for the increase.  Experts believe that some doctors are quick to jump to the conclusion that a child has ADHD when they present with any indication of inattention.  Another factor may be advertising by the pharmaceutical industry that presents medication as something that can drastically improve a child's life.  Some people blame the parents for pressuring doctors into doing something to improve a child's academic performance.

ADHD medications such as Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta and Vyvanse can be dangerous.  Some children who are put on the drugs will end up with abuse and dependency problems.  Moreover, some studies suggest that 30% of the pills go to friends who take them without any medical advice.

One reason for the rise in ADHD diagnoses may be that doctors are simply not thorough enough in ruling out other treatable disorders that cause similar symptoms.  Numerous studies have shown that people with eye movement disorders such as convergence insufficiency have the same symptoms as ADHD and that vision therapy treatment of the eye disorder results in a reduction or elimination of symptoms.  Studies have proven that vision therapy is the best treatment for convergence insufficiency.

Here are some articles on the connection between convergence insufficiency and ADHD:

Related Articles:

Convergence insufficiency symptoms - doctors need to pay attention to performance related symptoms such as reading performance, attention and ADHD-like symptoms

New research on the connection between convergence insufficiency and ADHD

Is your child smart in everything but school?

Vision therapy for attention skills greatly improves reading performance