DSM ADHD Misdiagnosis
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is diagnosed mainly
through a DSM-IV or ICD-10 checklist. If other tests are carried out,
these two are the base for assessments.
The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 4th revision) and the
World Health Organization’s ICD-10 criteria are both descriptions of
observable behavior. What makes a behavior a deficit and not a talent is
the context, situation or cultural environment.
There are over 100 causes for ADD-ADHD like behavior. This implies that a person showing signs of ADD or ADHD symptoms does not necessarily have the same problem as the next person with similar symptoms.
Officially, according to the DSM-IV there is one disorder AD/HD with
three subtypes. This continues in spite of the fact that there are so
many causes. How many people who get diagnosed as ADHD have been through
a checklist of other possible reasons for the symptoms?
This is possibly the most misdiagnosed condition today. The idea of
one disorder with one treatment (medication) prevents a deeper
understanding of the problem.
A child with convergence insufficiency, an eyesight defect characterized by an inability to focus, can be misdiagnosed as having ADHD. Putting that child on stimulant medication does nothing for the treatable eyesight condition.
A person allergic to certain food dyes suffers attention deficit.
This is not ADHD, but it fulfils the diagnosis criteria for ADHD. This
is where the debate over food dyes and ADHD gets bogged down. The
behavior resulting from the allergy is typical ADHD, but even
researchers have been unable to give clear answers, being stuck in the
The majority of people with ADD-ADHD have a least one and sometimes
more than one additional psychiatric disorder including anxiety and
depression. These coexisting conditions can result in similar behavior
as described for ADHD. How much of the ADD-ADHD behavior is from AD/HD
and how much is from the other condition? There is no test to answer
We need to look at the ADHD theories and the causes of ADHD to avoid misdiagnoses and find the solution for each individual. There is no one-cure-for-all ADHD solution.