Hidden dangers of failure to diagnose ADHD correctly
- 01 April 2006
IT SOUNDS like a mad idea, but it works. Take children who are unruly and unable to focus on their schoolwork, and give them amphetamine-like stimulants. Far from making them bounce off the walls, the drugs can turn little terrors into attentive students.
However, the idea of prescribing drugs related to addictive illegal stimulants has always caused concern - all the more so given the escalation in diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the condition the drugs are supposed to treat. Now reports are coming in of serious adverse reactions, including hallucinations and, in rare suspected cases, sudden death from cardiovascular problems (see "Hyperactivity drugs are out of control").
For the benefit of concerned parents, it is important to put the risks and benefits into context. ADHD is a socially and educationally debilitating condition, and places children at higher risk of serious accidents.
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