Is ADHD being over-diagnosed?
ADHD People Are Everywhere
I know that if you haven’t thought that ADHD is popping up everywhere, you have a friend or loved one who thinks so.
It seems as if suddenly everywhere you look, another friend, loved one, colleague or relative is being diagnosed with ADHD.
What is going on? Are doctors over-diagnosing ADHD? Are people exaggerating their symptoms to “be cool” by being neurodiverse? Is there something in the water making us all turn into ADHDers?
While it feels like it’s a huge explosion of ADHDers, really the answers are much more rational.
An ADHD Generational Discovery
One of the things that has been happening for the last ten years or so is that parents, after having a child diagnosed with ADHD, discovers that they also have ADHD.
This is very, very common. A parent notices that their child who has ADHD acts in some ways “Just like I did when I was young…..” And then a lightbulb goes on.
Suddenly, the parents are seeking diagnosing and services for themselves, making it appear that the number of people with ADHD has grown drastically. In reality, it’s more often that more people are being diagnosed later in life than ever before. The ADHD people have always been everywhere – we just didn’t always know who we were!
People are More Aware of ADHD
It was not that long ago that ADHD was believed to be a myth, or an excuse people used to get away with “being lazy.” First people were often labeled as defiant or slower than their peers.
When ADHD did finally become recognizable it was primarily only studied in boys. The criteria for ADHD was much different than it is today. Girls were often misdiagnosed if they didn’t show the same traditional hyperactive pieces that had become known hallmarks of ADHD.
Nowadays, people are much more likely to be aware. Parents, teachers, child care providers – as well as doctors, therapists, and coaches, have much more information about ADHD and the large variety of symptoms that can come with it. The words neurodiverse or neurodivergent seem to finally be regularly discussed.
Schools and workplaces are starting to offer more accommodations and neurodiverse options. DEI trainings are beginning to include the neurodivergent among us. All of this is leading to more diagnoses, but not necessarily more “people with ADHD.”
These are just two of the bigger reasons why it appears as if ADHD is the “popular diagnosis” of the day. More awareness equals more diagnosing.
Please reach out if you need support.
If you have been diagnosed later in life, and need help to learn to thrive, please consider reaching out to me. Finding out later in life adds a lot of extra layers of feelings of sadness, anger, resentment, and grief. As an ADHD Coach, I can help you process those feelings, blast away shame and guilt, create strategies that work for you, and help you on your path to thriving with ADHD.
Check back in September and I will share some information about getting diagnosed as an adult. I’ll share what to look for in providers, how to track your symptoms and more. I hope you come back to check it out then.