Youngest Children in the Classroom Are More Likely To Be Diagnosed With ADHD

by Dr. Joseph Mercola

A commentary in Psychology Today reports that, when it comes to being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), not only are the youngest in the bunch most likely to be labeled ADHD but that “it appears that teachers are mistaking the immaturity of the youngest children in their class for ADHD.”

According to the commenter, there are no biological markers that can be used to diagnose ADHD, even though many publications and health officials misleadingly suggest it. To make matters worse, the National Institute of Mental Health fails to mention that the “differences” between “normal” and ADHD kids is miniscule and “cannot be used in a doctor’s office to determine if a child should be diagnosed with ADHD.”

When you add the fact that most people, young or older, are immediately prescribed ADHD drugs once they’re diagnosed, this news is disconcerting, to say the least. Children aside, the number of adults who have been prescribed medication to treat the disorder has increased dramatically in the past few years — to the tune of an increase by nearly 700 percent in women between the ages of 25 and 29!

In very young children (2 to 5 years), behavior therapy is the first-line treatment recommended for ADHD, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, but data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that about half of preschoolers with ADHD were taking medication, and 1 in 4 were being treated only with medication.

The startling facts, though, are that while many people, parents included, often assume that medicating kids with ADHD will make their symptoms disappear and their grades improve, this isn’t necessarily the case. In a study that analyzed the effects of drug versus behavioral treatment on homework performance in children with ADHD, the drug treatment led to no significant improvements in homework completion or accuracy compared to placebo.

The behavioral therapy, however, led to children finishing up to 13 percent more homework problems and increased accuracy by 8 percent. What can you do, then, if someone suggests that your child may have ADHD? Considering the risks of ADHD drugs, and their lackluster performance in improving symptoms, there’s good reason to look outside of the pharmaceutical box when it comes to ADHD treatment.

Behavioral therapy, as mentioned, is a good start, but there are many other natural options to add to your arsenal as well, like vetiver oil (vetiver is a type of Indian grass). In one study, when children inhaled the oil three times a day for 30 days they had improved brain wave patterns and behavior and did better in school.

Eighty percent of the children also improved when using cedarwood essential oil similarly. Also, if your child is struggling with ADHD or ADHD-like symptoms, I recommend consulting with a holistic physician who is experienced in treating ADHD using natural methods. You’ll want to be sure, however, that your child is getting regular physical activity on a daily basis.