ADHD or brain immaturity, that is the first question we should ask ourselves before diagnosing the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
ADHD has been in the eye of the hurricane for a few years, since there are still many individuals who believe that the disease simply does not exist, others that it is simply a series of behaviors of children more active than the average (but without being able to classify it as disorder), and the most conspiranoic have even claimed to be caused by vaccines.
Be that as it may, a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics In charge of a group of Taiwanese researchers says that both: ADHD or brain immaturity? Both, because ADHD is a real disease, but depending on age, we may be overdiagnosing it.
ADHD or brain immaturity, depends on age?
At least that is the conclusion that the researchers of the Department of Psychology, Taiwan Veterans Hospital After analyzing data from 400,000 children: Younger children in the class would be more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than older children.. This is due, as scientists suggest, to teachers mistakenly comparing the behavior of younger children with their older relatives, which could lead to large differences in terms of brain maturity depending on the age we are talking about.
According to this work, children born in August were almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD as children born in the previous September, the 4.5% probability in preschoolers and primary school children born in the month of August compared to 2.8% of those born in the month of September of the previous year. In girls, the percentage would increase from 0.7% to 1.2% (almost twice as well, although in a lower percentage).
It should be noted that in Taiwan, where the study was carried out, the end of the school year begins on August 31 and not taking into account the actual year as it is done in Spain or other countries.
The diagnosis of ADHD has increased in recent years
According to the authors of the study, the diagnosis of ADHD in both children and adolescents has increased significantly in recent years worldwide, but the evidence has shown that relative age can be an important indicator of brain maturity, and if we do not take it into account we can misdiagnose a disorder when what happens is simply that there is a lack of brain maturity.
Our results emphasize the importance of considering the age of a child within a grade (year-group) in the diagnosis of ADHD and therefore in the prescription of medication to treat ADHD.
The limitations of the study comparing ADHD or brain immaturity
Finally, it should be noted that although this study may be correct in its findings, there are certain limitations To consider: Lack of key information, such as family history or environmental factors that could affect children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, among others.
Yes, the study targets the need to guarantee an adequate evaluation of ADHD, to be more rigorous when it comes to indicating medication, but this is already done today in many countries (including Spain). Before starting medical treatment, a rigorous evaluation is always carried out of the child's entire medical history, including family members and school factors, both by a pediatrician and a child psychiatrist.
Going | BBC.