How is ADHD diagnosed?
The number of children and teenagers being diagnosed with ADHD has been continuously increasing in recent years. Experts disagree on whether this is a good or a bad thing. On the one hand, it's important to take ADHD seriously. On the other, people shouldn't be diagnosed with this disorder for no good reason.
Compared to others their age, children and teenagers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are particularly inattentive, impulsive or hyperactive. This kind of behavior is quite normal up to a certain level. When diagnosing ADHD, it's important to determine when such behavior can be considered to be out of the ordinary. In order to avoid mistakenly classifying children as being ill, experts have agreed on certain criteria for diagnosing ADHD. It can be diagnosed with certainty only in children three years of age and up.
Two different sets of criteria have been developed. The diagnostic criteria developed by the World Health Organization are described in the “International Classification of Diseases (ICD).” The criteria developed by the American Psychiatric Association – the biggest psychiatric association worldwide – are described in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).” The DSM criteria aren't as strict as the ICD criteria. This means that more children are diagnosed with ADHD if the DSM criteria are used.