The Epidemic of ADHD Overdiagnosis

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In 2011, the United States saw the largest number of children diagnosed with ADHD. More than 11% of children at that time had an ADHD diagnosis. Thirty years prior, the rate was between 3% and 5%. So why the massive increase? Is it because we know more now about ADHD and can diagnosis it more properly? Has something happened in our genetics that has caused more children to develop ADHD? Or is something else going on here? We’ve identified three big factors that we believe contribute to this huge jump in ADHD cases among our children.


This is the simplest and the most obvious answer. Most people today are very accepting of the fact that overdiagnosis of ADHD is a very real thing, and for good reason. Many parents have shared with us that their child was struggling to focus, acting out, or struggling with their schoolwork, to then be diagnosed with ADHD. In some cases, this diagnosis is reasonable. But sometimes, there are other contributing factors that may bring about these issues in students. Perhaps the child is younger than his classmates and his immaturity appears to be more prevalent. Maybe he has an undetected vision problem that is causing him to struggle to read or focus on work. It’s also possible that he simply hasn’t learned how to be still and respectful and focused because he never had to be before attending school. Many doctors, parents, and teachers are searching for answers to these issues. Unfortunately, many people are quick to grab medication to provide a quick fix rather than delving deeper to explore other possible causes of the problem.

Poor Diet

Have you ever eaten something unhealthy and felt the repercussions shortly after? Maybe you’re lethargic or have a headache or just can’t stay focused. Kid experience the same thing, except they can’t always pinpoint the cause as well as we can. Maybe the sugary cereal at breakfast is causing your child to fidget at school each morning. Or perhaps the excess of dairy at lunchtime brings about moodiness and lethargy in the afternoons. Our diets can power us with healthy nutrients to do and be our best, or they can deter our body from functioning well and wreak havoc on our various bodily systems. If your child is struggling with focus, movement, behavior, sleep, or more, whether he has received an ADHD diagnosis or not, take some time to look at his diet to see if that may be playing a role.

Increased Demands

We are asking more of our kids than ever before. Have you ever heard someone say that kindergarten is the new first grade? It’s absolutely true. Kids in kindergarten are expected to read, add, write, and more. Kids even 20 to 30 years ago went to kindergarten to learn social skills and give their parents a break. With those educational demands and then the added pressure of participation in sports, church activities, and after-school clubs, and our kids have a lot of responsibilities, which may simply be too much for their little minds and bodies to handle. When kids are overwhelmed, exhausted, or worried, they can’t express that quite like an adult can. Instead, they show you those feelings by acting out, misbehaving, and so on.

Perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at the process of diagnosis ADHD. We owe it to ourselves and our children to further explore alternative methods of behavior modification than slapping a diagnosis on it and prescribing a pill. If you’re nodding your head in agreement and want to learn more about how to naturally improve ADHD, contact Dr. Grant Lisetor today. He and his team at Greater Life Chiropractic in Charlotte will teach you all about how the central nervous system is the key to your overall health, for both musculoskeletal issues and other concerns, such as ADHD.


Hodgson, N., B.App.Sc & Vaden, C., DC. (April 17, 2014). Improvement in Signs and Symptoms of ADHD and Functional Outcomes in Four Children Receiving Torque Release Chiropractic: A Case Series. Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, 55-79.

“Nearly 1 million children potentially misdiagnosed with ADHD.” 2010 Aug.

Newmark, S. “A True ADHD Epidemic or an Epidemic of Overdiagnosis?” 2015 Jul.


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