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Consent to treatment: All you need to know

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A person’s voluntary agreement to receive medical care, treatment, or services is referred to as consent to treatment.

A healthcare provider must provide enough treatment information and options for the patient to make an informed decision. People have the freedom to refuse treatment and information if they do not want it. They have the right to revoke their consent at any moment.

Continue reading to learn more about treatment consent, when it’s appropriate, and how it affects children, people, and those on life support.

Definition

consent to treatment

The agreement that an individual makes to receive medical treatment, care, or services, including tests and examinations, is known as consent to treatment. Anyone who has the ability to decide whether or not they want treatment must give their consent.

Consent is only legitimate if it is freely given and informed, and it comes from a person who is capable of doing so. The term “voluntary consent” refers to a person’s decision to consent to treatment. Healthcare professionals, friends, and family members are unable to sway or persuade the individual to make a decision.

In order to obtain informed consent, the healthcare provider must disclose information about the therapy, including the benefits and hazards, as well as alternate treatment options. They must also inform the individual of the consequences of refusing the suggested treatment.

An individual must be able to comprehend the information presented and use it to make an informed decision about whether or not to agree to treatment.

Healthcare providers have an ethical and legal obligation to provide information about various treatment alternatives in order to assist people in making an informed decision. This contains the risks, potential consequences, and, if applicable, alternative solutions. Information might be given orally or in writing by healthcare providers. They might also contain audio or video content.

Individuals have the right to request information prior to receiving any medical treatment. It is up to them to ask questions and make sure they comprehend the material. They can also request treatment options not recommended by their doctor.

People have the right to refuse some or all of the therapeutic alternatives available to them. Healthcare providers must respect an individual’s decision to consent to or refuse treatment, even if it may result in their death or the death of their unborn child.

After giving consent, a person has the right to change their mind and withdraw consent at any time, even if the treatment has already begun.

Exceptions

In some situations, healthcare providers can offer treatment to people who are unable to consent to treatment and do not have a durable power of attorney in place (LPA). They may do so if they believe the treatment is in the person’s best interests. When possible, the healthcare staff will consult with the individual’s family or friends about treatment alternatives.

People who are aware that their ability to consent will deteriorate in the future, such as as a result of a degenerative health condition or a learning disability, may choose to establish a living will. This is a legal document that spells out the surgeries and treatments a person will not accept.

Individuals can create a Living Will, which gives someone else the legal authority to make medical choices on their behalf. People can still choose which therapies they do not want.

How to give consent

Consent to treatment can be given in writing, or verbally or nonverbally by a competent person.

Written consent entails filling out and signing a consent form, which serves as a legal document authorizing the doctor to proceed with the treatment. Consent forms ensure that doctors deliver accurate information about a patient’s medical condition and treatment options, and that the patient chooses the best option for them.

Nodding the head, extending the arm for a blood test, or opening the mouth during a dental exam are examples of nonverbal assent, also known as implied or implicit agreement. Verbal consent is sometimes referred to as explicit consent by doctors.

For consent to be legitimate, it must be given willingly and voluntarily. They must also be aware of the recommended treatment and comprehend why it is required. Other people are not permitted to encourage or coerce a person to accept or refuse treatment.

Children and people

Children under the age of 16 can consent to treatment on their own if healthcare providers determine that they have Gillick competence, which is defined as the intelligence and capacity to fully comprehend the treatment. Individuals who do not have this ability must obtain parental consent.

In the majority of circumstances, young people aged 16 or 17 have the capacity to consent to treatment without the involvement of a parent or guardian.

A court or a person with parental authority can overrule a young person’s or child’s decision to refuse medical treatment if doing so will result in death or a severe permanent damage.

Life support

If supportive treatments like lung ventilation are keeping a person alive but they did not specify which treatments they would refuse, the healthcare team must speak with the individual’s family and friends.

Together, they must decide on the continuation or cessation of treatment. They must base their decision on the individual’s best interests. They can think about the person’s chances of recovery and quality of life if they stay on treatment. If everyone believes that stopping treatment is in the best interests of the individual, they can do so.

When is consent not required?

Although unusual, healthcare practitioners do not require consent to treatment from someone who is unable to make their own decisions.

When a person is unconscious, circumstances may exist that do not require consent for treatment. Medical experts can only offer the therapies that are required to keep a person alive and safe in certain situations. When feasible, healthcare providers should consult with the individual’s family or friends before making any decisions.

People who lack the mental capacity to understand the treatment options are unable to consent to treatment. In these situations, the healthcare team must make judgments that are in the best interests of the patient.

Conclusion

Treatment consent is an important and vital component of medical treatment.

It means that before receiving any form of treatment, a person must provide their consent. This includes surgeries, diagnostics, and drugs, among other things. People must thoroughly comprehend what they are consenting to and, if required, raise questions.

Healthcare practitioners have a legal and ethical obligation to inform patients about treatment options and possible outcomes.

A patient must be capable of making a free and informed decision about treatment consent. At any point, they have the right to refuse treatment, request an alternate treatment, or withdraw consent.

Sources

  • https://www.aomrc.org.uk/statements/academy-statement-gillick-competency/
  • https://www.birthrights.org.uk/factsheets/consenting-to-treatment/
  • https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/consent-to-treatment/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/what-is-consent
  • https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/planning-managing/informed-consent.html
  • https://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/rp_poc1b_100476_20110331_v1_00_sn_consent_updated_for_publication.pdf

Drugs

Apriso side effects: What you need to know

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Here are a few quick facts about Apriso:

  • Drug form: extended-release oral capsules that are taken by mouth
  • Drug class: aminosalicylates
  • Active ingredient: mesalamine

Apriso, like all medications, has the potential to cause negative effects. Continue reading to learn about the potential for common, mild, and severe adverse effects.

Overview

doctor and patient

Apriso is a prescription medicine with a brand name. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given it approval to keep ulcerative colitis (UC) in adults in remission.

Swelling or ulcers in the large intestine are symptoms of UC. You don’t have any UC symptoms when you’re in remission. If Apriso helps your UC, your doctor will probably recommend that you continue taking it indefinitely.

Side effects of Apriso

Apriso can cause a variety of adverse effects, with some being more prevalent than others. These negative effects may only last a few days or weeks. However, if the adverse effects persist, disturb you, or become severe, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist.

These are some of the more prevalent negative effects reported by Apriso people in clinical trials:

  • pain in the upper abdomen
  • nausea
  • common cold
  • Side effects of Apriso
  • headache*
  • diarrhea*

Mild side effects of Apriso

Apriso usage can cause minor negative effects. This list may not cover all of the drug’s minor adverse effects. Apriso’s prescribing information should be consulted for more information.

Apriso has been linked to the following mild side effects:

  • common cold
  • hair loss*
  • headache*
  • diarrhea*
  • pain in the upper abdomen
  • nausea

These negative effects may only last a few days or weeks. However, if the adverse effects persist, disturb you, or become severe, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, the agency monitors and assesses its side effects. Visit MedWatch if you experience an adverse effect while taking Apriso and wish to report it to the FDA.

Serious side effects of Apriso

Apriso has the potential to cause major adverse effects. Apriso, on the other hand, has a low risk of major adverse effects.

The list below may not represent all of the drug’s significant side effects. Apriso’s prescribing information should be consulted for more information.

Call your doctor straight away if you experience major adverse effects while taking Apriso. If you think you’re having a medical emergency or the side effects seem life-threatening, call 911 or your local emergency number right once.

The following are serious side effects and their symptoms that have been reported:

  • Kidney problems, including kidney stones. Symptoms can include:
    • decreased urination
    • nausea or vomiting
    • fatigue (lack of energy)
  • Liver problems. Symptoms can include:
  • Mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome.*
  • Severe skin reactions, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis. Symptoms can include:
    • skin rash that may blister or peel
    • body aches
    • cough
    • fever
  • Allergic reaction.*

FAQs about the side effects of Apriso

Apriso has a number of potential adverse effects. Here are some of the most common queries about the drug’s adverse effects.

Do Apriso’s side effects include weight gain?

No, Apriso should not cause you to gain weight. Apriso’s clinical trials found no evidence of weight increase.

However, if Apriso is working for you and maintaining your ulcerative colitis (UC) symptoms in remission, you may gain weight. (You don’t have UC symptoms when you’re in remission.)

You may not be able to consume or absorb nutrients from meals as well as you can when you have active UC. You may be able to eat more food if you achieve remission with Apriso, which could cause to weight gain.

Other ulcerative colitis treatments, such as steroid drugs, especially prednisone, might cause weight gain. These medicines may be used to relieve UC symptoms during a flare, however they also cause weight gain.

Consult your doctor if you’re gaining weight while taking Apriso. They may be able to assist you in determining the source of your weight gain.

Can Apriso cause long-term side effects?

Apriso has the potential to cause long-term adverse effects. The majority of Apriso’s side effects, on the other hand, are minor and short-lived.

Kidney or liver disorders are examples of long-term adverse effects that may arise.

Your doctor will keep an eye on you for signs of adverse effects while you’re taking Apriso. Tell your doctor if you have any side effects. If you experience any serious or potentially long-term side effects, your doctor may suggest switching to a different drug.

Are there any side effects of stopping Apriso?

Not at all. If you stop taking Apriso, though, your UC symptoms may return. Apriso works by assisting you in keeping your UC in remission. UC symptoms may reappear if you stop taking the medicine.

UC can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • fatigue (lack of energy)
  • rectal bleeding
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain or cramps

Talk to your doctor about other UC treatment choices if you need to stop taking Apriso. It’s possible that your doctor will advise you to take a different prescription. Alternatively, they may suggest ways to keep your UC symptoms from reappearing after you stop taking Apriso.

Side effect specifics

Learn about some of the potential adverse effects of Apriso.

Headache

While taking Apriso, you may have headaches. The most prevalent side effect recorded in clinical trials of this drug was headaches.

What you can do

Consult your doctor if you’re experiencing headaches while taking Apriso.

Your doctor may advise you on how to reduce the frequency of your headaches. They may prescribe acetaminophen (Tylenol) or other over-the-counter pain medications in some circumstances.

If your headaches are severe or occur frequently, make an appointment with your doctor. In this scenario, your doctor may advise you to take a different prescription than Apriso.

Hair loss

Hair loss is possible when using Apriso, however it is uncommon. In clinical trials, some people who took this medicine experienced hair loss as a side effect.

Keep in mind that vitamin deficiency could also be a cause in hair loss. Apriso is used to treat ulcerative colitis (UC), which causes some people to have difficulties absorbing nutrients from their food. Furthermore, some vitamins and minerals are required for the maintenance of healthy skin and hair.

What you can do

Consult your doctor if you’re experiencing hair loss while taking Apriso. Other options for reducing hair loss may be suggested.

Checking for vitamin deficits with your doctor is a good idea. Your doctor may advise you on how to deal with nutrient shortages so that you can stop losing hair.

Mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome

A rare adverse effect known as mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome has emerged in some people. When you take mesalamine (the active ingredient in Apriso) or sulfasalazine (a medicine that is converted to mesalamine once inside the body), you may have this dangerous side effect.

It’s unclear how frequently Apriso users develop mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome.

The symptoms of this illness were strikingly similar to those of an ulcerative colitis (UC) flare. It’s also worth noting that Apriso is used to treat UC.

The following are some of the symptoms of this syndrome:

  • fever
  • headache
  • rash
  • stomach cramps or abdominal pain
  • bloody diarrhea

What you can do

Tell your doctor if you experience symptoms of mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome. They’ll assist you in determining the source of your symptoms.

Your doctor will most likely advise you to discontinue taking Apriso if you develop this symptom.

Diarrhea

You may get diarrhea when using Apriso. During clinical trials, diarrhoea was one of the most common side effects in people taking Apriso.

Remember that diarrhea is a common sign of ulcerative colitis (UC), which Apriso treats.

Bloody diarrhea, on the other hand, could indicate mesalamine-induced acute intolerance syndrome. For further information on this syndrome, see the section just above.

What you can do

Consult your doctor if you get diarrhea after taking Apriso.

Diarrhea can be a sign of UC in some cases. Apriso can sometimes cause diarrhea as a side effect. Your doctor can assist you in determining the source of your diarrhea. They can also advise on the best course of action.

Reaction to allergens

Apriso, like most medications, might cause adverse reactions in some people.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild to severe, and include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your lips, eyelids, feet, or hands
  • rash
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
  • itching
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

Apriso allergy reactions can be severe in some situations, causing inflammation in your:

  • lungs
  • liver
  • heart
  • kidneys

Apriso should not be taken if you have ever had an adverse reaction to salicylate medicines like aspirin. Because Apriso is related to salicylate medicines, this is the case.

What you can do

Call your doctor right away if you experience mild symptoms of an allergic reaction. They may suggest strategies to alleviate your symptoms and advise you on whether or not to continue taking Apriso.

However, if you are experiencing severe signs of an allergic reaction and believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number right once.

Apriso Safety Precautions

Before you start taking Apriso, talk to your doctor about your medical history. If you have certain medical disorders or other variables that affect your health, this medicine may not be the best treatment for you. The following are some of the conditions and factors to consider:

Problems with the liver. If you have liver disease, apriso can raise your chance of liver failure. While taking this medication, your doctor may advise you to get your liver checked more frequently than normal. Alternatively, they could prescribe a different drug to address your condition.

Problems with the kidneys. Before you start taking Apriso, tell your doctor if you have any kidney problems. Kidney issues, especially kidney stones, may cause as a result of this medicine. Apriso can exacerbate kidney problems if you already have them. While taking Apriso, your doctor may check your kidneys more frequently than normal. Alternatively, they may prescribe a different drug for you.

An allergic reaction has occurred. Apriso should not be taken. If you’ve ever been allergic to Apriso or any of its constituents, don’t use it. Apriso is related to aspirin and other salicylate-based medicines. If you have any allergies, including to salicylates, be careful to tell your doctor. Apriso’s safety can be determined by your doctor. Consult your doctor to see if there are any other treatments that may be a better fit for you.

Certain skin problems. Apriso may increase your risk of sunburn if you have certain skin diseases, such as eczema. Sunburn can be dangerous in some instances. Your doctor will most likely advise you to stay out of the sun. They may also advise you to wear skin-protecting apparel and use sunscreen when you’re outside.

Phenylketonuria. Before taking Apriso, tell your doctor if you have phenylketonuria. (Phenylketonuria is a hereditary condition in which the protein phenylalanine causes in the body.) Phenylalanine is found in apricots. If you obtain phenylalanine from other sources as well, it could build up in your system. Seizures and other major adverse effects are possible. Your doctor may want to check on you more frequently than normal. If you have phenylketonuria, they may prescribe a different prescription for you.

Problems with the heart. Before starting Apriso, tell your doctor if you have any heart issues. Apriso can cause myocarditis (heart swelling) or pericarditis (heart inflammation) (swelling of the lining of your heart). Apriso can aggravate your heart condition if you already have one. While using Apriso, your doctor may monitor your heart health or prescribe a different drug for you.

People who are 65 years old or older. Apriso may have a different effect on older persons (65 years and older) than it does on younger adults. Apriso has been linked to an increased risk of blood problems in older people. Neutropenia (a low amount of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell) and agranulocytosis are two instances of these blood disorders (very low level of neutrophils). As a result of this danger, your doctor may want to check your blood frequently while you’re on Apriso.

Alcohol use with Apriso

Apriso hasn’t been linked to any alcohol interactions. However, the effects of alcohol and Apriso are remarkably similar. Both alcohol and Apriso, for example, can cause:

  • liver problems
  • nausea
  • headache

If you drink alcohol while taking Apriso, you may have more of these negative effects.

If you’d like, talk to your doctor about whether you can drink a certain amount of alcohol while taking Apriso.

Apriso during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Read on to learn more about Apriso during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Pregnancy and Apriso

Apriso isn’t known to be safe to consume during pregnancy.

Apriso did not appear to harm growing fetuses in animal experiments. Animal studies, on the other hand, do not necessarily predict what would happen in humans.

Additionally, untreated ulcerative colitis (UC) can affect a developing fetus. Keep in mind that Apriso is prescribed for the treatment of UC.

Consult your doctor before taking Apriso if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

Breastfeeding and Apriso

Apriso is not known to be safe to consume when nursing. The medication does, however, enter into human breast milk. As a result, a breastfed infant would be exposed.

The medicine has the potential to cause diarrhea in a breastfed infant. However, it is unknown what other side effects the medicine may have.

Consult your doctor before taking Apriso if you’re breastfeeding.

When should you consult your doctor?

Apriso has the potential to cause adverse effects. The majority of the time, these side effects are minor. However, some people may develop major adverse effects in rare cases.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you want to learn more about Apriso. They can assist you with any queries you may have concerning the drug’s negative effects.

You might want to perform some independent research on this medicine in addition to speaking with your doctor.

Disclaimer: NccMed has gone too hard to ensure that all information is factually correct, complete, and accurate. This page, however, should not be used as a substitute for a licensed healthcare professional’s knowledge and competence. Before taking any drug, you should always consult your doctor or another healthcare expert. The material on this page on drugs is subject to change, and it is not meant to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or side effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a medicine or drug combination does not imply that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specified applications.

Sources:

  • https://shared.salix.com/globalassets/pi/Apriso-PI.pdf
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/drugs-apriso-side-effects

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Drugs

What you should know about dry eye gel drops and the conditions they can help with

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Dry eyes are a frequent problem that can be caused by a variety of factors. They might be caused by age, environmental causes, or they can be an indication of another condition. Dry eyes can be relieved using gel drops, which are thicker forms of artificial tears.

Gel drops have a thicker consistency than other eye drops and tend to stay in the eye for longer.

For comfort and to replace eye moisture, people frequently use gel drops overnight. They might also give them a try if they’ve tried and failed with other dry eye treatments.

This page looks at what conditions gel eye drops cure, which OTC gel eye drops are available, the distinction between prescription and OTC eye drops, as well as adverse effects and interactions.

Conditions gel drops treat

 dry eye gel drops
sdigital/Getty Images

Dry eye gel drops are used to address symptoms such as a lack of moisture in the eye or poor tear quality.

Tears spread across the surface of the eye when it blinks. The surface of the eye cannot sustain lubrication if the eye does not generate enough tears or if the tears are of poor quality. Dye eyes can cause the following symptoms:

  • soreness
  • red eyes
  • blurry vision
  • light sensitivity
  • burning
  • watery eyes
  • itching
  • a gritty feeling

Gel drops for dry eyes treat dryness or redness of the eyes due to several factors. Eye dryness may result from:

  • wind, dust, cold, or dry air
  • smoke or alcohol use
  • certain medications
  • some health conditions such as lupus or Sjögren’s disease
  • aging
  • contact lenses
  • computer use
  • air conditioning or heating

Available dry eye gel drops 

There are a variety of over-the-counter eye drops available.

Artificial tears are designed to replicate real tears and are good for people who suffer from mild to moderate dry eyes.

Gel drops are artificial tears, but they are designed to stay in the eye for longer and to give more moisturization than other forms of artificial tears.

Gel drops, on the other hand, can cause temporary blurriness in vision until they settle into the eye. People with moderate-to-severe dry eye should use these drops.

The following are some of the most prevalent forms of over-the-counter gel eye drops:

  • Refresh Celluvisc, which includes the active ingredient carboxymethylcellulose sodium 1%.
  • GenTeal Tears, which contains the active ingredients dextran 70 0.1% and hypromellose 2910 0.3%.
  • Systane, which contains the active ingredients polyethylene glycol 400 and propylene glycol 0.3%.
  • Blink GelTears, which includes the active ingredient polyethylene glycol 400.

All of these gel drops are used to treat dry eyes caused by causes such as the environment, medications, or other conditions. They can also be used to treat red eyes and pink eye, which is commonly referred to as conjunctivitis.

Dry eye is mainly caused by a decrease in the quality or quantity of tear production. When some of the gel’s inactive chemicals, generally gelling agents, are exposed to the pH of the eye’s surface, they work to produce a matrix that coats the eye. This gives both protection and relaxation.

Over-the-counter vs. prescription

OTC dry eye gel drops will be the first line of defense in many cases of dry eye. However, because they momentarily obscure vision, they may only be appropriate for usage before bedtime, in addition to utilizing artificial tears during the day.

If the OTC gel drops fail to relieve eye dryness, a person should consult an eye doctor or ophthalmologist for a thorough examination. They may prescribe cyclosporine (Restasis) or lifitegrast, which are prescription eye drops (Xiidra).

Adverse affects

Individuals may experience an allergic reaction to dry eye gel drops in rare situations. Among the signs and symptoms are:

  • breathing difficulty
  • dizziness
  • feeling ill
  • itchiness
  • swelling

More typically, a person may have adverse effects such as:

  • change in vision
  • eye irritation or redness
  • eye pain

When using dry eye gel drops, it’s also important to avoid touching the tip of the eye drop bottle to the eye or anything else. This might result in dangerous infections if it happens.

Interactions

There should be no conflicts between the dry eye gel drops and any other drugs.

If a person is utilizing two types of dry eye gel drops, they should wait at least 5 minutes before applying them.

Furthermore, people who use a dry eye gel ointment should wait at least 10 minutes before applying it.

Conclusion

Dry eye gel drops can be used to treat the symptoms of dry eyes caused by a variety of conditions.

Dry eyes can be exacerbated by environmental factors such as cold, wind, or smoky air. Dry eyes can be caused by a variety of medical issues as well as lengthy periods of staring at a computer screen.

Gel drops are thicker than regular fake tears, therefore they’re usually used right before bedtime. This is due to the fact that gel drops might produce momentary blurred vision until they settle onto the eye’s surface.

Many eye physicians may first offer over-the-counter gel eye drops to treat dry eyes. If they don’t work, prescription versions may be suggested.

Sources:

  • https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/dry-eye
  • https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dry-eyes/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/dry-eye-gel-drops
  • https://www.aao.org/eye-health/treatments/lubricating-eye-drops
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5045033/

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ADHD / ADD

Is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) overdiagnosed and overtreated?

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In the public coverage of ADHD, there is a widespread belief that doctors overdiagnose and overtreat the disorder, particularly in children with behavioral issues.

A large study published in 2021 found indications of ADHD overdiagnosis, with the authors emphasizing that people with other diseases may be diagnosed with ADHD instead. According to other evidence, children who are among the youngest in their class are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Their immaturity and resulting behavioral issues may appear to be indications of ADHD when, in reality, they are caused by their age.

Personal experience and bias may influence a person’s perspective on ADHD overdiagnosis. People who oppose psychiatry are working hard to disprove the existence of ADHD. ADHD advocates, on the other hand, may push for earlier and more frequent diagnosis.

The issue of ADHD overdiagnosis is controversial, and it’s difficult to quantify. What is apparent, however, is that ADHD is frequently undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. About three out of every four children with ADHD receive therapy, but only 32% receive the pharmaceutical and behavioral treatment combination that most experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend.

The risk of ADHD overdiagnosis and misdiagnosis can be reduced by seeking care from a skilled physician, utilizing specified diagnostic criteria, and ruling out other possible diagnoses. Continue reading to find out more.

Is ADHD overdiagnosed? 

adhd in children

According to emerging data, ADHD may be overdiagnosed. The percentage of children aged 3–17 years who have been diagnosed with ADHD has increased over time, from 5.5 percent in 1997 to 9.8 percent in 2018. This rise does not always imply a crisis of overdiagnosis. Other evidence, on the other hand, suggests that overdiagnosis is a factor in this trend.

In an older child, age-appropriate actions could be indications of ADHD. A 3-year-old, for example, cannot concentrate on schooling that a 6-year-old can do. According to some studies, this relative immaturity may play a role in overdiagnosis.

The youngest third of students in a classroom were more likely to take stimulant ADHD medicines than the oldest third, according to a 2016 study of children attending school in Israel.

Because a few months can make a significant difference in a child’s skills and maturity, it’s likely that some youngsters are prescribed ADHD medication due to comparative immaturity rather than ADHD.

A thorough review published in 2021 gives credence to the idea that doctors overdiagnose ADHD. The researchers looked through 334 studies and discovered the following:

  • The number of ADHD diagnoses has increased.
  • The treatment of ADHD with medication has increased.
  • The increase in ADHD may be due in part to diagnosing people who have only mild ADHD.

Furthermore, the five studies that looked at the risks and benefits of treatment revealed that the harms of treatment may outweigh the benefits in milder cases of ADHD.

Why?

Although some studies suggest that ADHD is overdiagnosed, there is no definitive study to explain why. The following are some possible explanations:

  • ADHD can be diagnosed in children who are younger than their grade-level peers and so less developmentally advanced.
  • When a person has another condition, they may be misdiagnosed. Sensory processing disorders, for example, can have symptoms that are similar to ADHD.
  • Ineffective parenting practices could be a contributing factor. Ineffective parenting may contribute to behavioral difficulties in children with ADHD, according to a 2015 study. While this isn’t a contributing reason to overdiagnosis, it could explain an apparent rise in ADHD-related behavioral issues. The researchers discovered a link between the use of punishment and inattention symptoms. Negligent parenting was also linked to ADHD symptoms.
  • It’s also worth noting that increased awareness is an important component. Parents, caregivers, and healthcare professionals may be more aware of inattentive signs as a result of increased ADHD awareness. As a result, more people with moderate symptoms can be diagnosed with ADHD.

Overdiagnosing ADHD

The right treatment for ADHD can make a difference in people’s lives, but too much treatment can be damaging. There are side effects to every treatment. The following are some of the possible adverse effects:

  • growth delays
  • anxiety
  • rapid heart rate
  • high blood pressure
  • loss of appetite
  • trouble sleeping

The stigmatization of developmentally normal behaviors may result from diagnosing ADHD based on immaturity. It may also lead a person and their parents or caregivers to be concerned about the long-term consequences of an inaccurate diagnosis.

Overtreatment problems

While evidence supports the concept of overdiagnosis, research on overtreatment shows the reverse.

Although it is true that some people without ADHD receive therapy as a result of overdiagnosis, people with ADHD are generally undertreated.

The majority of treatment guidelines emphasize the importance of both medication and behavioral and lifestyle changes. The American Academy of Pediatrics, for example, recommends that children with ADHD above the age of 6 get medication as well as behavioral interventions such as classroom help and therapy.

Children under the age of six, on the other hand, should only be given medication if all other options have failed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most children with ADHD do not receive treatment that meets these standards, according to a 2016 parent survey. The findings revealed that:

  • About 23% of children with ADHD received no treatment.
  • About 30% received only medication.
  • About 15% received behavioral treatments.
  • About 32% received both medication and behavioral interventions.

Avoiding overdiagnosis and overtreatment

Some of the options for preventing overdiagnosis include:

  • Using scientifically validated rating scales to diagnose ADHD: The Conners’ Rating Scales, the Vanderbilt ADHD Parent Rating Scale, and the Child Behavior Checklist are among these scales. Using these diagnostic methods instead of depending on first impressions or subjective assessments could be more effective.
  • Considering other diagnoses: ADHD isn’t the only cause of hyperactivity and inattention. These symptoms can also be caused by a variety of other disorders, such as sensory processing disorder and autism.
  • Assessing for symptom consistency: A period of inattention in a new environment or hyperactivity that only occurs in one or two settings may not indicate ADHD. Instead, these behaviors may indicate an issue with the environment, such as poor parenting or a stressful school setting.
  • Considering how maturity might affect diagnosis: A child who behaves differently than the rest of his or her classmates does not necessarily have ADHD, especially if they are several months younger than the majority of their classmates.
  • Assessing how well treatment works: Parents and healthcare providers should monitor the treatment’s effects to see if it improves the child’s behavior and provides assistance. Adults with ADHD should consider whether taking medication improves their performance significantly.

The majority of people concerned about ADHD overdiagnosis are concerned about medication usage. If a person just has minor ADHD symptoms, it may be best to attempt behavioral therapies first and then medication if those techniques fail.

The behavioral tactics for dealing with ADHD are similar to those used by parents or caregivers to deal with behavioral issues in children who do not have ADHD. These therapies have not been shown to be hazardous.

Conclusion

ADHD can be both underdiagnosed and overdiagnosed, and it can also be both undertreated and overtreated.

According to the research, some people who do not require therapy still receive it, while many people who do require treatment receive insufficient care.

It’s also possible that some children obtain an excessive amount of ADHD diagnoses, while others receive none at all. Individual definitions of overdiagnosis and overtreatment differ, hence the statistics aren’t conclusive.

ADHD is a real diagnosis, and people with it require therapy. These facts call into question the most outspoken opponents of ADHD therapy. Nonetheless, it is obvious that some people who take ADHD medication may not require it and may possibly be less healthy as a result of its use.

Sources

  • https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/timeline.html
  • https://chadd.org/for-professionals/clinical-practice-tools/
  • https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/is-adhd-overdiagnosed-and-overtreated
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4443828/
  • https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/pds.3962
  • https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2778451
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4710942/
  • https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/treatment.html

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