More than two million children and adolescents in Australia have been diagnosed with attention disorders, according to the Australian Centre for Children’s Health, and there is a growing concern that they are being misdiagnosed.
The Centre’s Dr Mark Hickey said the growing number of children who have ADHD was a warning sign for doctors and mental health workers to get a better grasp on the disorder.
“It’s one of those conditions where there’s this belief that if you know the cause of it, you can treat it,” Dr Hickey told ABC News Breakfast.
“If we don’t know what’s causing it, we can’t possibly be prepared for what’s going to happen in the future.”
Dr Hickey explained that people who were diagnosed with ADHD had a high level of stress, anxiety and irritability and were prone to depression.
“The most common symptoms of ADHD are social withdrawal, poor sleep and depression,” Dr Shesh Patel said.
“And then there’s the underlying anxiety and depression that can be triggered by stress and social exclusion.”‘
It’s a matter of when’The Australian Centre’s survey of 5,000 children and teenagers across the country found that over the past five years, the number of people diagnosed with Attention Disorder has increased by nearly a third.
“There has been a substantial increase in the number diagnosed, and over the course of five years there’s been an increase of 2.5 million children diagnosed with this condition, an increase in that number that we think is a very important indicator of what we need to be doing to make sure we don’st lose these children,” Dr Patel said