Reconsidering How ADHD is Diagnosed

Feb 4, 2016

Every year, thousands of Iowa children are diagnosed with ADHD, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. While the condition is common and one of the most studied disorders in medicine, it still remains controversial.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Shannon Krone, a mother who struggled with her son’s behavior problems from an early age. Her son’s ADHD is more manageable with treatment, but still poses obstacles in day-to-day life.

Also joining the program is Dr. Dianne McBrien, medical director of the Center for Disabilities and Development at the University of Hospitals and Clinics. She talks about the theory that there is a disproportionately high rate of boys diagnosed with ADHD, while girls who often display different symptoms fall by the wayside.

"Girls tend to present with different [symptoms]," McBrien says. "They tend not to be as hyperactive and busy, and because they're not a problem for anybody - they're not disrupting the class, they tend to have a more dreamy, sort of off-task presentation - everybody thinks this is a quiet, docile student. But then these girls tend to have more difficulty and middle and high school."

McBrien also talks about ADHD diagnosis rates in the U.S., treatment options, and the pros and cons of medication.