Wednesday, March 7, 2012

ADHD or Just Younger and Acting Normally?

What a difference a year makes—or even a month.

A study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal of 937,943 children finds that boys born in December were 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than classmates born in January of the same calendar year. December-born girls were 70 percent more likely to have an ADHD diagnosis. Similar patterns existed for rates of ADHD prescriptions. The cut-off date of birth for school entry in British Columbia is December 31, so children born in December are almost a year younger than classmates born in January.

The researchers were concerned that these younger children were simply acting younger compared with their older classmates and may have been wrongly diagnosed. “These findings raise concerns about the potential harms of overdiagnosis and overprescribing,” they wrote.

For more on the diagnosis of ADHD in Psychiatric News, click here.

(Image: Monkey  Business Images/


The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.