ADHD – A case of over diagnosis? : Dr. David A. Sousa at TEDxASB

Translator: Carlos Arturo Morales
Reviewer: Ivana Krivokuća Madeleine Heide: Hello, good evening.
I’m Madeleine Maceda Heide, I’m the assistant superintendent
for the American School of Bombay. We’re so fortunate to have
Dr David Sousa with us tonight. As a consultant
in educational neuroscience, working with educators in schools
all around the world, and having written 16 books
and dozens of articles, Dr Sousa is highly knowledgeable
about how current research on the brain can be used to form strategies
for improving learning. Dr Sousa started out
with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Massachusetts State College and then he got a master of arts
teaching degree in science from Harvard University
and a doctorate from Rutgers. He taught high school science,
was a K-12 director of science, a supervisor of instruction
and a district superintendent in New Jersey. He’s also been an adjunct professor
of education at Seton Hall University and a visiting lecturer
at Rutgers University and a past president of the National
Staff Development Council. Tonight, Dr Sousa is here to speak
with us about the topic of ADHD, or attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder; a condition that affects
many children around the world and is often un-diagnosed,
misdiagnosed, and over-diagnosed. For parents and educators, ADHD poses
complex questions of how best to serve students who have ADHD
within our existing systems. I’m delighted to present
such a knowledgeable, incredible educator, to enlighten us
about this important topic. Please, welcome Dr. David Sousa. (Applause) David Sousa: I’d like to talk to you about a topic that has concerned me
greatly in the last few years. We know that there’s a condition known as attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder; probably a genetic condition
that’s a spectrum disorder, from very mild to extreme. People with mild form of ADHD
probably don’t even know they have it or they’ve adapted to it very easily. Those with more severe forms of it
do have trouble concentrating and attention, of course,
is very important if you want to learn something. Most learning occurs when we are focused
on what we’re trying to learn. So, attention is a major contributor
to our ability to learn. What I’m concerned about is the idea that everytime a student is misbehaving or not paying attention,
that maybe something is wrong with him. Now, don’t get me wrong. Any person who has the legitimate disease, who really is diagnosed as having
the condition known as ADHD, should definitely get the medical
and other types of therapy that are available for those people. What I’m concerned about is the idea
that we jump too quickly to the conclusion that a misbehaving student
or a student who’s not focused, or students doing something else while we expect them
to do the task at hand, may have the disorder. So, I’m going to talk you about ways in which kids can behave
as though they have ADHD, but not have it. And I worry that we don’t give
enough attention to that. We’re too quick to jump to the idea
that lack of attention is a disorder. Attention is very important; not paying attention
can get you in trouble if you’re not reading the signs. But attention is also critical
for being able to acquire information and to learn skills. A lot of this work has been done
for over the past 20 years, looking at what are the cerebral systems
that make up attention. One of the things we’ve come
to the conclusion is that there are three systems involved in the attention apparatus of our brain. The first system is what we call
the alerting system. This is where our brain
perceives something in the environment, some signal in the environment
that lets us know that there’s something
we ought to pay attention to. Remember, the brain’s main job
is to keep us alive. And so when there’s something
in the environment that’s unexpected, the brain has to assess it to decide
whether or not it’s going to be a threat to our existence. So, alerting signals are very important. The next thing we try to do is say, “Look, turn towards the source
of that information, that unusual input to see whether or not it’s a threat.” And then, after we see what’s going on, we have to make a decision on what to do. A simple example would be
if you’re walking through the park and all of a sudden
you hear a rustle in the bushes. Well, that’s the alerting signal. And then you turn toward that noise
to see whether or not the cause of is going to be a problem. And if a rabbit jumps up, then we make the decision,
“this is not a threat,” and we move on. On the other hand, if that happens
to be a snake that pops up, then, of course,
the decision is quite different, which is to get away from that
as quickly as possible. Now, with these three systems
necessary to receive information, to orient toward it and to make
a decision about what to do, things can go wrong here and there. Some of these things that can go wrong
have genetic predispositions for them. But there are also other things
that can cause a distraction; that can cause us to look like
we’re not paying attention when we don’t really have
a medical disorder. So, let me take a few minutes
to talk about that. I guess the reason
I’m really concerned about this is the incredible increase
in the number of children who have been diagnosed with ADHD,
medically diagnosed with ADHD. Now, this information comes from the Center for Disease Control
in the United States. And as you can see, in 2003,
roughly eight percent of school children, or children between the ages
of four and 17 were diagnosed, medically diagnosed with ADHD. That number, just four years later,
jumped to nine and a half percent. But one thing we have to remember is that this is voluntary reporting
to the Center for Disease Control, and there are researchers out there who believe that a lot
of the medically diagnosed individuals were not being reported. And so, in 2010, they got together
and they called and contacted over 1000 medical practitioners
around the country, and asked them how many referrals they made
for medical diagnosis of ADHD. And their results were quite surprising. By the way, in 2007,
that number reached five, almost five and a half million children
diagnosed with ADHD. When they did that study in 2010,
the number was quite different; almost 18 percent,
almost one out of five children were being diagnosed with this disorder. And that translates
to almost 10.5 million children. Well, why is this? What’s going on here? Look at this almost exponential leap
in just seven years, from seven and a half percent
to more than double, at 18 percent. Are we getting better at diagnosing it, or is there something else
in the environment that’s prompting this behavior,
that’s causing it to come forth and asking us to take a look at it
and say, “Yep, that’s ADHD?” I don’t think so. I think what’s happening here is that we’re too quick to jump
at that notion that it’s ADHD, without looking at other possibilities. And so, let’s take a look at what
some of those possibilities are. What kind of behavior? What kind of conditions
could produce ADHD-like behavior when, in fact, the person
does not have ADHD? Diet: let’s take a look at diet first. And one of our biggest things
to consider here is caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant,
we know it’s a brain stimulant, there have been studies that show that participants who take some caffeine
shortly before cognitive tasks will do better that those who don’t. It’s not a long term effect,
but it is an effect in improving cognitive processing. Now, the recommended maximum dose
of caffeine for adolescents is about 85mg a day. That’s maximum dose. Now, take a look at a cup or coffee and that will have somewhere
between 90 and 100mg depending on how it’s brewed. Now, if 85mg, as what we say
is the maximum amount for adolescents, let’s take a look at some of the things
that adolescents put in their bodies. And these may look familiar to you. In fact, if you walk
around school grounds, you see cans of these things
on the ground, empty cans of them. And now let me show you
how much caffeine they have. And by the way, this is for eight ounces. Many of those are products
that are sold in 12 ounce cans, which means it’s 50 per cent more
than the amounts you see there. So, what happens is when you get
too much caffeine in your body, if you’ve ever had too much
caffeinated beverages such as coffee or too much tea, then you know what happens;
you get irritable and you get hyperactive. Caffeine is one of the major contributors,
I believe, to hyperactivity in our school children. And it doesn’t mean that they need
to be diagnosed with a disorder; it means you have to watch their diet. Let’s take a look
at another one: aspartame. Remember, aspartame is perfectly safe
for adults in moderate quantities, but it’s all over the place, it’s not just
in your artificial sweetener. In North America, there are
over 6 000 products alone that contain aspartame. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a lot of those products
right here, as well. And now let’s take a look at what
the average recommended dose of this particular chemical. Again, remember, it’s safe for most adults
in reasonable quantities. What I’m concerned about is the effect
it has on the growing brain. Remember, we’re talking
about developing brains here. That’s the key; developing brains. And if the maximum dose
is about eight mg a day, what we find in a recent study
done at youth in Chicago show that they were getting anywhere
from 100 to 250mg a day from the diet sodas they were drinking, from other products that they had
in the course of the day, and, as you can see,
that’s 10, 15, 20 times or more, up to 30 times more,
than the amount that’s recommended. And we have studies that show that excess aspartate in the body,
especially of younger children, does produce hyperactivity. So that’s another diet element
we need to look at. Food preservatives are also
an interesting thing to take a look at. Here, there are studies
that look at three particularly, and those are sodium benzoate,
benzoic acid, and the food colorings. When they’ve looked at these, they find that excess amounts
of these products also cause hyperactivity; a number of studies have shown that. Now again, I want to remind you: these are perfectly safe for most adults
in reasonable quantities. The problem is how much
you’re taking in the young body. And why are kids getting
more food preservatives?? Because they’re eating
more preserved foods. In many homes, they have
a preserved breakfast, preserved snacks, preserved lunch. Anything you take out of the freezer, anything that is packaged
has some kind of preservative in it and we don’t spend enough time
cooking fresh foods for our kids. And what happens then is they get
these excess dosage of food preservatives, and excess quantities in children
can produce hyperactivity. Sleep deprivation is another big one. Studies in the United States and Canada
show that the average high school student gets about five to six hours
of sleep per school night. Yet, the body clock for most kids
is programmed to eight or nine hours. And so they’re only getting six hours,
they get up, they have sleep deprivation, the sleep hormone called melatonin
is still present in the blood and, as far as we know, there are just two ways
to get melatonin out of the blood. And that is with light; light helps
to drive it out of the system and to shut down the melatonin pump, or to finish the sleep cycle
as some kids do; either on the bus on their ways to school
or, sometimes, in first period class. They are just doing what nature
tells them to do; finish the sleep cycle. If they don’t do that, then
they have sleep deprivation and that can make them quite irritable
and also hyperactive. This feeds into another condition
we need to look at, and that is stress. Children can be under all kinds of stress: stress at home
because of domestic violence, stress because of a bullying siblings,
stress because of drugs, stress because of pressure
from the parents to do well and, you know, “Make sure
you get all those A’s”, and the pressure of that. It produces stress, and whenever
we have stress in our mind, it produces an extra amount of cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone. We always have a little bit
in our blood, it helps keep us alert. But when we are under stress, the amount of cortisol dumped in the blood
increases dramatically, the purpose of which,
is to say to the brain, “Hey, try to find out
what the source of the stress is and eliminate it if you can.” When you’re under stress, this cortisol,
if it stays in the body for too long, it produces hyperactive babhavior. Now, there’s an unfortunate
downward spiral here because when you have
excess cortisol in the blood, you don’t sleep very well
so you get insomnia. The insomnia then is sleep deprivation,
which then causes more stress, and you have to try to break that cycle. Anyway, the result is some pretty
jittery and hyperactive people. Another one I think we need to look at
is not being taught the rules of behavior. Many of you here,
probably when you were children, you had dinner with your parents
or your caregivers, you sat down, you talked
about what’s going on in school and they found out how things were going,
they taught you by their way. I know my parents did. “There are some things
that you can do here at home that you’d better not do in school
and you’d better not do in church and you’d better not do
in the supermarket.” And so we learned that there are
certain rules of behavior that went with certain environments. What’s happening today is they don’t have
that conversation very often. A surprising study that came out
just two years ago show that kids spend 15 times more time
in the course of the week attending to their technology
than they do talking to their caregivers. So they’re spending that much more time
connected to their outside world than to their inside world, where they should be learning
what the rules of behavior are. So, these kids are not malevolent,
they’re just ignorant. And they need to be taught
what those rules of behavior are. They don’t have ADHD;
they just don’t have the information they need to know how to behave
in certain circumstances. Another one I’d like to look at
is school-induced ADHD. You might think about that for a moment. What does he possibly meant by that?
What can we mean by school-induced ADHD? Well, we got a 21st century brain
coming across our thresholds and that 21st century brain is now
used to interact with this environment, to be part of the learning process,
to search out information. That’s what that brain is used to now. But if you have a school where it’s just,
“Sit down, listen to the teacher, listen to the sage on the stage
give the information,” then the environment is incompatible with the way the brain is trying to learn. And so, one way you could
summarize it is to say that what I mean by that is
you’ve got a 21st-century brain in a 20th-century school. And these kids get restless,
they don’t see the meaning of what they’re learning,
and that’s the result. They become hyperactive. And there are a couple of other things too
that can cause these ADHD-like symptoms: environmental factors
such as drugs, of course, and also heavy metals in the environment. We’ve done a pretty good job
of getting lead reduced dramatically in our environment. But there are some others,
cadmium now is becoming a problem because cadmium was in batteries
up until about ten years ago. That cadmium now, because those batteries
were thrown away in the garbage dumps and as the batteries disintegrate,
the cadmium bleaches into the water table and eventually into our environment. So, that’s another one to watch for. And heavy metal poisoning,
one of the signs of it is hyperactivity. And also, of course, physical disorders
such as obsessive compulsive behavior and psychological disorders too. Dyslexia: the child’s having trouble
reading the information, then becomes restless and hyperactive. So, my whole purpose here today is to say: look, kids will be kids,
they’ll act out, they’ll misbehave, their attention will drift because they’ve found
something else that captures it. It doesn’t mean they have
a psychological disorder and some of these other things. All I’m saying is we want to make sure that before we put
a medical diagnosis on the kid and say, “You have to go on medication,
prescription medication,” that we are sure we’ve looked
at all these other things, checked out all these other possibilities
before we decide that medical evaluation is their final resort. Thank you very much. (Applause)

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96 Responses

  1. pugolka says:

    i wish the whole half hour intro would just be cut out so this video will be "postable" or "sharable". because the topic explains why it is not.

  2. David Schatz, MD says:

    I am a psychiatrist who has ADHD. It is correct to say THE VAST MAJORITY OF MEDICAL JOURNALS discuss the fact that ADHD is UNDER diagnosed. This whole presentation is WEAK. This gentleman wants us to question ADHD because people can fake ADHD? True, they can..and I can fake being blind. ADHD suddenly increased in incidence….yes, autism's incidence is also growing rapidly…because more people are recognizing the disorder. Diet is important, sleep is important. And ADHD IS still underdiagnosed

  3. Ursula Vavrik says:

    Dr.Schatz: I agree that this was a very WEAK presentation, perhaps better directed towards middle school students! I keep crossing paths with you Sir
    regarding this ADHD discussion – as in Stephen Tonti: ADHD is a Difference in Cognition NOT a Disorder. Given your unusual expertise related to ADHD, I for one would be extremely pleased to hear "A Presentation about ADHD" from your personal experience and unique perspective! As a Cultural Anthropologist plus other Credentials, NOW at 63:ME TOO!?!

  4. Mats G says:


  5. Zen Honeycutt says:

    ADHD and Autism, as week Allerigies and Auto Immune diseases have been directly linked to Glyphosate the active chemical ingredient in RoundUP which is used by the BILLIONS of pounds now on our food. Sprayed on the soil of conventional food and DIRECTLY ON GMO food. Monsanto sell this poison to farmers, tell them its safe, and yet farmers wear Hazmat suits to spray this herbicide on our food and then they expect us to eat it. Go to moms across america dot com and read our blogs.

  6. Zen Honeycutt says:

    Read the Samsell and Seneff study on entropy. Read the Swanson report on the study.

  7. ryan abcdefg says:

    hard to diagnose since kids are so dang active… adhd can be a number of other things. I believe appropriately diagnosing it can make a child's life much less stressful. people who don't know anything need to keep their mouth shut!

  8. charlie gehrig says:

    oh please,do you have it or now anyone that has it? spare me

  9. Sam Goldstein says:

    I am the Editor of the science, peer reviewed periodical, Journal of Attention Disorders. I have never heard of this man nor read a single paper he has published. This is a lay talk based only on belief masquerading as science. Nonsense.

  10. Logan sloan says:

    People dont listen to this guy

  11. 37VQV says:

    Did you see his data set. the 7.4, 9.5, and APPROXIMATELY 18 percent. How do you have two values with one decimal place and a third value of no decimal place an an approximate value; if you try to publish with this data they would laugh at you.

    He even admits that the data sets for each set of year are gathered by different methods.

    ADHD is likely under-diagnosed and the ones that get diagnosed are usually the ones that are better off (regarding adults) who have insurance.

  12. 37VQV says:

    TEDx sometimes set a very low bar for their presenters.

  13. 37VQV says:

    If anyone here really wants to learn about ADHD look up Dr. Russel Barkley PhD on YouTube. There are many videos on YouTube of his conferences regarding the epidemiology and impacts of ADHD.

    His conference are backed up solid peer reviewed data.

  14. 37VQV says:

    There always one of these idiots lurking around. GMO is safe. New pesticides are safer. Stop watching bullshit liberal documentaries. Go look at the actual scientific data.

  15. Elena Marinelli says:

    Dr .Scharz , are you kidding ? Under-diagnosed? Maybe according with pharmacological industry , but not with the average diagnoses around the world. I do agree with Dr . Sousa , we should be more careful on evaluating children . We are to the point that even chow a pencil is a symptom of ADHD. And please ,show more respect to Dr . Sousa; try to be a gentleman as well.

  16. Elena Marinelli says:

    He doesn't say that he had published scientific paper, he is giving us other way to look to children behavior. Personally, he sounds to me more realistic than other "experts" who do not hesitate to put children on unnecessary medication. Most of the time child behavior is a reflected mirror of child environment. Of course, a pill is a easy and better solution: parents are not questioned, teacher are not challenged, and insurance are happy( therapy is much more expensive than medication).

  17. mike strain says:

    in grade 2 i was diagnosed with adhd at 30 i started meds finely now at 34 i have tough my self how to spell after 25 year of looking in to adhd and children it has come to my attention that we have to stop trying to teach in side the box people are not mas produced machines i do fear that adhd is used for kids that don't fit in the box with all the others and the dumb asses try to put all the adhd kids in a box i am not a % i don't fit in a box i am mike a self tough man

  18. Ertiyed says:

    This person does not know what he is talking about. He does not understand what ADHD/ADD is nor does he understand how it is to live with it. According to this person all you have to do is drink some diet coke, some rockstar, skip sleep and you have "ADHD" because its just about misbehaving? He should go back to the schoolbench and look over his education tbh. 🙁 btw its not a disease. (Got diagnosed with ADD at the age of 29 and have had ADHD as a kid.)

  19. Alyson Oltmann says:

    he lost his credit with me, when he called adhd a disease.

  20. DarkCrown says:

    YES, YES and oh let me top this off with another YES!
    I wish more people had this perception of ADHD.
    And I wish, that this society becomes a more tollerant and open minded one at once..

  21. Harry Mason says:

    While I agree that one should consider other reasons for ADHD-like symptoms before automatically diagnosing a patient, this video fails to respect those who truly have this disorder. Dr. Sousa manipulates the data as he wishes without considering other reasons for the increase in ADHD diagnoses. I have no qualms if he desires to present on ADHD as an overdiagnosed disorder, but the one-sided manner in which he presents this talk indicates that he does not wish to properly educate the viewer.

  22. Harry Mason says:

    I learned nothing.

  23. JOHN CHARRON says:

    And, for me, genetic predisposition seemed to be his only acceptable justifier of the "disorder". I take exception to that term, and much prefer Stephen Tonti's use of the word, "difference". See his [email protected]: ADHD As A Difference In Cognition. There's a world of "difference" between this talk and his!

  24. dingai says:

    Part of the problem with ADHD is that it is not a proper diagnosis (does not represent a specific causal mechanism) but instead is a label for a cluster of symptoms. Therefore, ADHD symptoms may be caused by various underlying conditions – whether sleep deprivation, excessive caffeine, neurological variations, boredom, neurotransmitter deficits etc. etc. The whole discussion is limited by the flaws in the construct of ADHD. In 20 years, we will no longer use the label ADHD.

  25. dingai says:

    "ADHD" is not a thing: it is a LABEL for a group of symptoms that may be caused by different underlying conditions. "ADHD" controversies come from pretending that the symptoms are "caused" by "having" the labelled condition. This is a logical fallacy. By analogy: Andre the Giant was really big. He meets the DSM criteria for "major bigness syndrome – MBS". Why was he so tall? Because he had MBS, of course. Why did his joints hurt? Well, it was "caused" by his MBS, of course…

  26. dingai says:

    Some people "have" ADHD for years, only to discover later that they actually "have" sleep apnea or some other condition causing their ADHD symptoms… Similar to Depression and many other symptom cluster categories in the DSM, these are not valid diagnoses, but symptom descriptors… ADHD is overdiagnosed because it should never be a diangosis in the first place…

  27. dingai says:

    Ad Hominem… Who cares how many papers he has published?!? This does not discredit his hypothesis that specific symptoms included in the criteria for the ADHD label may be caused by something other than genes. Resolve those, and you can "cure" the "ADHD"… which means that there was no "ADHD" condition in the first place. That is the point. We need new, scientifically valid diagnoses to distinguish legitimate neurological conditions from symptom cluster labels like "ADHD"…

  28. p O says:

    Stop giving these children speed. There are worse psychopaths destroying the plant for money, that should be drugged and made to believe they are different so don't have the confidence to succeed, we are targeting the wrong children.

  29. Deadlyaztec27 says:

    ADHD is real, but it is hard to.pinpoint who has it and who doesn't. This is because there are a TON of symptoms that ADHD shares with other things that may or may.not be detrimental to mental health.

  30. irik anji says:

    a clear message which makes perfect sense to me….

  31. SHOTbyGUN says:

    My right ear is not amused

  32. nappybiscuit says:

    I can't help but respect what he has to say but, he is asking way to much of parents or worse single parents.  The long you wait for a diagnosis the worse it will be for the individual in delayed learning.

  33. ttrev007 says:

    The important thing is that children get the support they need, no matter the label. If they can improve with a healthy diet then do so, but don't let labels keep you from getting the help for your child they need. Many children (with and without ADHD) can benefit from improved environment, diet, coping skills, meditation, etc…, but some really do need meds. I suffered longer than i should have because they ignored my ADHD while focusing on my depression. While i don't really fault them, i think hind-sight being 20/20, it would have done me a world of good treating it along with the depression…I also highly recommend learning meditation. So functionally i agree with the speakers suggestions, but i do worry about parents not going far enough when it is really necessary. Sometimes a diagnosis of ADHD is useful to get accommodations, that allow the child to function better, even if taking that final step of medicating your child is not needed.

  34. xoppa09 says:

    i love how different tedx videos contradict each other

  35. 5210smile says:

    When a teacher or parent thinks that non-focused student might have this (or any) problem, the *only* moral thing to do is to mention it to someone who's capable of diagnosing it. Just because someone thinks a kid may have it doesn't mean they'll be diagnosed, but if they do have this problem they need to have someone notice and point it out. No one can get proper treatment if they do not get diagnosed!

    Yes, we're getting better at diagnosing it. There was a time it was almost exclusively a male problem, not because girls don't get it, but because it presents very differently in most girls. 
    Parents aren't deathly afraid of labels, dr's are beginning to understand that it is a real problem that needs real medical treatment.
    There are many logical explanations for increased diagnosis.
    Of course it's possible other problems are overlooked, but that doesn't mean there's some vast conspiracy or all of our doctors are throwing drugs at kids.
    As for "school induced ADHD", the environment mentioned is not great for anyone, but it's much worse for those with ADD/ADHD – it's amplifies the symptoms. It may not be so much causing misdiagnoses, but actually making the problem more obvious.

    Yes, many things can cause symptoms similar to ADHD. Do you think any of those kids stop or change their habits if they begin meds? Giving Adderall to a neuro-typical brain, then adding other things like caffeine…just picture it. You're going to find out *really* quickly that the medication isn't working, they'll bounce off the walls!

    In the end, I'd love to see more developed mental healthcare in the world, especially for kids. If that leads to less ADD/ADHD diagnoses, great, I really don't care.
    My problem with people going on and on about how it's "not real" or it's "over diagnosed" and, my personal favorite "kids will be kids!" (based on *no* studies of ADD/ADHD and those of us who have it, just an idea), etc. the community of those suffering from this are being harmed.
    We need to focus more on comprehensive mental health reform and if this truly is a problem it will flush itself out. In the meantime, stop making it more difficult for real people with real problems to get the real treatment they really need.

  36. Martin Hallén says:

    I think less people had ADHD before because they didnt know they could have it or was afraid to accept having a problem. I have had ADD all my life, did the teachers and my parents rush me to be diagnosed? No not at all, they explained it by saying im disinterested, lazy, or perhaps thought of me as stupid/ slow learner. Perhaps they dont even know what ADD is. Should I now go and get a diagnosis it would look as ADD is increasing, but just because its not diagnosed doesnt mean it isnt there.
    ADHD is easier to spot but I suspect there are millions of people with ADD out there who are never diagnosed and never get the support or drugs they may need.

  37. Blaisem says:

    This guy is a douche. ADHD has been proven by many studies to not be rooted in hyperactivity. You don't reproduce ADHD by giving a child caffeine. You reproduce a superficial symptom. That's like saying inducing a cough means you've found the cause of bronchitis. He doesn't even attack any established studies or the DSM definition of ADD. The whole talk is based off his gut feeling ADHD is fake and overdiagnosed, then he talks about other possibilities without adequately defending the fundamental premise of his argument.

  38. Woffieee says:

    Gosh,,, How is anyone with ADHD supposed to listen to this? She's soooooo slow…

  39. Abady Saleh says:

    I admire the last phrase "before we put a medical diagnosis on a kid, and put them on medications, we have to be sure that we checked all the other possibilities before we decide that medical evaluation is the final resort."

  40. AlienTacoBar says:

    its ironic that i only watched through half the last ted talk and i landed on this

  41. rgkn says:

    this guy is the typical old man out to get the younger generation, i don't understand how he can ignore BRAIN SCANS? you know, PHYSICAL EVIDENCE??

  42. Mitch Rubiano says:

    I think Doctors overlook the psychology of each case. For example, a lack of focus in school may not be add or adhd. Instead, it could be that the kid just doesn't like school.Of course there may be cases that are true ADD or ADHD, but I really think outside factors are overlooked.Speaking of psychology, giving people diagnoses that don't exist or aren't true to some extent can damage the self-esteem of a person as well as make them believe they have a diagnosis. This can make patients act as if they have the diagnosis. This hurts the ability to be able to change the diagnosis after it has been made. So Doctors need to be careful.Kudos to this guy for speaking out.

  43. Jx says:

    I'm really starting to think I might have this. I can't watch a single youtube video without getting distracted and I alwayd zone out! I get so distracted easily. Am I overthinking the possibility that I might have ADHD? Does it matter if it's mild? say just in attention SOME of the time. Does that still count? Im so confused

  44. Winter Star says:

    Well done! Over diagnosis? Maybe. OR…maybe, the systems currently in place are labeling inconvenient people as having inconvenient conditions labels, which further marginalizes, and blocks developing better paradigms, better ways to help the affected, to optimize their different abilities. MAYbe, our education and social systems, are too narrow and exclusionary and to linear. MAYbe testing methods are flawed–at least some.
    There has been exponential increase in chemical interrupters and poor nutrition…things multiple industries have rabidly, with malfeasance, blocked populations knowing of, for several decades; corporations using very creative ways to falsify research, isolate effects of single items to minimize perceived impacts.

  45. Michael Vinciguerra says:

    Oh this is common sense. ADHD is so over diagnosed. Kids don't pay attention in history class and right away doctors want to put them on meds (so they make money) and mess these kids up with pills for the rest of their lives.
    Um. Hello? It's kids and history class. Of course they're not going to pay attention. Don't blame it on ADHD
    You don't just interject drugs into a kid's developing, impressionable mind.

  46. ARTYS.SPACE says:

    fucking moron. That's all. ADHD IS FUCKING REAL.

  47. ARTYS.SPACE says:

    Caffein also PREVENTS you from FALLING ASLEEP. It does NOT give you energy or cause you to become HYPERACTIVE. Next.

  48. Ygor Nimoy says:

    Heavy metal has helped me with my ADHD. But not the kind you find on the ground 🙂

  49. Theodore A Hoppe says:

    "According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 5 percent of American children suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), yet the diagnosis is given to some 15 percent of American children, many of whom are placed on powerful drugs with lifelong consequences."

  50. Saidra Gaucín says:

    In the U.S over diagnosis and in other countries, lack of diagnosis. I wish the research on this syndrome and experts increase in order to diagnose it when it is necessary.

  51. Elena Rios says:

    Greyzone .. " Think less and rely on science" ? really? You might as well preach "Christianity is the only way, don't question just follow"…. Science is the result of questioning thinking over thinking and answer seeking with a logical answer that explains nature and its existence. Did you think before typing anything in your comment at all?? I say think, question, seek, live and share new findings.

  52. Ricky Diesel says:

    I didn't like this talk.

  53. Carl Swanback says:

    You, like many others who think or have been labeled as ADHD you might actually be and Active-Alert:
    Here is the test:
    1. Does you child have a seemingly endless supply of energy?
    2. Can your child attend to a task, like being read to or playing a game with a parent?
    3. Does/did your child wake up often throughout the night or have difficulty getting to sleep (often seen as fidgeting)
    4. Does/did your child seem to need very little sleep as an infant or toddler?
    5. Would the last words from your child’s mouth be, “I am tired”.
    6. Does your child seem to “wind up” over the coarse of the day. That is, did their energy seem to build upon itself?
    7. Does your child’s memory of details amaze you?
    8. Is your child quick and bright in certain areas of learning?
    9. Does your child seem to have an unending wealth of “good ideas”.
    10. Does it seem as if your child tries to be the “boss” of your family or their friends?
    11. Does your child want his/her own way most of the time and have difficulty accepting a “no” answer?
    12. Did you miss the terrible twos in your child’s development because you never experienced anything different?
    13. In new situations is your child more uncertain or fearful than others?
    14. Is your child intensely emotional – very happy and or very sad with little in between?
    15. Does your child experience a pattern of moods – from positive to negative and back again that seem hard for him/her to control? I.e. very upset they are unable to accomplish something, will have a tantrum or pout and nothing you say or do seems to help except for distraction)
    16. Is it difficult for your child to play alone, especially up to age 6 or 7? (often they will want you as their playmate.
    17. Is it difficult for your child to determine how to be a good friend, that is, she/he either sits and watches others or tries to be the boss?
    18. Does your child think he/she is just terrific or totally stupid with little ability to believe that they might be just average or ok? A kind of all or nothing attitude.
    19. Do other people say they have no difficulties with your child?
    20. Do you sometimes wonder if your child has “read your mind?
    21. Does your child use logic to reason with you?
    If you answered YES to a majority of these questions you are probably an Active Alert!

    Bonus: Ask the professional accessing you or your child to explain what an Active-Alert is. If they can't then they can't possible give you a diagnosis worth paying for!!!

  54. Caractacus says:

    There are a few ideas here which are very poorly developed. For instance, is there not reason to suggest that adolescents and adults who drink caffeine, do so in order to fight symptoms of innattentiveness? Why would anyone drink coffee or stimulants in such excessive doses if they did not feel consistently sluggish in attention? Because they're addicted? Again, I think this is symptomatic rather than causal. ADHD is quite clearly a condition which encourages substance addictions such as coffee, sugar, and whatever else.

    Secondly, my diet as a child was very good. Free from the usual junk food, plenty of fruit and vegetables. I didn't really start eating more than I should until I was 6 or 7, before that I was bouncing off the walls independent of bad diet.

    With sleep deprivation, again, this seems to be symptomatic of ADHD. I had trouble sleeping through my teens, I would sometimes go to sleep at one end of the bed and wake up at the other. This is because my mind was restless at night. Even when I did get 8 or 9 hours of sleep a night, my memory was still heavily impaired and my attention was very poor throughout the day. I won't lie though, less sleep does exacerbate the symptoms.

    These suggestions you make seem suspiciously 'light' on facts. Where are the studies? Does the 'normal' teen who drinks alot of stimulants act the same way as one who is diagnosed with ADHD under controlled conditions? This is the kind of stuff you should be citing in order to be making these extraordinarily loose claims.

  55. Emily Lott says:

    one of the main characteristics of ADHD is that its prevalent in childhood, his concerns are within high school and are irrelevant

  56. Pankaj Ahuja says:

    I think the real question is if it should be treated at those ages.why study hard when you don't have a clue what you want to do with your life ?

  57. TheFernando9999 says:

    LOL ,I hold a chemistry degree , and a master in Eonomics ,and love teaching

  58. Joanne Mercader says:

    Celestine Prophecy. All children are sincerely considered sanctified and receive education that magnifies their potential as creative entities in embryos.

  59. Joanne Mercader says:

    Pills…for people? Brains need what to think in the way GEORGE ORWELL said was required in his book he wrote years ago called "1984". YIKES

  60. Joanne Mercader says:


  61. Joanne Mercader says:

    children in our schools today are the product of parents that were educated in these schools SO THEY HAD NO PARENTS SINCERELY EDUCATED

  62. chopstickz says:

    My left ear enjoyed this video

  63. Jamie Judson says:

    Maybe the number of diagnoses went up because people started to recognize that ADHD symptoms manifest differently in Female children and the "acting out" model of the kid with ADHD is more common in male children with ADHD, but Female children with ADHD tend to be more quiet and daydreamy. I do think we need to be careful of overdiagnosis, but it's better that we assume ADHD for a child, then take them to an expert in ADHD to get tested, rather than let them just feel like a failure for their entire school career….

  64. Matt Butler says:

    Explanations like this are always the best – thorough and considered – but it's so much easier to label it ADHD and take a pill!

  65. ME ME says:

    I agree.with you about children being over diagnosed. I am an adult with severe ADHD. In the 70s kids were not diagnosed with ADHD, we were called gifted and socially outgoing because we were so talkative. I finally found a doctor that felt with adult ADHD and went through two months of testing at a clinic that specialized in neurological and psych disorders before finally being officially diagnosed with what I knew was the issue all these years. Why aren't children tested the same way instead of being evaluated by their teachers in school that have no medical degree and sent to a doctor that prescribes meds solely on teacher's recommendation alone. Also with physical education no longer a daily part of a child's school day. Children are going to get antsy sitting in one place for hours at a time. Kids have a lot of energy and need to do something to release this built up energy. On the other hand. I'm in nursing school and my teachers think ADHD Is not a real disorder.

  66. ME ME says:

    I agree with you about the heavy metals. With this being said. ADHD and other neurological disorders will increase into the billions because of the nanoparticle metals being added to foods, cosmetics and vaccines. Especially since no one is regulating nanoparticle metals in the consumer market and the safety of short term and long term use.

  67. Kirsten Sternlieb says:


  68. Belinda Gagelman says:

    24 out of 26 Second Graders are taking either Ritalin or Adderall in just one class. He is correct. I see kids and adults drinking pop, eating junk and diagnosed with ADHD treated with Adderall and Ritalin. Cortisol hampers short-term memory because inability to concentrate. This is best I have seen on ADHD. I would love to see this same man address adult ADHD. My husband suffers from grad school pressure cooker stress and has "had to" start taking Adderall to keep up.

  69. Belinda Gagelman says:

    This fellow is correct. I habitually drank coffee to pep myself up. My husband thought I had ADHD due to inability to concentrate. My husband of 2 decades became stressed, diagnosed with ADHD, treated with Ritalin and Adderall, continues to drink excessive coffee, lost his mind recently due to audio visual hallucinations; perhaps owing to exhaustion as he regularly practices staying up for days on end "to do homework" that he has become incapable of completeing because he also has OCD. Time is spent instead on drilling down on minutia, and thus, not completing assignments. He drinks sugary health food beverages and refuses to return from office to eat proper measls, etc.

  70. Linda Donalds says:

    I was good for the first 6 minutes, but then he lost me at about the 7 minute mark in his talk. He has a big flaw in his thinking here. The first two reports in his graph (2003 and 2007) were based on voluntary reporting. Probably 2010 would have shown just another similar step up in 2010 – IF they had not decided to go calling all these offices to find out actual real numbers of UNreported referrals for medical ADHD testing. MAYBE in 2003 and 2007 there were actual similar numbers of referrals too, but we don't see those because of how those numbers were collected before (aka unreported). They made a change in 2010 for how they collected data — but this does not necessarily mean that there was a sudden leap in the actual number of ADHD diagnoses.

    Besides, we are learning more about ADHD through recent studies — information that is reaching parents, teachers and doctors — so we are more aware and there is less stigma today to being diagnosed with ADHD. Just look at how much easier it is today to quickly obtain information via the internet (all these YouTube videos), and how many more books have been published on the subject too, also available as digital e-books. We already know that many adults who do have ADHD have grown up without ever knowing they had it, because that information was not available. Either it was not accessible, or not published, or even not yet known. So the number of diagnoses is going to increase because of this growing knowledge. BUT even so, his comparison between the 2003-2007 statistics and 2010's still remains flawed.

    Listening further into his talk, yes I do agree with him – to a certain extent – that nutrition, sleep, stress, and social skills development are definitely contributors to all this lack of attention and focus. And the out-of-date ways of teaching in our schools too! We are definitely all living in a period of rapid change in this information & technology age.

  71. Jackie Cummings says:

    This speaker is really confusing. I just saying and I can't tell you why he is.

  72. Michelle says:

    My son has ADHD and had a hard and time in kindergarten and part of first grade and he was on medicine. He went to a small charter school and the school/teachers were aware of him being on medicine. Several times I forgot to give it to him and they called me to come down to the school to give it to him.

    Halfway through his first grade year I was able to take him off his medicine. I was able to make some changes and find his talents to channel his energy to. I didn't tell the school he stopped taking his medicine. FIVE MONTHS LATER, five entire months of my son going to school every day of the week (ok there was spring break in that time so minus a week), five entire months later I get a phone call…."Hi, this is Mrs. Teacher, your son has been hyperactive, disruptive I'm class, and unable to focus, I think maybe he didn't take his medicine today, could you bring it?"

    I laughed to myself and said, Mrs. Teacher, we took my son off his meds for FIVE MONTHS NOW. We have been managing his symptoms in other ways. Maybe he is just acting like a 7 year old boy?

    The teacher didn't know and assumed everyday he was on medicine and wasn't!

  73. jeffcaseltine says:

    Some of the comments here are insinuating Dr. Sousa is saying that there is no such thing as ADHD. That is not what he is saying at all. He is simply saying that some kids' behavior will mimic symptoms of people who have ADHD when they don't really suffer from ADHD. I fear there is an overdiagnosis of this disorder. I am a long time early education teacher and have kids at the beginning of the year whose behavior would lead some to believe that they have ADHD, but by the end of the year, these behaviors no longer exist. Some children can be taught to focus, relax, calm down or sit still by simply being taught routines, processes, and procedures. ADHD is a real diagnosis, but i don't think 18% of our children have it.

  74. Blueberrymint says:

    I get more focused, more controlled and when tired, get sleepy when I drink caffeïne… when i drink to much caffeïne i mostly feel it in my heartrate, and others report me being much more allert and reactive in conversation and in my work and they don't notice the hyperactivity (they even feel i have it less when i drank my coffee). when I'm trying to stay off the caffeïne and succeed for a few weeks, my problems tend to get worse and I have a lot of trouble with attention and inhibition (hyperfocussing almost every night, robbing me from my sleep :-/ ).
    But because i hate the increased heartrate en the increased heart burn (and an overall irritated digestive system) due to the caffeïne, I often tend to stay away from it. And keep it for those periods in life that i need it to survive (like exams or other taxing moments like one of my kids being sick)

    I'm thinking about getting diagnosed, I'm really starting to get convinced that I might have adhd.

  75. April Morone says:

    Nutrisweet Aspertame, etc., cause cancer. I did a report on that in 4th grade for school. The company actually sent me that information for me to use for my report for class. Within their information they sent me was the information about it causes cancer.

  76. Mona Charleston says:

    i slept perfect amount of time (8 hrs), ate fresh good food as a kid, was always allergic to all sort of preservatives and food coloring so I never ever was allowed to eat anything like that. I grew up in a good home without abuse, grew up without that much technology (grew up in the 90s, didn't have access to internet until the age of 12), went to a type of school that had the boring old-type of lecture-presentation but! my parents both have ADHD and so do I. Bc of a guy like this and his approach both my parents and I have been suppressing our symptoms of ADHD, feeling so bad comparing ourselves to other ppl all our lives that it seems to me this kind of talks do way more harm than good!

  77. CrystalBallon says:


  78. Arbinger Brasil says:

    Please, we need the email contact of Dr. Sousa directly or anyone from his team. Can anyone help us with that? Thanks!!!

  79. Sandor Rezmann says:

    Pharmaceuticals, big business.

  80. Lewis Hughes says:

    lol at the dislikes. Something suggests that you can't just take a pill for literally everything and people freak out.

  81. shrek donkey says:

    I'm 12 in kindergarten. The teachers told my mom to get me tested I was a problem with every one else' but my mom. I rock back in forth they told me I gots ADHD

  82. Surya Mohan says:

    it's not like psychologists spend time & actually study on disorders or anything

  83. Lerper Derper says:

    I was diagnosed with a severe case of adhd at the age of 4 and to this day I take meds every day ;/

  84. Hera Hagstoz says:

    This is a throw back to the idea that your symptoms are all either in your mind or caused by lazy parenting or ignorance of basic nutrition. While he does have some points, when people like him try to debunk the very existence of particular brain chemistry/biology and say it's not a true health condition (really he is arguing for nurture over nature) that is not deserving of medical treatment and care, he only creates a rip in the conversation into which all conspiracy theories, fringe health ideas, and confusion fall into and fester, creating a hurdle and at worst setting back the forward momentum that science and more attention is bringing to this condition. Sure ADHD is exacerbated by our current environment and cultural institutions. I'm agreeing that bad diet certainly is probably very harmful. But even in the most utopian of external environments this condition would still manifest and need assistance to live with the symptoms.

    Listening to him makes me upset because I can only imagine how many people he has convinced that it's all them and they just should try harder to change themselves or pursue their children to be better Inside and out. Also, I tried to find out more about this man and could not. ?

  85. Aaron D'Lay says:

    Am I the only person with ADHD that agrees with Dr. Sousa? I am aware that some thoughts in his presentation are less complete than others but they are not to be disregarded as untrue. Also, it has yet to be pointed out that THE TIME THE DATA WAS TAKEN IS UNDENIABLY IMPORTANT. This data he is referring to for the diagnoses graph is from 2003-2010. The earliest data used in the talk was observed around 8 years ago. Some of the comments are from 1-3 years ago claiming that he doesn't know what he is talking about. I don't think he got his degree from a motel bathroom, but if he did then those stalls had a lot of good points. I mean the earliest data set used was from 15 years ago. This video was also probably not even filmed in 2013 from the looks of it either (no offense). I believe his points, no matter how not actually scientific they may be, are relevant. He USES scientific data to prove that his point has potential. Children are being prescribed these kinds of medications too early in life. That is an fact researched and agreed upon by many doctors because of the impact it has on brain development. The individual is also at risk of becoming severely dependent on the drug over time and especially in adolescents. More often than mentioned, patients reach a point of being debilitated without it. What I interpret Dr. Sousa is trying to point out is that we need to make sure these people need the drug before we diagnose ADHD. For instance, psychological therapy helps families and children avoid accidentally prescribing pharmaceuticals for something as simple as sleep deprivation or anxiety (understanding that anxiety can sometimes be related to forms of ADHD — I mean it in an unrelated fashion). Today we have a system of prior stages of help before medicinal assistance that we didn't have a few years ago. So yes, Dr. Sousa is absolutely correct and any statement that argues he is wrong, especially using data taken time following this presentation, should be recognized as invalid.

  86. PrivateSi says:

    Overdiagnosed and promoted by Lefties that want to give kids and parents an excuse for their inadequacies and 'normalise' everyone plus doctors / drug companies that profit from selling kids' parents addictive drugs.

  87. Zeinab Afshar says:

    i am not diagnos with adhd but i and my mom have that and i dont drynk coffen

  88. k1lbik says:

    adhd is so much more than just being hyperactive, its not always ur body thats hyperactive and wants to jump around, could also be ur brain going from idea to idea…

  89. Sigal Smadar says:

    aspartame is NOT safe for humans period!

  90. Matt B says:

    Hyperactivity isn't the only symptom of ADHD, some people with it don't even have hyperactivity. I believe he should research this disorder before he starts claiming people don't have it.

  91. Angela The Creative One says:

    Amazing information.

  92. nick says:

    Dr. conners (the father of ADHD) writes: "For many years I interpreted everything about ADHD in a positive light: the increased research funding and accumulating research findings; the increased clinical awareness; more kids being treated with stimulants; the interest of parents and teachers; legislation making ADHD kids candidates for Special Ed; even drug company support for medical education and parents’ groups like CHADD. All seemed to be positive solutions to an important problem facing many families and school systems.

    But then one day I was asked to give a talk on what is the true prevalence of ADHD, as shown by empirical data. I was already aware that in some circles America is a laughingstock for its love affair with the idea of ADHD. Massive European birth registries show far lower rates than those being reported in the U.S. And my wife, who is a school psychologist, was telling me that any misbehaving kid in school would be quickly labeled ADHD by teachers.

    I was always suspicious that the high rates of “diagnosis” and prescription for ADHD came about because researchers based their figures on reports from parents, who in turn based their beliefs on teachers or doctors with no credible evidence. However large a massive survey, the data are pretty much worthless for one simple reason: there is no thorough history taking and hands-on clinical diagnosis. Large numbers of participants in a study guarantee sloppy diagnoses done via telephone interviews conducted by non clinicians. Careful diagnosis by clinicians is simply too expensive. The reported rates are inaccurate and exaggerated, upper limits not true prevalence.

    There was one exception in the literature, a massive study in the Western counties of North Carolina by two epidemiologists at Duke University. The investigators, Adrian Angold and Jane Costello, interviewed thousands of parents AND THEIR CHILDREN, using the latest epidemiological methods. They devised a comprehensive interview schedule and trained dozens of interviewers with a thesaurus that made sure the same inquiry took place exactly the same way for each family. For the first time, this highly praised award-winning study had both large numbers and detailed clinical examination.

    The results of this amazing project were startling. Only about 1-2% qualified as ADHD. Moreover, many children not sick at all had been given a stimulant drug. Also there were some children who actually qualified for the diagnosis of ADHD who never were identified by a mental health professional; there was both over-diagnosis and under- diagnosis. The findings were replicated in successive rounds of follow-on studies.

    It seems obvious to me that the steady increases over time In the apparent high prevalence of ADHD is due to doctor practices fueled by the shoddy science and allure of the big numbers, without the only meaningful ingredient of a comprehensive clinical history. Doctors on the front line who only have 20 minutes to get a story from a parent or to follow with medication checks or alternative therapies, are under pressure that guarantee mistakes with a complex disorder like ADHD.

    My review suddenly flipped my perception. I felt and announced to stunned colleagues that the over-diagnosis of ADHD was “an epidemic of tragic proportions.” Tragic because many kids get the wrong diagnosis and really have a different problem that needs a different treatment: or they are normal youngsters given a treatment they don’t need; or the drugs prescribed for them are given away or sold to other students wanting a quick fix for studying or partying—a reason why schools and colleges now have huge numbers of students using stimulant drugs, and why emergency rooms are increasingly overwhelmed with overdosing youngsters.

    Alan Schwartz of the New York Times exposed how disease-mongering and ruthless advertising by big Pharma had fed an eager medical system with false data, also capitalizing on the cooperation of unscrupulous “thought leaders” in child psychiatry. Doctors of course bear a lot of the responsibility- prescriptions for stimulant drugs can only come from doctors. Most hard-working primary care or general pediatric practitioners mean well but have too little time to really get to know their patients and too little expertise to be skeptical of misleading Pharma propaganda.

    I am alarmed to see how even some of my most respected colleagues deny the facts and bury their head in the sand. I recently talked to one of these highly published senior professors who has a “Distinguished Chair of Psychiatry and Genetics” and many publications on ADHD. I asked him what he thought about the New York Times revelations on the role of pharmaceutical companies in promoting over-diagnosis. He said, ‘I really don’t know that much about the numbers; I’m not an expert in epidemiology.’

    Well, neither am I, but I know how to tell the difference between studies relying on telephone interviews of parents and those doing an actual meaningful clinical assessment. In today’s ADHD world the detailed family and developmental history has been replaced by word of mouth from parents and teachers and quickie interviews, largely by untrained primary care or general pediatric practitioners.

    I now believe that ADHD is part of a normal continuum going from very mild restlessness and Inattention to a severe form that requires treatment and skilled diagnostic assessment by well-trained clinicians.”

  93. Birgitte oestby says:

    I am already distracted and lost my focus…

  94. blastman8888 says:

    If you have your kid diagnosed with ADHD they be highly restricted what they can do in the military, or become a pilot the FAA considers ADHD life long disqualifying illness even get a private pilots licenses. Many kids were diagnosed by their family GP who has no training, but is getting kickbacks from drug companies to push their drugs.

  95. Stepho D says:

    I believe stimulants (like caffeine) work differently for a lot of ADHD brains. they calm them down and can even make them sleepy. most adhd medication is stimulant medication and I doubt they would feed something that would hype up a kid to someone already hyperactive. I may be wrong. another flaw is his lack of understanding about the condition. though thats probably for convenience to support his argument. he only talks about one POSSIBLE symptom or presentation. some people need medication and any good doctor will rule out other possibilities.

  96. pharmabuse says:

    There's some decent content here. Problem is, he starts out his talk with two underlying suppositions that haven't been proven: a) ADHD is a genetic disorder; and b) ADHD is a spectral disorder. If ADHD was a genetic disorder, there'd be a simple genetic test to diagnose the disorder. Such a diagnostic test does not exist. Diagnosis is performed through subjective rating scales and/or based on DSM-5 diagnostic criteria. Likewise, some are advocating for ADHD to be categorized as a spectral disorder, like Autism Spectrum Disorder. So far ADHD has not been recognized as a spectral disorder. These people argue that not meeting the (already loose) DSM-5 diagnostic criteria deprives some patients of needed ADHD treatment. The effect of turning ADHD into a spectral disorder would be an increase in misdiagnosis and mistreatment/over-medication, the very problems the speaker warns of later in his talk.

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