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How can an ADHD diagnosis cause problems in a child?

The main problem with the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is that the child internalizes that they have a deficit and a disorder. They come to think of themselves as somehow fundamentally flawed. This can lead to a self-fulfilling prophesy. Lots of research has shown that in the classroom, kids live up to their teachers and parents expectations. If the diagnosis conveys expectations that these children will be behaviorally disturbed, the children are more likely to actually act behaviorally disturbed.

Additionally, many of the symptoms of ADHD can result from low self-esteem which the diagnosis may play a role in creating in these children. For example, if I'm told I have a fundamental deficit, I may adopt a "why try?" attitude which decreases my motivation and decreases perseverance. We know that 50-75% of academic success is dependent on factors such as persistence and motivation. So we are increasing the likelihood of academic failure by giving this diagnosis.

In addition, the diagnosis can convey that the child cannot control his own behavior. A child may be less likely to exercise control because they believe the diagnosis is something they have that makes them act in disruptive ways. This can lead to a "my ADHD made me do it" syndrome which decreases a child's behavioral control.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.