Tens of thousands of children are being misdiagnosed with ADHD because they are the youngest in their class and their immaturity is being mistaken for hyperactivity, a study has suggested.
More caution before diagnosed with ADHD
Children who were born late in the school year and so are almost 12 months younger than their oldest classmates are more likely to be diagnosed and given medication like Ritalin for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it was found.
They are being 'inappropriately labeled and treated' the authors said.
Greater caution should be given to making the diagnosis in order to prevent children from being given potentially harmful medicines without justification, they said.
50 percent greater chance of being treated for ADHD
There are thought to be around 1.7m people with attention deficit problems in Britain with between three and seven per cent of school age children affected.
There is no data collected on how many children in Britain are on drugs for the problem but in 2010 there were over 850,000 prescriptions dispensed for medicines to treat the condition in England and Wales at a cost of almost £44m.
The study was conducted on children in British Columbia in Canada where the school year coincides with the calendar year.
It was found that children born in December, so the youngest in their school year, were 40 per cent more likely to be diagnosed and almost 50 per cent more likely to be treated for ADHD than children born in January, the start of the school year.
Read the article on The Telegraph