With increased diagnoses has come widespread concern about the degree of overdiagnosis. This concern is compounded by related increases in use of medications to treat ADHD. Errors are common when diagnoses of ADHD are made. These include indicating a person has ADHD when they do not (designated as a false positive), indicating a person doesn't have ADHD when they do (designated as a false negative), or misclassifying the person's problem. In this respect, some argue that rising ADHD prevalence rates reflect many false positives; others argue the increases reflect a reduction in false negatives.
Variations within and across nations suggest the role of cultural and societal factors in determining rates of diagnosis. For example, in the U.S., cultural attitudes about special education labels such as ADHD and LD, and school accountability policies and pressures have been identified as playing a role in overdiagnoses. For example, in order to meet accountability standards and avoid being designated as low performing schools, districts try to exclude or at least ensure special accommodations for special education students in order to report higher test score averages.
|Those arguing that
overdiagnosis is a significant problem suggest that:
|Examples of efforts to counter
such arguments suggest that in discussing
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