Alphabet Kids

Finding your way through psychiatric labels for kids.

Lindsay Lohan latest victim of ADHD misdiagnosis and Adderall abuse

ADHD is easily misdiagnosed causing dangerous results; ask Lindsay Lohan.

There is hardly another neurobiological disorder that's as both overdiagnosed and underdiagnosed as Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). And going hand-in-hand with that is the overprescribing and underprescribing of AD/HD drugs. It is reported that 3.3 million children have AD/HD in the United States, and it is believed that many of those children are misdiagnosed, especially girls. And then there are those children who do have AD/HD and are underdiagnosed.

AD/HD isn't always about hyperactivity; it can also be exhibited by inattentive and "daydreamy" behavior.

We've all been reading about the young, troubled actress Lindsay Lohan, following her out-of-control exploits. It's been hard to avoid reading or viewing some report on this trainwreck. But the latest bit of news about LiLo makes sense: Blame her behavior on a misdiagnosis of AD/HD and the improper prescribing of the AD/HD drug Adderall on which she became dependent...well, actually, addicted.

It has been reported that the doctors at the UCLA rehab facility where Lohan received treatment discovered that her Adderall use never should have happened in the first place, because she does not, in fact, have AD/HD. She, like so many others, was misdiagnosed. AD/HD symptoms are easily mistaken for a wide variety of behaviors and disorders from autism and auditory processing disorder to depression and even normal behavior.

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

When patients take Adderall when they don't need it, it can have very serious side effects, similar to manic behavior by meth or cocaine users. It also creates sleep disturbances and a whole new vicious cycle occurs when the patient starts self-medicating, including embarking on alcoholism.

Lohan's wild behavior fits the scenario perfectly say the UCLA docs.

Adderall is an amphetamine and a dextroamphetaine, a psychostimulant that's not only used for AD/HD, but also for narcolepsy. The drug is often abused, and also like other stimulants, even used for weight loss. Research has shown that patients, who have true AD/HD, have responded positively to Adderall, lessening their manic activity. According to the National Institute of Mental Health: "For many children, AD/HD medications reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve their ability to focus, work, and learn. Medication also may improve physical coordination." That's one of the tests of true hyperactive AD/HD, being sedated by a stimulant.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, prescriptions written for AD/HD has risen by 500 percent in the last ten years.

Adderrall is approved for use in children from age 3 and up.

That is if you want your kid to be like Lindsay Lohan.

For more detailed information on the various forms of AD/HD and other related or similar disorders read Alphabet Kids: A Guide to Developmental, Neurobiological and Psychological Disorders for Parents and Professionals.

Robbie Woliver is a journalist and editor. He is the author of the book Alphabet Kids.

more...

Subscribe to Alphabet Kids

Current Issue

Just Say It

When and how should we open up to loved ones?