Researchers at the Norwegian Public Health Institute have read a record of 549 children under the age of 12 who have been diagnosed with ADHD.
In four out of ten discs, there was an incorrect match between the diagnosis set and what was written about the child in the newspaper.
"We can not confirm that these children do not have ADHD, but what we read in the newspapers indicates that they do not fit the diagnostic criteria," says doctor and researcher Pål Surén.
Physicians diagnosing the diagnosis often do not investigate other possible explanations when a child shows signs of hyperactivity, impulsivity and concentration difficulties, according to the report.
When researchers compare professional environments, it seems that there are major differences that can only be explained by the different opinions about where the list of ADHD diagnoses should be added.
In Western Agder only 1.4 percent of the children have been diagnosed at the age of 12. In Hedmark, the figure is almost four times as high, 5.5 percent.
Get the most diagnoses in the country
BUP on Hamar welcomes children from the immediate area with difficulties that may indicate ADHD.
Here, you investigate and chart the problems, talk with the children, with parents and teachers, and do tests. Then they evaluate the diagnosis and make a treatment plan. Some of the children take medicine.
Ingvild Svenkerud Aasen, Head of BUP Hedmark, is aware that they are among those who make most ADHD diagnoses in the country. The danger is that they end up with ADHD before other reasons are thoroughly investigated, she says.
She tells them that they are now working to improve.
– Diagnosis of ADHD is discretionary. Inability and concentration difficulties are something that many children have, without ADHD.
Psychologist and former child counselor Reidar Hjermann believes that many children receive ADHD diagnosis in Norway today.
He also knows examples of the fact that the professional believed ADHD symptoms later proved to be trauma after violence.
– The ADHD diagnosis can cover difficult things in children's lives. Responsible adults should focus on revealing what's happening in the home instead of looking for what's wrong with the child.
A diagnosis on incorrect grounds can have major consequences for the children, "Hjermann said. It can put them in stalls, affect their self-esteem and if the diagnosis depends on them, they can later exclude them from certain high-security jobs.
In addition, medicines may have side effects, in some cases the children become more "flat".
"In a couple of decades, we will look back when we live now, as a time when we medicated a large proportion of children's populations and gave them a diagnosis that created more problems than it helped them. I'm convinced," says Hjermann.
Requires clearer guidelines
The researchers at the National Institute of Public Health consider that professionals around the country need clearer guidelines than today must be in place for an ADHD diagnosis to be made.
"ADHD is generally a diagnosis that is challenging to silence. It's all the more important that you are careful in the investigation," says Pål Surén.
He does not know if there are too many with ADHD diagnosis today, children with severe difficulties with hyperactivity and concentration failure have a good effect of medication and other measures.
"We are concerned that the diagnosis is being used correctly and that it is the right child who gets it," says Surén.
Department Director Geir-Stene Larsen of the Health Board says that it is important for both the patient and the treatment that an ADHD diagnosis is made correctly and that the doctor has ruled out that there are other reasons for the child having difficulty.
– This is described in the guidelines and therefore it is also important that these are followed. It is worrying if this is not done in half of the cases.