For psychological disorders, a thoughtful and accurate diagnosis is key to developing an effective treatment plan. What adolescent does not have occasional concentration problems in class? Does this mean that he/she has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? Similarly what teen isn’t moody from time to time? Do we diagnosis him/her with Bipolar Disorder? Many mental health professionals would agree that these two disorders are highly over diagnosed in children and adolescents. This is a significant concern because both ADHD and Bipolar Disorder are typically treated with strong psychoactive drugs. Once diagnosed, patients may be on these drugs for the rest of their lives.
The accuracy of a diagnosis is a function of gathering information from multiple sources and thoughtfully ruling out other variables that may better explain the symptoms. For example poor concentration is also a symptom of depression. Some would argue that mood swings are a normal function of hormonal changes in adolescence. We encourage you to consider schedule an initial assessment with Dr. Jan Hittelman, BPS Director. Jan will work with you to determine what your child’s specific issues are and if medication is indicated.In the end the cost of a thorough assessment may be far less than the impact of an incorrect diagnosis.