There has been some amount of controversy about adults being newly diagnosed and then treated for Attention Deficit Disorder, when it is a disorder that is “supposed” to be present from childhood. Mind Games –Attention Deficit Disorder Isn’t for Kids. Why Adults are now being Diagnosed Too was an article that tries to explain it, and does only a fair job of doing so.

Needless to say, there is much apparent uncertainty in the general public already with the diagnosis and medication treatment of children and teenagers of ADHD, and now many college campuses are filled with stories of Adderall or Ritalin for sale for student usage before finals. However, in the mental health community, the criteria for ADD/ADHD (the H, for hyperactivity can be a separate part of the disorder) is well established in the DSM – IV and does a fairly good job at identifying the spectrum of symptoms found whether for children or adults: forgetfulness, lack of focus, tuning others out, lack of organization, difficulty with planning, hyperactivity or impulsivity.

Adults sometimes get diagnosed when one of their children gets a diagnosis of ADD, as it very often runs in families and can be manifested in one or both parents (“So that is why I always seem to have trouble with….”). Some adults may find that they never could really focus, and never thought about ADD, and still others had adopted a variety of coping methods to deal with their difficulties, and find that their system no longer works like it used to (increased demands at work or home, juggling more things, emotional stress). The screening test that the WSJ includes doesn’t work well for me because it includes too many questions about emotional up and downs that could be due to many problems other than ADHD (anxiety, bipolar, depression). I prefer the diagnostic criteria provided by DSM- IV and find them pretty reliable. I would echo the article in that medications tailored to the individual, behavioral treatment, and an ADD coach can truly make a difference in the person’s life.

I often find the Wall Street Journal medical articles informative, even for me, and very accurate. In this instance, I was very disappointed by the whole thing.