Studies have shown different rates of ADHD among young people, ranging from one per cent to 13 per cent, and according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, ADHD is three to four times more common in boys than girls.
But, in a recent story on The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti, she says increasingly doctors and researchers who study the condition believe those numbers can mean girls are being under-diagnosed with ADHD or misdiagnosed altogether. That’s because ADHD can look very different in girls than it does in boys, and mental health experts say misdiagnosing or missing ADHD in girls can lead to mental health issues in adulthood.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common disorders among young people. It affects attention span and concentration and can also affect how impulsive and active the person is.
Most young people are, at times, inattentive, distractible, impulsive or highly active. They may have ADHD if such behaviours occur more frequently and are more severe than is considered average among young people of the same age or developmental level. A diagnosis of ADHD might also result if the behaviours persist over time and negatively affect the person’s family and his or her social and school life.
Given the large segment of the population ADHD effects, greater awareness and understanding of the disorder is important and early diagnosis is critical.
There are several resource and support organizations available throughout Canada (see below), but the questions are:
- Do family doctors have enough resources to diagnosis or refer children to the right specialists?
- Do parents have access to the resources needed to understand the signs and symptoms of the disorder and the differences between girls and boys with ADHD?
- Are schools equipped with the knowledge, tools and resources to support early diagnosis?
- Who’s role should it be to ensure correct early diagnosis occurs?
Canadian Support and Resource Centres for ADHD:
Centre for ADHD Awareness – Canada (CADDAC)
The Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada (CADDAC), formerly Centre for ADD/ADHD Advocacy, Canada, is a national, not-for-profit organization providing leadership in education and advocacy for ADHD organizations and individuals with ADHD across Canada. CADDAC takes a national leadership role in networking all organizations, professionals, patients, caregivers, and other stakeholders involved in ADHD related issues. CADDAC provides support through education and advocacy.
The Canadian Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Resource Alliance (CADDRA)
CADDRA is a national, independent, not-for-profit association. CADDRA is the voice of doctors who support patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and their families. As leaders in the field, CADDRA members conduct research, treat patients, and design practice guidelines for treating ADHD.
Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
CHADD is the leading non-profit organization in the United States serving individuals with ADHD and their families. CHADD has over 16,000 members in 200 local chapters throughout the U.S. Chapters offer support for individuals, parents, teachers, professionals, and others.