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Will ADHD diagnoses lead to medical malpractice suits?

There is some controversy in the medical community about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Some critics argue that the illness is overdiagnosed, and that some children who are diagnosed with it actually do not and should instead be considered gifted. The medicines prescribed to individuals with ADHD have been shown to be addictive and lead to permanent changes in the brain. Will some California doctors then be charged with medical malpractice if a non-ADHD child becomes addicted to ADHD drugs? 

Parallels exist between the gifted designation and the diagnosis of ADHD. Both types of children can be bored, lack focus, have high energy and have problems with authority figures, but the issues of the gifted child are due to a lack of attention to their needs. With increased stimulation, the gifted child may adapt very well. An ADHD child will not be able to focus or adapt well to social situations with the same type of enriched intellectual environment as the gifted child. In such a case, medication may be required. 

Common ADHD drugs, such as methylphenidate, have addictive potential. They have also been shown to limit the brains plasticity. Individuals who take potent ADHD drugs find that they need to increase the amount of drugs taken in order to achieve the same results.

Should doctors be held responsible for individuals who then become addicted to drugs because of an inaccurate diagnosis? It is an important concern. Some may call this behavior medical malpractice. In California, victims of medical malpractice may choose to consult with an attorney in order to determine the soundness of their case. 

Source:, "Watchdog Group Alerts Parents and Teachers About Gifted Children Being Mislabeled "ADHD" and Given Stimulant Drugs", Aug. 9, 2017

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