ADHD Medication: Making the Right Diagnoses Part 1

A recent article in USA Today, “Using ADHD Drugs as Study Aid Isn’t Smart,” by Kim Painter, was right on target to underscore the need for the Focus-MD approach to diagnose and treat attention problems. Thirteen to 25-year-olds are more and more overusing, misusing and abusing ADHD stimulants. Teens, young adults and even parents are increasingly seeking stimulants for performance enhancement- and obtaining medication is no problem for most of them. The symptoms of ADHD are widely known, the DSM 5 are readily available to anyone with Internet access, and too many physicians rush to prescribe these stimulants without adequate information.

The USA Today article points out that the American Academy of Neurology, the Child Neurology Society and the American Neurological Association have joined the American Academy of Pediatrics to warn patients and physicians about the dangers of neuroenhancement with stimulants in individuals who don’t have ADHD.

Ben Vitiello, Chief of Treatment and Intervention at the National Institutes of Health, points out a very real practical problem in the fight against this practice, “Many patients fall into a gray area between having a clear disorder and being totally normal.” When doctors use only subjective tests, the gray area becomes very confusing. Making a diagnosis Focus-MD’s way by using a modern medical, neurological approach is much smarter and safer.

The Focus-MD approach of combining comprehensive, guideline driven assessment with FDA cleared objective testing of motion and attention allows our clinicians better data to ensure more accurate diagnosis. Our system helps us avoid mislabeling kids by over or under-diagnosis. Adding the objective neurological testing also helps us avoid prescribing medication for neuroenhancement by eliminating much of the subjective gray area.

Using an evidence-based plan of follow up, dose titration, clinical evaluation, and objective testing of symptom change and side effects usually allows Focus-MD clinicians to achieve dose optimization for patients in weeks to months.

Dr. Wiley is board certified in Pediatrics. He practiced general pediatrics at Dothan Pediatric Clinic in Dothan AL for almost 20 years before moving to Mobile in 2008 and founding Focus.

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