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Thread: Do you think some medical conditions are being mis/overdiagnosed?

  1. #1

    Default Do you think some medical conditions are being mis/overdiagnosed?

    I thought about making this thread mostly because of several threads I have read on the topic of AS/Autism, where many people seem to be of the opinion it is being over diagnosed and misdiagnosed just to get someone a label.

    This is not the only thing, there seems to be growing amounts of children diagnosed with ADHD/ADD where I'm sure some of those cases are just lack of parental control or other circumstances.

    The last one I'm going to bring up is dyslexia. Now dyslexia and another learning disability dyspraxia should be nearly as common as each other. How come then hardly anyone has heard of dyspraxia (teachers included!) and virtually no-one knows somebody with it - I only know of a few other people, but everyone seems to know somebody with dyslexia. Does this mean dyslexia is being overdiagnosed?

    Interestingly there is a significant overlap between dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and AS which may have contributed with people being diagnosed with more than one.

    So what do you think:
    Are professionals being to quick to slap a label on somebody without investigating?
    What effects do you think this has?

    Personally I think the over diagnosis of some conditions seems to trivialise people's view of them, thus making it hard for people who really have a problem with them.

    Note: this was written by somebody who is living in the UK, I am aware that if you live somewhere else then the conditions may have different names. (If they do can you please notify me so I can add it in.)

  2. #2


    In the U.S. and especially here in Lynchburg, VA, the school systems are very thorough in their diagnosis of these conditions. I know this because my wife has been department head for special education at a Junior High School for a good 25 years. First the student is evaluated by his teachers. Then there are a number of meetings with teachers and parents, as well as specific tests given. The student also has to have medical evaluations done by doctors. All of this is documented and stays with the student in their school records. Typically, the student is not officially identified for a number of years, often by the time they are going into junior high, so as not to type them into a category. The parent has the right to dispute the diagnosis at any time, and must sign papers and agree to the diagnosis before anything is acted upon.

    Working and teaching in the same school, observing these students, I don't think we miss the mark. Out of over 600 students, we only had two this year diagnosed with Ausburger's, and none as Autistic. We have a number who qualify as AD/Hd, some who are medicine, and some who are not. From what I have read, particularly on this site, I believe the U.S. has been well ahead of the U.K. in these regards.

  3. #3


    I was misdiagnosed as ADD when it was the trendy childhood problem, turns out it was the onset of depression haha, that was 4th grade. Then in highschool when stuff got crazy again doc's treated me for depression which was the exact WRONG thing to do at the time. Turns out I'm bipolar now, so two for two I've got a couple diagnosis' of myself under my belt however I always get an expert opinion. Doc's always say "You're right" through their teeth; averge time to get a proper diagnosis for a psychiatrist is currently 5 years, psychologist takes about 3 years. (Stats for out-patient, typical 1 hour sessions.) I honestly forget which book I was reading in my college library for some of the stranger info, was in print around 07 I believe and included a lot of DSM-IV studies.

    Major Depressive Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder tend to be really trendy labels among teens these days. Also so many of my friends love love love to dub themselves with these illnesses. At least everyone I talk to that is my age; they think their hot shit in a wine glass after a week in the ward because they couldn't handle a relationship.

    Personally I don't think its a pissing contest or something to be proud of. I have a lot of problems that keep me from working full time, or going to school full time, or doing anything to my full potential (trust me I've tried). Also bipolar disorder by its nature typically tricks the person with it to think nothing is wrong. This and schizophrenia have been confirmed to be physical abnormalities in the brain and classifies as a disease. Thought patterns tend to work in less than linear ways hence "trick you".

    While I'm told I'm particularly brilliant at times I also have to contend with this until the day I die which is why I F*@(*NG HATE when people throw the term around like its a damned contest. In my experience most doctors tend to think 'oh lets try this and see what happens'. I've had episodes triggered and been landed back in the ER because of such trial and error. I honestly don't want to know how bad my heart, liver, and kidneys are because of that kind of bullshit which leads to SI.

    I'll cut myself off here....yes I have an axe to grind with the system. So yeah I think I answered OP's 3 big questions.

    So what do you think:
    Are professionals being to quick to slap a label on somebody without investigating?
    What effects do you think this has?

    Personally I think the over diagnosis of some conditions seems to trivialise people's view of them, thus making it hard for people who really have a problem with them.

  4. #4


    I think Aspergers and ADD/HD are both highly overdiagnosed in modern society... especially among the young.

    The actual percentage of people with Aspergers in the real world is between 0.5% and 1.5% depending on who you ask.

    Yet among online communities the rate of people who claim to have Aspergers runs somewhere between 5% and 10%.

  5. #5


    I'm going with Darkfinn on this one.

    ADHD is overdiagnosed due to self-diagnosis and just plain old overdiagnosis.

    Aspergers is due to self-diagnosis.

  6. #6


    I think in some places Aspergers is under-diagonsed, I didnt know anyone growing up who had it I sure wish I had of been diagnosed as a teenager and maybe i would of been able to understand myself better and had of gotten some help for it. I might have even been able to go on to finish high school or something.

  7. #7


    Probably most mental "disease" would fall into that category. Not to demean people that may or may not have them... but it's only logical that this would be the case. If you can't diagnose it using physical evidence and understand it, yet you'll still diagnose it...

    But there are non-mental diagnoses similar to this... like IBS. IBS isn't really even a real diagnosis... it's just a lumping together of a large number of symptoms with no known cause... and these symptoms are very generic. "You have IBS", the majority of the time means: "I don't know what's wrong with you, but obviously something is" or "It's expensive and time consuming to be more exact, so for whatever reason I'm not going to be".

    I'm tempted to say doctors should not be allowed to diagnose people with IBS for the simple fact that it's being used as a catch all and a crutch.

  8. #8


    Doctors have became aware there are different levels of autism and AS is more recognized than it was in the 1990's. I don't know if many are being misdiagnosed. I am not going to assume someone doesn't have it. It seems like a common thing many people have but things stand out more when it's mentioned so it seems like all the time. But I bet it makes people wonder how many others are being diagnosed with it but they don't broadcast it in the news or online.

    I was diagnosed with different things in the 90's. ADD, Dyspraxia, Language processing Disorder, Sensory ingretion dysfunction, and I had very poor social skills. Sometimes I wonder if I am one of those kids misdiagnosed with ADD because some symptoms with it overlap with AS. I had a very short attention span when I was a kid and could not stay focused. I was very hyper and impulsive and compulsive. The last diagnoses I have had (which was 1997) was AS, depression and anxiety and of course OCD which I don't really have. My mom says I was never diagnosed with OCD but it's in my medical records and she says I do not have that. I think it was because I was very obsessed with cleaning then and now I am not so obsessed with it anymore. I used to be a perfectionist too but now I am not anymore so I guess I overcame my OCD. I no longer have depression because there is nothing in my life to make me depressed. I have a husband now so I'm happy. I hated being single so it made me depressed but I lived with it and blocked it out. I'm just happy I won't be single for life and I have a chance of having kids since I have a partner. I also outgrew my dyspraxia, because I had OT and my balance got better. Still not good as other people but it's good for an aspie. I can jump on one foot, walk on my heels, jump, throw a ball, catch a ball, sit on a bouncy ball, walk in a straight line. Only things I struggled in was in warm ups in PE in my high school years and jumping up and down the bleachers on one foot. Other kids could do it so fast and they made it look easy but for me it was awkward. But I still did it because I did not expect special treatment to not do them. I just did it very slow and used the hand rails and was the last person finished. But when I was 18, I notice how easier the warm ups were so it must have been me walking on the treadmill that helped my balance. I have no idea where my balance level is at but I think it's darn good.

    I have been suspected for having ADHD but was never diagnosed with that, it was ADD instead.

  9. #9


    I'm not sure about the others, but I'm sure ADD/ADHD are overdiagnosed, probably because it's self-diagnosed. There are alot of parents that think their kids, when they're young, should be able to sit in class quietly and if they act at all hyper they must have ADD or ADHD. In most cases, not to say that there aren't those that really have it, the kid might just prefer to play (what kid doesn't?). Except instead of trying to deal with it, some parents just try to find an easy way to solve it, in other words put them on medication to make them sit still. That's only my two cents on it.

  10. #10


    I have adhd, tourettes, ocd, ddd, odd, and the list goes on and on. I don't really think that they are overdiagnosed in the sense that that isn't the cause of problems, but I do find it concerning that so many people have those problems. Just my $0.02

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