'Immature' children being overprescribed with ADHD medication

Fresh claims have emerged that Australian kindergarten students are being overmedicated for ADHD when the real cause of their “hyperactivity” might be much simpler - they’re just young.

A new study found that children born in June, the recommended cut off date for school admission, were twice as likely to receive medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than their older classmates.

More than 300,000 schoolchildren were analysed by researchers from Western Australia’s Curtin University for a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia with their findings echoing results from North American studies.

“This indicates that, even at relatively low rates of prescribing, there are significant concerns about the validity of ADHD as a diagnosis,” the study found.

A new study suggests young children starting kindergarten are being overly prescribed with ADHD medication
A new study suggests young children starting kindergarten are being overly prescribed with ADHD medication

Previous research showed five-year-old boys were five times more likely to be medicated than their female classmates, a statistic that many parents find hard to swallow.

“It is a real struggle for parents, it’s really frustrating,” ADHD parent support group founder Paula Burgess told News Corp.

“Unfortunately, anything written about ADHD generally has a negative slant on it and parents take that personally.”

Meanwhile the latest Stimulant Regulatory Scheme report shows that more than 20,000 West Australians, including 8000 children, were prescribed stimulant medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in 2015, a 10 per cent increase from 2014.

Former WA Labor MP Martin Whitely, a strong critic of high prescribing rates in children, said he was concerned that rates had rebounded.

“I’m concerned we’re not doing enough to see what’s happening in these kids’ lives,” he said.

He was also concerned that one doctor prescribed to 2074 patients, mostly adults, last year.

Today's top news stories- January 23

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