The etiology of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not thoroughly understood. Though some cases of ADHD may have neurological causes, according to researchers, psychotherapy can also be effective. This was recently reported at at meeting of the American Psychotherapy Association. The researchers found that doctors may too quickly choose to medicate children suspected of having ADHD. According to Dr. Fine, the presenter at the meeting, the number of children and adults diagnosed with ADHD increased from 900,000 to almost 5 million between 1990 and 1998. Further, prescriptions for stimulants to treat ADHD have risen by 700% since 1990. Concurrently, from 1989 to 1996, the proportion of children referred to psychotherapy for ADHD dropped from 40% to 25%. The researchers theorize that teachers and parents might be looking for a quick fix after teachers diagnose a child with ADHD, and doctors may be too quick to comply with a request for medication. While some attendees at the meeting agree that psychotherapy is a proper treatment for some ADHD, they also acknowledge that medication is necessary for some cases.
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