Is the complaint about "high numbers" a concern that professionals are not correctly applying the criteria and/or a plea for us to change the criteria to encompass fewer people?
Pat Pernico, in a recent Psychotherapy Networker (i.e., Rush to Judgment: Beware of the ADHD Diagnosis), advises using caution when giving an ADHD diagnosis. She states, “if the individual actually had ADHD, there would be no other factors to account for trouble sleeping, difficulty completing or following tasks at school or at home, impulsively and hyperactivity.”
However, simply because we have not found “other factors” does not mean that there are no other factors (within the domain of psychology) that might reasonable account for the ADHD behaviors. Identifying “other factors” always depends on the insight and wisdom of person doing the identifying.
Along these same lines, what are the criteria to distinguish between “psychological avoidance” and “neurological ADHD distractibility” when deciding on a differential diagnosis (i.e., ADHD or something else)? Until we address these concerns, we will rule out ADHD when the practitioner makes a claim for psychology, but we will cling to the construct “really has ADHD” when the practitioner makes no such claim. The lack of consensus in applying the ADHD label will often relate to these kinds of problems.