Racial Inequality in the Diagnosis, Treatment of ADHD
> 1/2/2006 11:03:11 AM

The National Medical Association has passed a resolution acknowledging the profound impact of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder on the African American community.

"The prevalence of mental illness is the same across all communities, but African Americans are nearly 50 percent less likely to be evaluated, diagnosed and treated compared to Caucasians," says William Bailey Jones III, M.D., a psychiatrist and the executive director of Indiana Neuropsychiatric Institute in Indianapolis.

A recent study showed that African American parents are 26 percent less likely to have heard of ADHD, compared with Caucasian parents, and African Americans are nearly three times more likely to attribute the symptoms of ADHD to sugar consumption compared to Caucasians. African Americans perceive greater barriers to seeking diagnosis and treatment, including a greater perceived stigma associated with ADHD and negative expectations about professional treatment. In the few studies exploring medication rates across races, ethnic minority children are two to 2.5 times less likely to be medically treated for their ADHD compared to their Caucasian counterparts.

The roots and causes of this inequality are tangled and complex, but the solutions appear to be obvious. As with many similar situations, education is the key to changing perceptions and righting past wrongs. Ensuring that African American parents understand the behaviors and symptoms to look for is a great way to start. But public schools and the support network therein must also be held responsible. Adequately funding educational programs for teachers and school staff to learn how to best recognize ADHD in students is imperative. The benefits of increasing diagnosis in African American youths will have benefits that cross all racial lines. When all students are given the opportunity to succeed, teachers and administrators need not focus a disproportionate amount of attention on trouble students. These solutions don't need to be expensive, they just might require a little more vigilance from those who work closest with youths.

For more information, see the entire press release at Health News Digest.


Its good that this is being recognised - but a shame that the article quoted doesn't use this opportunity to better discuss the issues of prejudice in this - are certain behaviours being demonised? Are African Americans more likely to have a poor diet? Is this a consequence of something not yet considered?
URL: birdychirp.blogspot.com
Posted by: birdy 1/4/2006 4:54:58 AM

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