Medication isn’t always the right answer for children with ADHD | Letters

We should be careful about making assumptions, say Dave Traxson and others, while Dr Julia Nelki calls for caution in prescribing medication

There are assumptions in your article (Too few children in England treated for ADHD, figures show, 6 October) that need further debating. First, it assumes girls should be medicated at the same rate as boys for ADHD. But there is a huge impact from our socialisation of children, with girls encouraged to be more people-orientated and boys more task-focused in their play. This affects social behaviours in school, so it is not surprising that teachers report far fewer problems with girls’ behaviour and consequently seek less support from mental health professionals.

Second, global estimates of the incidence of such problems are highly variable (from 12%-16% in some US states to 0.5% in some European countries), again suggesting a significant socio-cultural component. It is important, then, to remember that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines (2018) are very clear that medication should only be given to those with serious problems.

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