I ran across this fear-mongering discussion. The author appears to be a therapy provider on the East Coast of the U.S.:
A student at our school has been having a little trouble [and said].. that a friend heard about adult ADHD on TV. His friend told him that he could get special treatment, like untimed tests and rescheduling of exams if he was diagnosed with ADHD, along with free meds.
My question is do you think a kid can actually fake it well enough to get diagnosed by a doctor? Do you know of any cases where kids have faked ADHD? I would have to think or hope that the tests are thorough enough to weed out fakers.
I expect to see the number of abusers sky rocket especially in the teenage set. There are about 5 to 7 million kids diagnosed with ADD. That number is sure to go up because of information on the internet that encourages and teaches abuse (see below)? It just scares me to think that kids can find information like this on the internet.
So I went looking for the questionnaire. There's exactly one citation, an 2006 article from Abram Magomedov at eXiledOnline, a somewhat fringe publication.
I recently went undercover in America to find out just how to successfully trick a shrink into believing you are one of the 4% of the American adult population that’s suffering from ADD.
Maybe the fear-monger should have read some of the comments, such as
You do realize that any shrink worth his shi[zzle] will see right through this, right?
I’m completing my doctorate in clinical psychology, and fakers like this REGULARLY come up in class, in seminars and in the reading. You look about as convincing as someone who shows up in the ER with non-specific, severe pain and an allergy to everything except vikes or morphine.
It might work with some docs- there’s no doubt about it. But many will tell you no, ask for the expensive (and hard to fake) testing mentioned above or give you the absolute least amount possible and flag your chart.
You’ll find shi[zzle] doctors with no scruples who’ll give this stuff out just about anywhere- just don’t kid yourself into thinking you fooled him.
On the other hand, a more serious article from Philip M. Newton at Psychology Today blogs, How Easy is it To Fake ADHD?, indicated that there is some research that indicates that people can, in fact, fool researchers.
Another interesting wrinkle is the problem this poses for ADHD research. Take the study in question; how are the researchers to know that the participants with "true" ADHD group haven't themselves faked their way to an ADHD diagnosis, willfully or otherwise? This could even potentially explain why some of the neuropsychological tests used did not pick up "true" ADHD.
Oh dear, what a mess! What is to be done?
So is this a myth? Are students regularly faking ADHD to get medications and accommodations?
These are actually four separate questions
- Can underage students (high school and below) easily get a fraudulent (malingering) ADHD diagnosis from a physician?
- Can underage students (high school and below) easily fake ADHD and thereby have accommodations etc. in school?
- Can adult students (in college) easily get a fraudulent (malingering) ADHD diagnosis from a physician
- Can adult students (in college) easily fake ADHD and thereby have accommodations etc. in school?
The research only addresses college students. Certainly an underage student would have to have the collusion of one or more parents for a malingering or fraudulent diagnosis for both medication and accommodations.
My sense is that a college student may have easier access to medication, but that would not necessarily entail accommodations or support from the school's disability services office.
Sollmana MJ,Ranseenb JD andBerrya DTR, (2010) Detection of Feigned ADHD in College Students, Psychological Assessment Volume 22, Issue 2, June 2010, Pages 325-335 doi:10.1037/a0018857
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WYX-50B6J11-F&_user=10&_coverDate=06%2F30%2F2010&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=d527aee0ba22afe9de1c0f51989aaea7 accessed Februay 2, 2011