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Updated at 10:52 pm on 21 May 2012
A dramatic increase in the number of prescriptions for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has reignited debate about whether people are being diagnosed correctly.
Last year, 107,400 prescriptions were handed out for ADHD, an increase of about two-thirds in a decade. In 2001, there were 61,700 prescriptions handed out.
The Government's drug buying agency Pharmac says at present, 13,730 patients receive prescriptions.
Psychologist Frances Steinberg says diagnoses are often incorrect because doctors are not looking for other causes of problem behaviour, such as depression.
She says multi-disciplinary teams should be set up to deal with possible cases, as many practitioners do not seek input from others such as psychologists or teachers.
An advocate for ADHD sufferers, Sheryl Burns, says that is true of doctors in the public health system, who do not have the time or resources to consult others.
Auckland GP Tony Hanne, who has 800 patients with ADHD, says diagnosis is usually a rigourous process.
However, he says about 5% of the population is estimated to have the disorder - many more than currently diagnosed.
Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand
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