I recently received word from someone with a psychology background that the American Medical Association (AMA) came out with a stance against ADHD being a valid illness or diagnosis. I have been unable to find such an authoritative statement in my own research.

Has anyone seen such a ruling or statement or something that would be interpretable as such?

2 Answers 2


The first hit on google leads to this 1998 paper written for the AMA's Council on Scientific Affairs which says precisely the opposite of your psychologist friend.

...there is little evidence of widespread overdiagnosis or misdiagnosis of ADHD or of widespread overprescription of methylphenidate by physicians.

In 2006, the AMA *Journal of Ethics published a piece intended to help all doctors become more aware of the prevalence of and how to diagnose ADHD, stating:

ADHD is a chronic disorder that affects a substantial number of American children. Untreated, the symptoms of ADHD can make the developmental tasks of childhood nearly impossible and place children at increased risk for depression, school failure and substance abuse as they grow older.

In 2015, the Journal of the American Medical Association ran a piece about the potential underuse of behavioral therapy for kids with ADHD, stating that while ADHD had been treated with medication, behavioral therapy, or dietary supplements the findings indicate

...that behavioral therapy may have been underused.

Perhaps this is what your acquaintance was talking about?

If not, unless that person can direct you to the appropriate literature (and if they really know what they are talking about that shouldn't be a challenge), or you can find corroboration from an expert, you should probably treat what they say as hearsay.

  • Hi, user79. On all SE sites, it's preferable to summarize or highlight a pertinent fact rather than just give a link. Also, the 2015 study helps establish that there has been no refutation of the 1998 position paper. If the edit doesn't suit you, please feel free to roll back. Thanks. Jul 8, 2015 at 15:21
  • Unfortunately what I am referring to and what they told me about is a NEW release that is supposedly around a month old. I will see if I can reach them and get the reference to which they are referring.
    – ylluminate
    Jul 8, 2015 at 23:44
  • 1
    @ylluminate The third article mentioned (jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2297179) is from May 2015, but focuses on treatment options and does not deny that ADHD is a valid diagnosis.
    – Acire
    Jul 9, 2015 at 11:22

No, the AMA has made no such stance.

I have combed the AMA's Press Releases from the last several months, with no mention of anything related to the validity of AD/HD.

Historically, as outlined in user15736's answer, the AMA has been for AD/HD as a valid diagnoses, and it would be highly unusual for them to release an opposing stance. So unusual would this be, I contend, that it would surely have made it's way to various media outlets and websites, and it would this be easy to find with a quick Google search.

I also looked for information from the American Psychological Association (APA), which may have been confused with the AMA. However, searching their resources shows not only that they still support AD/HD, but already have future materials planned on the matter, such as a children's book, Learning to Be Kind and Understand Differences: Empathy Skills for Kids With AD/HD, due to be released in October of this year (3 months from now).

In summary, the person who gave you this information has likely misread or misinterpreted other information, or attributed information they found to an incorrect source. It would be best to ask them for the exact source they received the information from.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .