Can Teens and Young Adults Fake ADHD?
“I’ve heard about young adults and teens faking ADHD symptoms to get stimulant medications. Is it possible to fake attention deficit?”
A few empirical studies – five or six that I am aware of – have looked at people faking ADHD symptoms. They all concluded that it is easy to do. However, these studies used checklists and neuro-psych measures to determine the diagnosis. I am not aware of any studies that looked at teens or young adults faking an ADHD diagnosis with an experienced clinician performing a thorough clinical assessment.
I have seen patients over the years who thought they had ADHD, only to have the condition ruled out after a full evaluation. I have had only one person “looking for” an ADHD diagnosis. He wanted his primary care physician to prescribe stimulants. I was able to determine that he didn’t have ADHD. The big problem, as I see it, is that prescriptions are written by PCPs who have little or no clinical experience in diagnosing or assessing ADHD.