Parents are always worried to get the call from school when the teacher thinks their child may have ADD. But many times it is misdiagnosed and in the US today, it is overdiagnosed by psychiatrists. Moreover, many do not understand what ADD/ADHD exactly is. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, ADD) is diagnosed at childhood and may be a part of that child’s life through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include, not limited to, difficulty staying focused or paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity). There exist three subtypes –
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive: most symptoms (six or more) are in the hyperactivity-impulsivity categories. Fewer than six symptoms of inattention are current;
- Predominantly inattentive: children are less likely to act out or have difficulties cooperating with other kids.
- Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive: majority of cases.
ADHD has many causes in combination with genes, environmental facors, brain injuries, sugar, and food additives.
The disorder is named exactly as what it means, but here is a list of signs and symptoms:
- Easily distracted, miss details, forget things;
- Difficulty focusing on one thing;
- Become bored with a task quickly;
- Difficulty organizing;
- Trouble completing or turning in homework assignments;
- Losing things;
- Not listening when spoken to;
- Daydreaming extensively;
- Struggling with instructions
- Fidget and squirm in their seats;
- Talk nonstop;
- Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight;
- Trouble sitting still;
- Constantly in motion;
- Difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities
- Blurt out inappropriate comments;
- Inappropriate emotions;
- No restraint;
- Difficulty waiting for their own turn;
- And often interrupt conversations or others’ activities.
Parents should be made aware that ADHD may be a misdiagnosis for emotional or disciplinary problems. Here are some alternative diagnoses:
- A learning disability,
- Oppositional defiant disorder,
- Conduct disorder,
- Anxiety and depression,
- Bipolar disorder,
- Tourette syndrome.
ADHD can co-exist with sleep disorder, bed-wetting, substance abuse or other disorders.
The average age for the onset of ADHD is 7 years of age affecting 4.1% American adults ages 18 and older. It affects 9% of American children ages 13 to 18, and boys are 400% more likely to be affected. To diagnose ADHD, a pediatrician and specialist will determine if the child:
- Is experiencing undetected seizures that could be associated with other medical conditions,
- Has a middle ear infection that is causing hearing problems,
- Has any undetected hearing or vision problems,
- Has any medical problems that affect thinking and behavior,
- Has any learning disabilities,
- Has anxiety or depression, or other psychiatric problems that might cause ADHD-like symptoms,
- Has been affected by a significant and sudden change, such as the death of a family member, a divorce, or parent’s job loss.
Parents should be ready to answer these questions:
- Are the behaviors excessive and long-term, and do they affect all aspects of the child’s life?
- Do they happen more often in this child compared with the child’s peers?
- Are the behaviors a continuous problem or a response to a temporary situation?
- Do the behaviors occur in several settings or only in one place, such as the playground, classroom, or home?
If you reside in Denver and have any questions in regard to ADHD, then contact Denver Holistic Center for more information. When on any of the medications listed above, keep informed about all possible side effects which include decreased appetite, sleep problems, anxiety, and irritability. Some children may also experience some GI disturbance or neuro symptoms, so monitor any child on medications closely. Moreover, this is a disorder a child has to learn to live with and may be hard on a caregiver. Asking for help is a very important part of overall success of treatment.