Why You Shouldn’t Rush to Diagnose ADHD

Why You Shouldn’t Rush to Diagnose ADHD

As of yet, no clinical test for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) exists, and as a result, the illness is often diagnosed based on various subjective factors, leaving room for a margin of error. Parents, guardians, and teachers should not rush doctors to diagnose a child with ADHD. Hyperactivity in children, while perhaps inconvenient for adults, is not a medical emergency. Unlike conditions such as a broken bone or severe allergic reaction, hyperactivity does not require immediate attention. There is plenty of time to try to make as accurate a diagnosis as possible by considering all the factors in a child’s life.

Other Causes of Hyperactivity

When parents and teachers rush the process of diagnosing a child with ADHD, they run the risk of unnecessarily medicating a child with a strong medication that can have many adverse effects, especially for users who do not need it. The possibility that a child may have ADHD should be approached with care and sensitivity, especially since hyperactivity can be caused by many factors other than ADHD. These factors should be eliminated before a child is medicated. Factors that may lead to hyperactivity include the following:

  • Sleeping patterns – Children who do not sleep enough often demonstrate symptoms similar to those of ADHD. For example, if a student went to bed late and slept late during the summer, then adjusting to a new sleeping schedule at the beginning of the school year might prove difficult and lead to behavioral problems. Other causes of sleep loss in children include snoring, obesity, and large tonsils.
  • Distractions – Problems or major life changes at home can interfere with a child’s ability to focus and pay attention. For instance, if there is domestic violence, arguments between parents, or substance abuse in the home, a child is likely to have difficulty behaving appropriately at school.
  • Disability – Students who are struggling with a learning disability may manifest their frustration with behavior that mimics the symptoms of ADHD. Similarly, a child who is struggling with a vision or hearing problem may misbehave as a coping mechanism. However, it is possible for a child to have both ADHD and a disability.

When an underlying issue is the cause for hyperactivity, medicating a child for ADHD leaves the real problem unaddressed. After the child’s situation has been carefully examined, if there seems to be no underlying cause for hyperactivity, or if an underlying cause does not seem to be the only source of the behavioral problems, then it may be time to consider trying treatment for ADHD. However, ADHD medications are powerful stimulants that, when abused, can easily lead to addiction. Children and young adults using ADHD medication should be closely monitored for signs of abuse or addiction.

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