Is it ADHD or Not?

Is it ADHD or Not?

ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions.  Symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, irritability, or difficulty completing tasks are hallmarks of ADHD, but they might also be signs of other conditions.

Children with autism are often also diagnosed with ADHD.  Many children on the spectrum often get the “alphabet soup” of diagnoses.  Struggling with social interactions and excitability over certain stimuli that are common in autism can be misdiagnosed as hyperactivity associated with ADHD.  Similarly, many children with autism also have sensory disorders, and overstimulation can cause behaviors similar to those of ADHD.

Inattention or problems in social situations might also be an indicator of a hearing impairment rather than ADHD.  It’s not always that children are not paying attention, but rather difficulty hearing causes missing details of instructions or conversations, or it poses a challenge with paying attention.

Irritability is a common symptom of ADHD that is not necessarily well known; this problem can also impair attention and concentration.  These symptoms are also a part of iron deficiency.  Additionally, memory problems or other cognitive deficits might be an indicator of lead toxicity.

Mood disorders such as depression or general feelings of sadness might also be associated with ADHD, but these problems are also a part of hyperthyroidism, which also causes concentration and memory problems.  Sleep disorders also interfere with daily activities and might look like ADHD symptoms.

Difficulty performing well in school or immaturity in school or social situations are often diagnosed as ADHD symptoms, but they might actually indicate mild mental retardation or intellectual disabilities.

Many children with ADHD are on modified diets due to increased sugar or other foods causing aggression or increased irritability.  Food allergies might actually be the cause of these symptoms rather than ADHD.

Before the diagnosis of ADHD, many of these other conditions must be ruled out.  If a doctor determines that none of these other disorders are present, your child’s symptoms are likely due to ADHD.

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Written by: Candice Evans See other articles by Candice Evans
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