Understanding your difference
ADHD (Attention Deficit hyperactivity Disorder) is fast becoming one of the most diagnosed conditions as well as being the most misdiagnosed. It is suspected that 66% of all adults with ADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disrder) will never know they have it. Finding out that one is that one has attention deficit can be empowering as with greater self-insight one can control impulsivity and choose a career more suitable to one’s personality.
Parents wondering why their child is behaving badly and wondering where they went wrong can cope better with the stress at home knowing what the cause of ADHD and ADD behavior in their child is. the worst case scenario is they get little practical information. A pill for the kid and that’s it.
Even attention deficit research is producing conflicting results, as well as conflicting prognoses with regard to effective treatment. Experts with the same qualifications are recommending very different treatments, and even warning against following other treatments. How is a parent with a child diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, supposed to make a competent judgement on top of the daily stress of having an overactive child?
As tempting as it may be to rely on a doctor’s opinion on ADHD, it is ultimately the parent's responsibility to choose the right treatment for the child. To follow the advice of a reassuring doctor when one is bewildered and confused is tempting. The trouble is that there are many misconceptions even among doctors on what ADHD or ADD is.
The definitions and diagnosis of ADHD and ADD come from the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) diagnostic manual. Regarding the Attention Deficit Disorders there is a checklist of behaviors. These behaviour patterns are regarded as symptoms. There is no mention of the positive aspects of ADD ADHD, only negative.
There is no laboratory test to diagnose ADHD. There are no biological, physiological, neurological or any other logical assessments that can show somebody has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Hyperkinetic Disorders or Hyperkinetic Syndrome as it is also called. Even the DSM-IV states this. Unfortunately there are many doctors and researchers who regard the DSM-IV manual as an absolute definitive guide to mental health yet do not seem to have read the manual properly.
There are at present officially three types of ADHD:
- ADHD: Predominantly Inattentive Type
- ADHD: Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
- ADHD: Combined Type when both the above types' symptoms are present
Among the causes for attention deficit hyperactivity are these eight possibilities:
- Physiological causes
- Medical causes
- Psychological causes
- Personality disorders
- Developmental causes
- Personality types
- An Attention Dysregulation Personality or an ADD/ADHD personality
Physiological causes. The physiological causes need treatment. No Attention Deficit Disorder is present, only the symptoms. An example of this is brain trauma. Treatment is medicine for the cause, change in diet, etc. as is relevant.
Medical causes. Again this is not ADD or ADHD, but the symptoms correspond. An example of this is Early-Onset Diabetes. Treatment is for the cause of the medical disorder, not suppressing symptoms.
Psychological causes. The best treatment is some form of Cognitive Behavioral Treatment is the answer. Again no Attention Deficit Disorder is present. A child therapist can help the hyperactive child and parents through a natural treatment. This should be the primary ADHD treatment and not regarded as alternative adhd treatment. Cognitive Therapy is long lasting and avoids subjecting the body to the chemical stress of medication. Supplements such as Attend (specifically formulated for attention difficulties) can do wonders here as this is 100% natural and does not put the body under chemical stress, but helps the body find its chemical balance.
Personality disorders. Borderline Personality Disorders and some of the others can result in attention deficit-like behavior, poor self control and impulsivity. This is not ADHD, as the positive aspects of the ADHD personality do not appear. These positive traits include intuitive insight and eagerly using their energy positively when directed in the right direction. In personality disorders, the energy is generally negative. Personality disorders are not inherited, which ADD and ADHD areis.
Developmental causes. Some teenagers can have thinner parts of their brains than their peers. This development takes place a few years later and by 20 their brains are the same as their peers. These are teens that grow out of their “ADHD”. They never had ADHD, as one does not grow out of ADD. Another example is of young children who seem to have Oppositional Defiance Disorder, but this attitude disappears at about 8 years of age. They also did not have ADHD, but experienced a different development than their better-behaved peers.
Genetic disorder. This is not ADHD, but is a diagnosable disorder. An example is Fragile X Syndrome. In normal ADHD there are genetic differences to non-ADHD people, but this is complex and is a part of the natural neurodiversity in humankind.
Personality types There are different personality types, who learn, process and think differently. When the personality type is in conflict with the environment, ADHD behavior can result. An example is a kinetic learner. This is someone who needs to move to learn. The auditory and visual learners can sit still and listen and look. The kinetic kid may fidget, look out the window, doodle, and seem inattentive. The child is really focussing on the lesson, but needs to move. If that child is forced to sit still and look at the teacher, that child will be so preoccupied on sitting still and noticing a myriad of small details about the teacher that nothing of the lesson filters in. At that point the child is really attention deficit. This builds frustration and the child reacts with ADHD type hyperactivey behaviour. It may really be a subconscious cry for help.
An Attention Dysregulation Personality. These people have true ADD and ADHD. The attention deficit personality and attention deficit hyperactive personality are hereditary, and are personality types who do not easily fit into our modern regulated western society. but are a part of the normal diversity in humanity. In these cases there are solutions, such as coaching in coping skills and lifestyle changes. This group includes intelligent, creative, innovative and talented people. There are many personality types (the extrovert, the introvert, etc.) and they are not considered disorders.
It may come as a surprise to some people, but the human genetic makeup has not changed radically in the last 2,000 years. We have not evolved into stressed city dwellers. We adapted. ADHD became a problem following the social changes that accompanied the Industrial Revolution.
A study on Masai tribesmen in northern Kenya showed that those who continued with their traditional lifestyle had no problem with their ADHD personalities. Those who settled in towns however, had the familiar attention deficit problems.
This article will continue covering the list of disorders, which mimic ADHD type behavior patterns the 101 causes of ADHD behavior.