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ADHD Comorbidity


ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is the most under-diagnosed children’s condition. It is also the most over-diagnosed and the most misdiagnosed disorder, not only for children, but also for adults.


There are so many varied opinions in the medical and ADHD research communities that there is no “consensus” opinion. This is why it is important to go to an open-minded specialist with experience of ADHD when getting a possible ADHD diagnosis. ADHD is a specialist field.


The two extremes in the diagnosis process are: A battery of tests, costing up to thousands of dollars, and a quick rating scale checklist and diagnose


These are both misleading.


The main reason for this is comorbidity. This is not as bad as the word sounds; it means other conditions are co-occurring with ADHD.


Why is it that medical terms are so insensitive?

“You have ADHD and a comorbid condition.”

This sounds like a death sentence.


Since these comorbid conditions have the same symptoms as ADHD, the $64,000 question is: where does the ADHD stop and the comorbids take over?


In many cases it is solely the co-occurring condition, which is there, and not the ADD ADHD.

When medication is taken for a specific condition, then it is vital to be sure that the condition is there in the first place.


There are alternative supplements, which have as good a response as stimulants, or better, but without side effects, and cure other co-occurring conditions.


These do not have the “same day” result as stimulants, because they build up the system. The effect comes on in a week or more, depending on individual metabolisms.


Under-Diagnosing ADHD


More and more adults are becoming aware of why they have been different in their lives. Why they had difficulty staying in one job for many years, or why they kept making impulsive decisions. They have ADD.


It is estimated that more than 60% of adults with ADD will never know about it. Knowing one has ADD increases one’s self-insight and understanding one’s own behavior. This is an empowering insight, preventing silly impulsive decisions.


Understanding why one is restless and wants to leave a perfectly good employment for the unknown helps one not make rash judgements.


Contrary to the impression the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) gives, ADD ADHD is not a children's disorder.

Over-Diagnosing ADHD


The diagnosis of ADHD is based mainly on parents’ and teachers’ subjective perceptions of children’s behavior. In some areas of the United States there is an epidemic diagnosis disorder, where any energetic or disruptive pupil is assessed for ADHD and forced on stimulant medication. Social welfare agencies in these areas work together with the schools and threaten the parents if they attempt an alternative treatment to stimulants. These are real life horror stories.


School psychologists and therapists can miss important sign that there is something wrong in the child’s home or out of school environment. Emotional trauma can lead to hyperactive behavior as well as withdrawal, which looks like inattentive type Attention Deficit Disorder.


A hyperactive child is a strain on any relationship with the child. The child-mother and child-father relationships tend to be 90% negative and 10% encouraging. It is, “Do this,” “Do that,” “Sit still,” “Calm down,” etc. There is a continual striving to slow down and get some order in the chaos. This does not bode well for the marriage and many divorces are the result of parents not coping with their ADHD kids.


When a stressed and desperate parents and school contact a “quick diagnose” physician, the quick fix ADHD medication is drawn out of the magician’s hat, the child calms down, everyone sighs with relief, and they all get on with their lives.


The fact that there could be 100 other causes for ADHD behavior is missed by this process.


Misdiagnosis


This is connected to over-diagnosing Attention Deficit hyperactivity Disorder.


There are over 100 other causes for similar behavior and look like ADHD.


These include:

  • Depression young children can react to depression by acting out
  • Anxiety a child does not know how to cope with the feeling inside and acts out
  • Autism
  • Foetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Early-Onset Diabetes
  • Early Onset Bipolar Disorder
  • Sensory Integration Dysfunction
  • Overactive or underactive thyroid gland
  • Allergies
  • Dyslexia
  • Late development of the brain in teens a few years behind the average
  • Environmental toxins such as mercury tooth fillings
  • Emotional traumas from living in a dysfunctional family
  • Oppositional Defiance Disorder or worse, conduct disorder
  • Personality disorder
  • Head injury
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Eyesight convergence

The list of ADHD causes goes on.


The most serious reason for this confusion in the Attention Deficit debate is the diagnosis being anchored in the DSM-IV based on behavior symptoms without any physiological test or neurological criteria. The DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for ADHD are guidelines and not hard rules.


Understanding that there are many other conditions, which can mimic ADHD is part of making an acurate diagnosis. The term for this is "Differential Diagnosis" and must be considered first before diagnosing ADHD.


If you feel it can be a behavior issue, then there is online help through people such as Dr Anthony Kane, who teaches simple yet powerful principles with difficult child and teenage behavior problems. Raising an ADHD child is not the same as raising a non-ADHD child.





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