ADHD is a serious neurological disorder that is often misdiagnosed. This is partly because a number of other medical, biological and psychological conditions share symptoms with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. These issues may or may not accompany ADHD, which can make the diagnostic process even more difficult. With all the confusion, how do you determine if your child has ADHD or something else?
Getting an Accurate Diagnosis
There are no laboratory tests for determining the presence of ADHD. Your physician will essentially rely on a checklist of behavioral patterns in your child. Careful observation of psychological symptoms is also necessary. The process is a team effort, and parents, other caregivers, teachers and health care providers all need to work together in order to come up with a proper evaluation.
Your son or daughter should also undergo a comprehensive physical examination. This will rule out many common conditions that often get confused with ADHD. It’s important that any underlying health issues are not overlooked. Your doctor should consider all possible explanations so that he or she can develop the best and most personalized treatment plan for your child.
Avoiding the Blame Game
Many doctors and parents assume that certain symptoms are the result of ADHD simply because the disorder is so prevalent. This can be risky if a child has a more serious condition. Although ADHD may be present, other health issues should still be considered. It’s critical to evaluate all the symptoms, particularly new ones, and it’s equally important to carefully analyze any additional symptoms that aren’t associated with ADHD.
Misdiagnosing ADHD can create more health problems, especially if the wrong medication is prescribed. A stimulant is often the first recommendation, but this type of treatment may do more harm than good for a child who simply needs a healthier diet, physical stimulation or an allergy shot. A misdiagnosis can also mean the child won’t receive the correct medicine for his or her actual condition.
Seeking the Proper Medical Attention
Because there are many serious health conditions with symptoms similar to ADHD, getting the right diagnosis is essential. When seeking medical attention for your son or daughter, provide a complete list of symptoms so that all possibilities can be explored. Issues such as aggression, bed-wetting and short-term memory loss can be the result of hypoglycemia, a bladder condition or lead poisoning rather than an attention deficit disorder.
Nearly all the symptoms associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder could be due to unrelated issues. Improperly diagnosing a child with ADHD or disregarding additional conditions can create long-term problems. If you need assistance determining if your child’s ADHD symptoms are the result of other health issues, contact one of our specialists. We’ll clear up the confusion so that you can get your child the proper treatment.