Most children experience some type of disconnect with the world around them due to lack of interest, forgetfulness or a short attention span. In some cases, these emotional disruptions are caused by attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity. As a parent, it can be difficult determining the difference between a child with ADHD and one who is just a fidgety daydreamer.
What is ADHD?
ADD and ADHD are disorders that emerge during early childhood. The signs of each disorder vary from child to child, but the main characteristics to watch out for are hyperactivity, impulsivity and the inability to remain focused. These issues can adversely affect a child’s learning capabilities, mental health and social skills. This is why it’s important to address the problem as soon as possible.
There aren’t any clear-cut tests regarding ADHD. However, a physician can provide a valid assessment based on the child’s behavioral patterns. If your son or daughter seems to channel the energy of a kitten on catnip at the most inopportune moments, your physician may want to take a closer look at the cause by interviewing the child as well as teachers and caregivers.
How can you Determine if it’s ADHD or Something Else?
Certain medical issues mimic the signs of attention deficit disorder. Your physician should rule out other possibilities to offer an accurate diagnosis. One of the main conditions often mistaken as ADHD is bipolar mood disorder. The two share similar symptoms such as restlessness, mood shifts, emotional outbursts and impatience. However, bipolar disorder is typically intermittent and based on moods, while ADHD is chronic and based on behavior and attention span.
Other issues that may be to blame for your squirmy, distracted or impetuous little one include:
- hearing loss
- overactive or underactive thyroid
- dyslexia or other learning problems
- autism spectrum disorder
- sensory processing disorder
What Lifestyle Factors Produce ADHD Symptoms?
Your son or daughter may not have any medical condition triggering his or her symptoms. A poor diet or blood sugar issues often cause hyperactivity or concentrations problems. If sugarcoated marshmallow cereal, carb-loaded salty snacks and caffeinated soda are your child’s main sources of nutrition, you can expect some drastic changes in behavior.
Depression, anxiety, stress and lack of sleep can also affect focus, mood and conduct. The key is to decide whether or not any negative behavior is long lasting, recurring or on a higher level compared to other children. A child with ADHD usually displays the associated characteristics in a variety of situations as well. Simply exhibiting excessive energy on the playground or daydreaming in class aren’t necessarily red flags.
Rather than assuming your child has an attention disorder, it’s more advantageous to eliminate other possibilities first. There may be a simple fix to the problem that would otherwise go unrealized with an inaccurate diagnosis. You can learn more about obtaining a proper evaluation for your child by visiting our homepage or contacting us directly.