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Is It ADHD or Something Else

Updated: Sep 11, 2021

Often I get questions from parents wondering if their child's symptoms are related to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The answer is often times elusive as some of the symptoms of ADHD mirror other disorders.


The DSM V symptoms for ADHD includes: Poor attention, easily distracted, careless mistakes, trouble staying on task in activities, trouble listening and following instructions, not finishing assignments or chores, difficulty organizing tasks and items, losing things, and avoiding tasks that require sustained effort. [Full criteria can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html]


Some of these same symptoms can be due to depression, anxiety, family dynamics, loss or grief, giftedness, gluten intolerance, and medical problems. According to National Institute of Mental Health, "ADHD symptoms usually appear early in life, often between the ages of 3 and 6, and because symptoms vary from person to person, the disorder can be hard to diagnose. Parents may first notice that their child loses interest in things sooner than other children, or seems constantly "out of control." Often, teachers notice the symptoms first, when a child has trouble following rules, or frequently "spaces out" in the classroom or on the playground."


Working with a mental health professional and your primary care physician is a good way to sort out the diagnosis.


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