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To ADD/ADHD or not to ADD/ADHD

ADD/ADHD: this diagnosis can be difficult at any time, but the fact that the disorder shares symptoms with other health conditions can make it even harder.

It is a condition that is thrown around a lot these days. As parents, we need to stay on top of what’s going on with our kids. So, read up and ask questions–sometimes experts can get wrong. Here are just a few examples of other ADD/ADHD share in common and can lead to misdiagnosis.

  • Children with autism are often over-excited when in high-stimulus environments, which can mimic hyperactivity. Child with autism can lack the ability to create emotional/social bonds and can struggle with interactions with others. In both cases it can cause the child to have a hard time with change.
  • Some kids with hearing impairment can experience problems in social situations and may have underdeveloped communication skills. They may have a hard time paying attention because of their hearing loss. Undiagnosed hearing issues may present as missing details of conversations, not listening or not paying attention. These symptoms are also common in individuals with ADHD.
  • Hypothyroidism also includes symptoms of inability to concentrate and memory problems. ADHD also includes the symptom inability to concentrate, and forgetfulness can be mistaken for memory loss.
  • Iron Deficiency in adults causes lethargy, feeling exhausted and irritability. In infants and children, however, the symptoms include irritability, inability to concentrate, impaired cognitive skills and a short attention span. Children with ADHD also show symptoms of inability to concentrate and are distracted easily, mimicking a short attention span.
  • Heart problems can create a number of problems. Some complications of heart disease , decreased school performance, short-term memory problems, inability to concentrate and decreased cognitive function. Many of these symptoms are also seen in children with ADHD.
  • Mental retardation can appear as emotional immaturity. Symptoms of mild mental retardation include forgetfulness and the inability to connect consequences with actions. ADHD also includes the symptom inability to concentrate, and forgetfulness.
  • Hypoglycemia, also called “low-blood sugar”, can cause a number of symptoms similar to ADHD including aggression, hyperactivity, inability to sit still or low concentration levels.
  • Some children with mild seizures can experience “absence seizures” lasting only a few seconds. Sometimes these seizures are not even noticeable. After a seizure there can be a period of several hours where someone feels disoriented and confused, causing difficulty following directions or being attentive.
  • For children with a sensory disorder, overstimulation can create symptoms similar to ADHD. They may take risks without understanding the danger, quickly jump from activity to activity, be accident-prone or have difficulty paying attention.

As parents we need to stay informed on a lot of issues. These health considerations affect our kids–directly and indirectly.

Ask your pediatrician. Don’t be afraid to sound like you you’re not “in the know”–that’s what they are there for!

You are your child’s advocate. Vigilance is key.

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