AD/HD – or Not?

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By Rachelle Hutchinson, LCSW

In private practice as a therapist, 90 percent of the children I see have an Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)diagnosis.# The CDC reports that only 3-5 percent of children are accurately diagnosed ADHD, making ADHD the most over diagnosed mental health conditions that I run across.

Symptoms of ADHD include

  • Doesn”t pay attention to details
  • Makes careless mistakes
  • Has trouble staying focused; is easily distracted
  • Appears not to listen when spoken to
  • Has difficulty remembering things and following instructions
  • Has trouble staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects
  • Gets bored with a task before it”s completed
  • Frequently loses or misplaces homework, books, toys, or other items
  • Constantly fidgets and squirms
  • Often leaves his or her seat in situations where sitting quietly is expected
  • Moves around constantly, often runs or climbs inappropriately
  • Talks excessively
  • Has difficulty playing quietly or relaxing
  • Is always “on the go,”# as if driven by a motor
  • May have a quick temper or a “short fuse”#

What is often overlooked, is that these symptoms can cross multiple mental health diagnosis and are sometimes just age appropriate.# Most of these symptoms can also be found in Childhood depression, anxiety, mood disorder, obesity, abuse neglect or a learning disability, to name a few

If a child has a true and valid ADHD diagnosis, it”s believed to be chemical misfire in the brain.# This misfire can easily and quickly be treated with a steroid based ADHD medication.# If you had high blood pressure, your doctor would prescribe medication to treat the condition. Medication for ADHD should be viewed in the same way.# ADHD is a chemical condition in the brain and is usually best treated with a chemical.# There are also all natural remedies, though the success rate is not as immediate with homeopathic treatments.

Keep in mind, if you give a child steroids for ADHD and it does not have an immediate positive impact, re -visiting the ADHD diagnosis would be warranted.# Giving steroids to a child with a mood disorder or depression, will likely exacerbate the level of severity of behaviors that caused the family to seek help with, initially.

The chemical treatment of ADHD is an immediate and noticeable.# Teachers and pediatricians start with suggestions# of an ADHD diagnosis because of the ease of treatment.# The thought that a pill could make everybody”s life easier and right away usually gives hope for all parties involved.

Medication is a psychiatrist”s specialty.# By seeing a psychiatrist you and your family will have more specific information about medication and will be keep updated on medications available and changes, ongoing.# Medicating children with psychotropic drugs is far too complex to leave in the hands of a pediatrician.

Although I believe that some children truly have a valid ADHD diagnosis, the rate at which it is diagnosed in children is inflated to say the least.# If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD and is medicated, he or she should have a full psychological evaluation and be assessed a psychiatrist to verify the diagnosis and ensure effectiveness of treatment.

Rachelle Hutchinson, LCSW
Owner/Operator/Clinical Director
The Social Empowerment Center
2775 Cruse Road, Suite 1602
Lawrenceville , Georgia 30044
(770) 925-2095/office
(866) 468-1886/fax