What are some of the main indications that my child has ADHD?
When you think of a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you probably picture a boy sitting on his hands at his desk at school, jumping around at home, and generally an intrusive nuisance to those around him. And, this type of behavior may very well be an indication of ADHD.
But it’s not the only indication.
There are actually three different kinds of ADHD: hyperactive/impulsive, inattentive, and a combination of the two. The boy in the example above is demonstrating classic hyperactive/impulsive behaviors, in that he’s exhibiting high amounts of physical activity in a context that generally requires greater stillness. His restlessness adds to his hyperactivity as well. Impulsive behaviors include interrupting people and suddenly leaving a situation without any discernable reason.
But, inattentive behaviors are significant as well. This includes behaviors like daydreaming, not paying attention to someone while they’re talking, and consistently showing up late for meetings or appointments. This seems to undermine the expectations of hyperactivity—indeed, a child can be quite calm as they drift off into their dream world. But it is quite possible that a child’s deficits manifest in these other, more serene ways.
Often, however, a child will experience a combination of both hyperactivity/impulsiveness and inattentiveness. If your child tunes out of conversations, can’t sit still, interrupts others, makes disruptive noises, and exhibits other behaviors indicating hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattentiveness, then most therapists are likely to diagnose them with ADHD.
ADHD In Kids
Is ADHD the same thing as ADD?
ADHD and ADD actually refer to the same condition. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is the technical term used for the disorder associated with people who struggle with hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and/or inattentiveness. It is the term formally recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, is a term that was more commonly accepted in the past. It now it takes on a less formal, less clinically acceptable quality.
I feel like giving my child a pill for their ADHD is robbing them of a greater opportunity to heal. What are other ways I can help my child?
Imagine if two people showed up at the emergency room with chronic diarrhea. The first just got food poisoning from eating a tainted dish, but the second suffered from a gastrointestinal infection. They have similar symptoms, but the prescription is different: the one suffering from food poisoning needs to let the issue run its course, but the one suffering from an infection must receive some sort of medicinal regimen that addresses it. The treatment is different because the cause of the issue is different.
When we look at the two cases of diarrhea, we are left to think that prescribing a pill (like an antibiotic) might help the infected case but not the food poisoning case. Similarly, by merely prescribing a pill to a child to help them overcome hyperactivity and other behavioral issues, the doctor has neglected a key aspect of an ADHD diagnosis: the reason for the disorder showing up in the first place.
A person diagnosed with ADHD is likely behaving as they do because their circumstances are misaligned with their needs. If your child is struggling with ADHD-like symptoms, then it might not be because they are imbalanced—but it may be because their lifestyle is out of balance. They may not have a diet aligned with their physiological needs, they may not be participating in the ideal amount of physical activity, and they may be missing an opportunity to participate in the activities they are best at. Any or all of these issues could be leading to the cause of their ADHD-like symptoms, and just like different people with diarrhea might need different forms of intervention, different children diagnosed with ADHD might need a different responses as well. When we look at the whole child—when we address their wellbeing holistically—we will uncover this cause and help them to make lifestyle choices best suited to their particular needs.
Giving your child a pill and nothing else may very well be undermining their potential. When you look at them holistically, you’ll identify what they need and why.
ADHD In Kids