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   ADHD, what is it exactly? Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a developmental disorder usually causing inattention, distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity in children starting before the age of seven. ADHD is a chronic disorder that occurs in 3-5% of children worldwide.  
   The controversy surrounding ADHD has been around since the 70’s.  Some people don’t even believe that ADHD is an actual disorder; others believe it has a genetic or physiological basis.  Even more controversy surrounds the treatment for ADHD. Treatments include behavior modifications, life-style changes, counseling and stimulant medication.  
    Now a days anytime a child is hyper parents think it is ADHD. Between 2-16% of kids in school are diagnosed with ADHD and given medication for this disorder. Many kids however are usually misdiagnosed. Many symptoms of ADHD can be attributed to other disorders, many of which can accompany ADHD.  Because such combinations of disorders appear together, this can complicate diagnosis. There are five behavioral symptoms that have been attributed to ADHD, but are actually not symptoms of ADHD directly. Many of these symptoms are misdiagnosed as ADHD when in actuality they are their own disorder and should be treated as such. The five problems are Anxiety, depression, disruptive behavior, learning disabilities, and sensory integration disorder.

1. Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state characterized by feelings of worry, apprehension, and fear. Anxiety can be triggered by a person, a place, or even by a feeling. The stimulus can even be unidentifiable outwardly to other people. It’s harder to diagnose kids that have anxiety largely due to the fact that kids articulate their feelings much less than adults do. Kids with anxiety usually appear preoccupied or zoned out. This is due to their internal thoughts of worry. Kids with anxiety don’t know how to handle or express their anxiety and perceive their threats as uncontrollable and unavoidable.

2. Depression is a mood disorder characterized by feelings of sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness that can result in an aversion to activity. Depression can impair thinking skills, memory, cognitive flexibility, and attention. People who suffer from depression usually seem out of it. They have trouble focusing, become irritable, and have a lack of interest or initiation. Depression has no one single cause.  Family history, pessimistic personality, trauma and stress, physical conditions, and other psychological disorders can all be associated with depression. For others depression had not specific trigger or cause. Since children have more difficulty expressing their emotions, it’s important to determine depression in children through the evaluation of the child’s behavior in several contexts.

3. Disruptive Behavior is where a child will not settle down and becomes troublesome or disorderly.  Especially in a school setting this can become a problem where the disruptive student doesn’t allow the other students to learn. In some cases kids can be disruptive intentionally, to show off, be funny or look cool. However children that have disruptive behaviors usually feel frustrated and are rebelling against authority to bring attention upon them. These types of kids have not developed adequate self-control, which causes them to act out and ultimately cause distractions for other classmates.

4. Learning disabilities is a classification of disorders where a person has difficulty learning. These disorders have affected the brain’s ability to receive and process information therefore making it terribly difficult for the person to learn. Because we do not know what causes this problem within the brain learning disabilities are impossible to cure. However, there are other ways to get around learning disabilities. Intervention and support are the most important options available to someone who have a learning disability. Learning disabilities in children can cause inattentiveness, disruptive behavior, anxiety and depression. There are many learning disabilities such as reading, writing, math disorders, visual perception, auditory processing, nonverbal, dyslexia etc.

Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) is a neurological disorder where the person is unable to coordinate sensory information as it comes through the senses. When present in a child, the child may appear inattentive or quite the opposite as hyperactive. This is caused by the child being oversensitive or under sensitive to the sensory stimuli surrounding him/her. A child with a sensory integration disorder may be distressed by loud noises, bright lights, rough textures, or smells; or conversely, may need to handle things, hang upside-down, or shout boisterously.
           As you can tell from the descriptions of the each of these disorders, many of the symptoms are the same or very similar. Many of these disorders accompany each other and therefore the person may be dealing with several different disorders at the same time. Because many of these disorders are now affecting children as well its important to evaluate and diagnose properly. This way we can properly treat for the correct disorder and stop overmedicating of our children, which can cause them harm in their future.