Vinay Saranga M.D., a child and adult psychiatrist says there are eight facts everyone should understand about ADHD:
1. Boys vs. girls: The reason it seems that girls aren’t diagnosed as much with ADHD as boys is because they develop symptoms a little later on than boys, and those symptoms are different. Generally speaking, girls seem to show less disruptiveness and more inattention.
2. ADHD can continue into adulthood: As we age, ADHD can present itself in other ways and lead to mood disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, agitations, sleep difficulty, and other behavioural problems. The hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms are more prominent in childhood years, but these symptoms tend to improve as a child gets older. The inattention symptoms tend to continue on into adolescence and adulthood.
3. ADHD is often mischaracterized as a learning disability: The reason ADHD is sometimes mischaracterized as a learning disability is because roughly two-thirds of kids with ADHD do have some sort of diagnosable learning disorder or other mental health disorder. However, there is a clear distinction between ADHD and learning disorders.
4. It’s not that ADHD is overly-diagnosed: We see more kids being diagnosed with ADHD because of greater awareness and improved detection of the condition, including those kids who may have less severe forms of it.
5. ADHD is not just acting out or failure to concentrate: ADHD is a very serious condition that can hamper the behaviour and functionality of both children and adults. It must be treated by a trained professional.
6. Trying harder is not the answer: Medication, therapy and behavioural changes are needed to see an improvement.
7. Get a proper diagnosis: A trained mental health professional who specializes in ADHD can prescribe the right combination of treatment including medication and therapy.
8. ADHD is not a reflection of parenting style: Parents should never be blamed because their child has ADHD. Your child would have been diagnosed with ADHD regardless of how he/she was raised.
Vinay Saranga M.D. is founder of Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry