Could your child have been misdiagnosed with ADHD?

Many educators, parents and medical professionals can be quick to label children with continual misbehaviour and short attention spans as being Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Opposition Defiance Disorders (ODD). Without the correct attention to detail, your child could be misdiagnosed. These disorders share corresponding signs that could actually be related to psychological trauma.

The difference between psychological trauma and ADHD is easily blurred due to the number of manifesting symptoms both conditions have in common. Sufferers for both trauma and ADHD struggle to concentrate at school. They appear distracted and fidgety.

Unless a practitioner is highly aware of the specific symptoms which are typically found in children who have undergone a traumatic experience, such as anxiety or apprehension, they are likely to be mistaken for inattention

Medical misdiagnosis can be reduced by ensuring your child has a comprehensive evaluation, where patterns of behaviour and past history may reveal masked symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD). Interviews with guardians or parents and caregivers, combined with standardised testing will assist the doctor to assess whether your child’s troubles go beyond ADHD.

Misdiagnosis may have serious long term effects on your child’s health, especially from the unwanted side effects such as anxiousness, insomnia, high blood pressure or liver toxicity due to the wrongly prescribed ADHD medications. Medication won’t fix any issues caused by a traumatic experience. One-on-one counselling and support is more beneficial in this instance.

Of course, there’s no hard and fast rules that a child can’t have both trauma and ADHD. Sometimes the two go hand-in-hand. But before you decide on a label, ensure your child is seen by a medical professional, who investigates all avenues before leaping to a quick conclusion. If your child is experiencing and suffering from ADHD its best to talk to a therapist as soon as you can.